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Considering safety within your classroom

As a teacher you have a duty of care to the pupils in your class. Their parents are putting their trust in you and it is important that you have their safety as a number one priority. When you are teacher, especially if it is a large class, it is easy to become distracted with one pupil if they are in need of help or causing a distraction. When this happens you should be sure that you have a TA or another teacher on hand to help you should you need to leave the classroom or not be able to talk to other pupils. Schools are often under staffed due to budget restrictions, so you may not always have a TA with you. Many schools have a walkie-talkie system or phone system in place to allow you to contact other members of staff quickly should you need to.

When working with items that could be dangerous such as scissors for younger children or chemicals, you may decide to do this in smaller groups rather than a whole class activity. Set other work for the pupils to be getting on with and rotate the groups round so that everyone has a go. This will allow you to keep more control of the situation and access what is going on.

Returning to teaching after the summer holidays

If you are a teacher and have just had the six weeks off school then you will probably not be particularly looking forward to returning soon. Often teachers return to school a few days before the pupils do so that they have time to get their classrooms ready and to have meetings to find out about changes and updates that may affect them.

It is important to get yourself back in to your normal work routine at least a few days before returning to work, so if you have enjoyed laying in until 10am or heading off to bed at 2am you may want to start to adjust slowly the week or so before you go back. This will allow your body clock time to adjust and get used to your sleep pattern again.

Rather than thinking about the negatives of returning to work, try and think positively and give yourself some goals as to what you want to achieve in the year to come. Making lists of to do tasks can help organised a cluttered mine. You may want to make daily or weekly ones as well as long term lists for the next few months or year ahead.

 

Starting your child’s education as a baby

For a lot of children when they start school is when their education starts and they begin without being able to read or write and will little understanding of counting and math. However, the children who have already started their education from an early age at home are given a much greater advantage in class and tend to advance much quicker than those with little to no past education experience.

So where do you start?

Studies show that you really can begin early with children as young as 6 months old. Simple exercises such as number recognition with blocks is a great place to start. Lay 3 blocks in a row, then stack 3 on top of each other, then place them on the floor in a pattern and show your child each time saying “there are 3 blocks” this teaches them what “3” looks like in physical terms, you can then try with different amounts of blocks.

Showing them written numbers from 1-10 will also help their understanding.

To help start their communication skills early it can be useful to attend baby signing classes, this teaches your baby a very basic form of a sign that they can use to communicate with you before their speech has developed. Generally, babies that learn to sign tend to speak much sooner and have a larger vocabulary.

So start early and make it a game that way learning new skills will be fun for both you and your child.

Gaining the attention of reception children

As a teacher of a reception class, you may well know how hard it can be to get the attention of all of the class at the same time. Children often have a shorter attention span than adults and will quite easily get distracted.

IF you are wanting the children to listen carefully then you may need to raise your voice a little, to begin with, to get them to look at you. Some teachers then talk quieter so the children have to concentrate to hear what is being said. Another useful tip to gain the attention of the children is to use a musical instrument e.g. a jingle bell to get the children to stop. This saves your voice and provides an effective method of stopping the children.

You cannot expect reception children to be quite all the time but it is important to teach them when it is ok for them to be noisy or to be chatting and when they need to sit down and listen quietly. These lessons will help them throughout their life, even in their adult working life where they may need to remain quiet when their manager speaks or to listen to a customer’s concerns.

Knowing your duties as a teaching assistant

The job of a teaching assistant can vary depending on the school and the teacher you are working with. Each school, although having to adhere to strict guidelines, can still to an extent change some of the ways in which the school is run. If you have previously been a teaching assistant in a school and then move to another you may have to learn to work in a different way.

It is important early on to establish what your job role entails exactly so you do not overstep the mark with the teacher and also so you do not miss any important tasks that you should be doing.

You may be given task such as creating displays, organising worksheets, collecting and giving out books, hearing children read and possibly taking a small group of children to work with during lesson time. If there is a pupil who has learning difficulties then you may be responsible for working with them the majority of the time.

Some teaching assistants that have teaching experience may be asked to cover the class for a short period if the teacher is away on a course or off ill for example.

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