It is a fact that primary aged
school children are regularly given homework from school with the amount that
they are given increasing as they move through the school but does this
homework actually make a difference to their academic ability or is it given
out despite some teachers questioning the value of it. Another issue is how
much of the homework is completed by the pupil and how much additional support
have they received from parents and carers meaning that any tasks completed at
home cannot then be used as a reliable method of assessment.
The reasons for setting the
homework need to be studied carefully in order to answer these probing
questions. Some homework is set to give the pupil an opportunity to practise a
skill that they have been working on in class such as a new mathematics method
or spelling practise, but it is clear that some homework is set simply because
the teacher has been told by superiors to regularly give out homework. Practising
new skills is a worthwhile use of homework time as there may not be sufficient
time in the school day to do this. The homework in this case is beneficial and also
serves to give parents an insight into the curriculum that the child is
studying. The child can be encouraged to explain the homework to their parents
and this in turn will be a valuable learning tool.
The problem arises if the child is
unsure about the task set by the teacher and the parents or carer do not
understand the task. This is quite a common issue as was experience by many
parents when children were having to be home schooled for lengthy periods. It
is always a good idea if there are issues that the teacher is made aware of the
difficulties so that they can be addressed at school during lesson time.
Some pupils enjoy doing homework
especially if the task is enjoyable. This may be something like asking parents
or grandparents about their childhood memories or looking for mathematical
shapes around the home even playing a game can be used as a homework task. It
really is up to the teacher to try to make homework a pleasure rather than a
chore so that pupils are continuing to learn after the school day is over and
do not need to be forced by busy parents to complete unhelpful tasks.
As schools try to be as inclusive
as possible when it comes to children with special needs there will probably be
a few children in a mainstream school that would in years gone by be educated
in a special school but are now in the classroom working alongside their peers.
Although socially this is a good thing academically this may cause issues if
the pupils are not well supported and helped to access the curriculum.
Getting a post in a school
offering support to children with special needs can be a rewarding position as
the difference this support can make to a child can be tremendous. The job may
involve preparing resources so that children can access the tasks and
supporting and encouraging children to complete activities.
In order to work in a school with children it
is necessary to have an enhanced DBS check which if you are employed by the
school will be carried out as part of the application process. Qualifications
are usually required to work in this role as sometimes specialist knowledge is
needed in order to fully support children with specific needs. Ongoing training
is an essential part of the job so that you are kept up to date with new
Getting a job as a teacher in a
primary school is a popular career choice as the job security is good, it is a
job that has good prospects and fits in well with family life. The first step
is to obtain the relevant degree qualification for the role you want to have.
As a primary schoolteacher you will be required to teacher all subjects so the
choice of subject to take at university is down to your preference. It is
possible now to do a general degree which does not require you to have a
Having qualified, the search is on
to find a job. If there are no restrictions to the area you can work in the
process of getting a job is far easier as you are free to move to a new area if
Most local authorities who employ
teaching staff in schools have an application form that will need to be
completed rather than submitting a CV. On this form there will be opportunity
to express the previous experience you have had and any interests that you
enjoy. It is a good idea to tailor the information to the post you are applying
for as this will increase your chances of getting to the interview stage of the
application process where you can expand further on your abilities and
suitability for the role.
As part of the role as a class
teacher in a primary school you may be asked to take on the responsibility of
leading the school in a curriculum subject. Newly qualified teachers are not
usually expected to take on this role in their first year but in subsequent
years they may be asked to lead one of the foundation subjects such as music,
technology or history. A more experienced teacher may be asked to take on the
subject coordinator role for one of the core subjects such as Mathematics,
English or Science.
Probably the most important
responsibility will be to convey to the rest of the teaching staff any new
initiatives that are sent out from the local education authority which pertain
to your subject. You may be called upon to lead staff meetings each term to
update staff and to support them in their curriculum planning.
One of the unenviable tasks of the
subject coordinator is to do regular book trawls. This involves looking at a
selection of books to check that the school planning is being followed, that
differentiation is present and that marking follows the school marking policy
guidelines. Although a time-consuming task it is necessary to ensure school
policy is being adhered to.
Independent or private schools set
their own budget and do not receive any funding from the state, so they are
free to employ teachers and pay them according to their own policies although
most are on a par with the pay received by teachers working in the state school
The main difference for a teacher
looking for employment is that it is not a requirement to have the same
teaching qualifications if you are thinking of working in an independent school
than if you were working in a state school. This is a useful factor if you have
a degree but have not undertaken any post graduate training to get qualified
teacher status especially if you want to teacher older children and are
therefore specialising in one particular subject. It is however common for
those teaching in independent pre-preparatory and preparatory schools that
cater for children from three years of age to eleven years to have a teaching
qualification of some sort.
If you enjoy working in the
independent school sector, then career progression is good and probably more
widely available than in a state school. It is not unusual for a teacher to be
taking on more responsibility after a couple of years teaching working towards
the role of head of department or housemaster.