much change both at home and in the classroom, we wanted to reach out to a local teacher and find out
what she’s thinking, feeling, and preparing for the upcoming school year.
Tamara taught Years 3 and 4 last year, but will be teaching Year 2 this year. She has been teaching for 15 years but took a few years away from teaching to have three beautiful boys.
How are you feeling about new school year? (and why!)
I am feeling so excited about the new school year. Last year was a difficult one and I didnt get to spend as much time with my students as I wanted to. I’m hoping for a fresh start this year and that I get a full year in my classroom.
What are you looking forward to about the change in years?
I’m really looking forward to teaching Year Two this year. I absolutely loved my Year 3/4 class, but this year I’ll be teaching children the same age as my eldest boy. I feel like I will know exactly how to engage them in tasks, and can try some cool things out at home first with Arlo.
Were there any learnings from last year you want to take into this year?
Last year I had to learn lots of new things to do with technology as we were remote learning for so long. I am now pretty good with a computer! There are some online strategies that we used during remote learning that would be very effective in the face to face classroom. For example, during remote learning, I could set tasks for students via a platform called “Seesaw”. If I set this up in the classroom, children could access videos of me explaining a specific task and then work through the learning at their own pace and at their own relevant level.
Sometimes it’s hard to get around to everyone in one session, meaning some students might have ordinarily been waiting for my next instruction. Having an engaging seesaw task to either help a child refine or extend a skill, could mean that there is less “waiting” time for students and more learning time. This would never replace the value of face to face teaching, but will definitely be a great tool in maximising the learning happening in a day and minimising any anxiety that can arise during wait time in a classroom. I really look forward to trying this out and evaluating its effectiveness.
Can you talk us through a day in your life as you prepare for the new school year?
I think it is so important that a classroom looks beautiful and engaging, so at the moment I am trying to work out what theme to make my classroom. I’m thinking that since I will have 14 seven year olds on my hands, I will make our room a gaming theme with the words, “Build, Explore, Create in Year Two White”. I have downloaded a Minecraft font and have started making signs for my room. I have created name tags on rainbows and a reward chart using a money square from Super Mario Brothers. I will soon print and laminate them all and then start making my classroom look beautiful so that my students are excited to come to school on the first day. I will stick all these things up with every teacher’s favourite product… Blu Tack! I have also been creating class lists and planning some fun engaging tasks for the first week back at school.
What is one thing you wished parents kept in mind when engaging with teachers?
That your childs teacher LOVES your child and will do everything to make sure that they are safe and engaged. Always communicate with your childs teacher openly and listen to what they suggest - because they definitely have your childs best interests in mind. Also, teachers get nervous too! I love telling my son this when he has first day jitters.
What tips do you have for parents and students returning to school, especially for those who it might be their first year?
Talk about school lots before the big day. Do some drive bys and even have a look at a picture of your teacher if you have one. Practise their name and practise how to ask for help and how to ask for the toilet. Learn how to do shoe laces up and get really good at opening your lunchbox and packing your new schoolbag. Have all your school clothes laid out ready before day one so the morning is not too stressful. Make sure all personal belongings are labelled and if you are feeling nervous - listen to your favourite feel good song in the car on the way. Make sure you take a first day picture for your memory box."