TEACHING & EDUCATION

Q&A with a Year One teacher

“I truly believe that universities should have a subject called “how to conduct small talk with parents”.

We chatted to a year one teacher about what life in the classroom is really like.

How many kids are in your class?

I have 15 children in my class. Boys and girls. I also have a full-time teaching assistant (TA). When people ask me if private education is worth the money, that is usually my answer.

What is it like if you’ve got a child that misbehaves?

At end of last year I was greeted with “so we have given you the naughtiest child, have fun” chat. I put in a lot of work with this little boy who finds it hard to regulate his emotions and lashes out and hits other children when they upset him.

His mother described home life with him as “having three kids in one”

I worked my ass off on this kid. He is on a positive behaviour sticker chart where he gets a reward at the end of the week and needless to say he is a different child. It makes me so happy to see the change in him. He is a kind, funny and thoughtful boy and I am so proud of him.

Do you have any funny experiences in the classroom?

Too many to count. I think that is the best thing about having a TA – having someone in the classroom to giggle with when the kids are being hilarious without meaning to.

I don’t think I’ve gone a day in my job without having a child make me laugh.

A favourite for me would have to be during the Harvest Festival Mass. The little girl sitting next to me tapped me on the knee and asked me ‘Is that God?’ pointing to the Minister.

Do the responsibilities you have ever overwhelm you?

My first year was really challenging for me. If my mum wasn’t a teacher at home I don’t know what I would have done.

I found parent meetings quite tricky in that year. I was teaching at a private school in Sydney and I truly believe that universities should have a subject called “how to conduct small talk with parents”.

I can talk underwater but when it came to parents, I was really stumped at how to nail the professional small talk in a serious meeting. I’m happy to say now I think I’ve got the hang of it.

I feel really well supported at the school I am at now. There are four of us on year one, and all of our planning is shared.

We always have someone on the team to turn to and the girls I teach with have become my friends for life.

What’s a misunderstanding about teachers that frustrates you?

People think that we work a 9-3 job and get too many holidays. As I see it, I manage 15 little humans in addition to their parents, nannies, grandparents and siblings.

It’s a constant PR balancing act ensuring that everyone is happy and in the know. Amongst all that I teach them to read, write, tie their shoelaces, show empathy towards others and be resilient.

Q&A with a Year One teacher
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