Life as a primary school teacher |

find out how nicolas sell, a third year teacher at a school in doncaster, started teaching and what a typical school day looks like

enter teaching

my path to the profession is a bit unconventional, although perhaps in a way that is becoming less unusual. I studied music production in college and after years of ordering and shipping for a major aerospace manufacturer, upon graduation I decided to take the plunge and pursue a long-standing career in teaching.

i completed my primary school focused initial teacher training (scitt) through the lincolnshire training schools alliance (ltsa), achieved pgce and qualified teacher status (qts) in 2018 and have just successfully completed my newly qualified teacher (nqt) year with a school in south yorkshire. There have been many twists and turns along the way, but I have loved every minute of it.

learn more about pathways to teaching.

Work hours and school schedule

by contract I am at the school from Monday to Friday from 8:40 to 15:20. however, as I’m sure you all know, the reality of work is very different. I get to school every morning around 7:30 am, grab a coffee, and then make sure I’m ready and can avoid the inevitable copier queue.

morning lessons are from 8:40 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. m. to 12:10 p.m. m. and usually focus on core subjects. I always try to mark some books during playtime so I don’t take them home later. this allows me to assess any child who requires further intervention. As much as I would love to assess and give feedback to each child during each activity, it is not always feasible.

lunch time is 12:00 p.m. m. to 12:45 p.m. m. if you can eat and score at the same time, then you’re really getting used to it. afternoon lessons take place between 12:45 and 3:10 when the children go home. during this time we cover other areas of the curriculum such as languages, physical education, art and thematic work. At the end of the day, I always make myself available to parents who want to stop by for a chat. I really feel this is important, as I believe a strong relationship between school and home is key to ensuring children are ready to learn and positive about their learning. learn more about behavior management in the classroom.

I usually get out of school sometime between 4 p.m. I have had a couple of very late returns from school trips as a result of bad traffic and coach breakdowns, but these instances are few and far between.

I also do some work on the weekends, but I try to make sure that at least one day during the weekend is completely free. If you can be organized, prioritize your workload, and do as much as you can during the school day, then you can achieve that much-sought work-life balance, though that’s easier said than done. In this regard, I am pleased to say that the school’s senior leadership team has been wonderfully supportive and believes strongly in the well-being of the staff. I was even allowed a day off from teaching to focus on writing my school reports.

school terms

The school year is divided into fall, spring, and summer. I have had many ‘oh my days’ moments during the first few weeks with a new class, but this is normal and the progress made throughout the year never ceases to amaze me. not only in terms of academic ability, but also in children’s personal responsibility, resilience, and maturity. As much as you pull your hair out during the school year, you always end it with nothing but fond memories.

what I hear more often than not is, ‘it must be great to have so many vacations throughout the year’. well if it is however a good deal of this time is spent assessing, completing paperwork, planning, generating resources, tracking progress and writing risk assessment forms. Summer vacations are a great opportunity to disconnect, although the new term and your new class are never far from your thoughts. after all, seating plans aren’t going to write themselves and you really need to skim through all the paperwork that’s been handed to you.

the curriculum

The school I teach at follows the National Primary Curriculum, although since September 2019 we have been using the pillars for our subject content (another thing to deal with over the summer). the general premise is that children are given a hook or stimulus for learning, before they develop their skills within that particular area. there are a variety of topics to discuss, but fortunately my colleague for next year has already selected them. it’s really important that the school is consistent in its approach and we have a lot of school-wide policies around learning, but it’s also nice to be able to weave some of your own thoughts, ideas and experiences into the procedures.

Like nqt, it can be quite daunting to raise points during a staff meeting, but don’t be afraid to do so. there is no such thing as a stupid question. While we take our learning seriously, I also like to make sure my class has a lot of fun, at the right times, as this gives them lots of wonderful memories and also helps them retain information. this approach has worked particularly well for me this year when I teach French and drama.

challenges and benefits of teaching

The challenges within the teaching profession are numerous and seemingly endless. With all the will in the world, you’ll never get to the bottom of your to-do list, so don’t get discouraged when this happens.

You spend your time planning, teaching, worrying, or doing a combination of all three. It really is a full time job in every way. Being a teacher also inevitably means you’ll pay more for your own summer vacation, as trips abroad are always more expensive during school holidays.

If you don’t have a passion for teaching or love what you do, the situation can quickly turn bleak.

However, there are also a number of benefits. You can go home every day with the confidence that children’s lives are being enriched as a direct result of your input. I love the fact that no two days are the same and seeing or hearing the ‘aha!’ The moment something clicks for a child who has been struggling with learning it is priceless.

There are also many opportunities for career advancement, job security is good, and you have the opportunity to travel.

My advice to pre-service teachers would be to get organized, set high standards and expectations, and aim to be a thoughtful professional, eg think along the lines of “if x doesn’t work, next time I’ll try y.” ‘

more information

  • Find out the salary, work hours, and career and development outlook for an elementary school teacher.
  • read about becoming a teacher.
  • search for a main pgce course.
  • you may also like…

Content Creator Zaid Butt joined Silsala-e-Azeemia in 2004 as student of spirituality. Mr. Zahid Butt is an IT professional, his expertise include “Web/Graphic Designer, GUI, Visualizer and Web Developer” PH: +92-3217244554

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