War and Peas

#BlogADayMay May 2nd War and Peas

Whenever I tell someone I am a teacher, their first question is 'What do you teach?'. I don't know whether they just assume I'm a Secondary Teacher. I always laugh. My answer: 'I teach everything, I'm a Primary Teacher'.

One of the best things about Primary Teaching in particular is that every day is completely different. Not only do the children provide the potential for any carefully-planned lesson to go off-course, but the opportunity to teach different lessons each day ensures that boredom is non-existent. As a Primary Teacher I teach a whole range of Subjects, but as the pastoral professional for 30 children 5 days a week, I spend time sorting emotional issues, tying shoes, sharing running jokes.

The multi-faceted nature of Primary Teaching is best explained through the analogy of the good old School Hall. A teacher needs to play many roles and sometimes those roles are conflicting. In most Schools, the Hall is the location for Assemblies, Class Assemblies, PE lessons, Dinners, Xmas Performances... It also often has large equipment stored in it. No space in school is shared like that. The Hall works as a space for Assemblies usually, but has a hard floor which can be uncomfortable to sit on. It works for Dinners but usually also has to house chairs and tables which can clutter up the space. It works for PE, but is usually too small and there is a better-than-average chance of standing in squashed peas. It works for Xmas Performances and Class Assemblies, but practising these will usually earn you dark looks for anyone trying to use it for any of the above.

A Primary Teacher is a little like that. We can't be perfect at any facet of our job. We are required to teach a variety of subjects, to standards that are becoming more and more exacting. We are in loco parentis for our pupils during the day, providing care for them in ways not covered by the NC2014. We are expected to solve ever-greater social issues ranging from Healthy Eating and obesity to taking on the role of a depleted Social Care system. All of these roles take place within one person. No-one can carry those roles out perfectly, each individual will be better at different disciplines. Yet we are all held to the highest standards across an ever-changing role.

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