Moving from teaching secondary to teaching primary

Posted by on Apr 25th 2017


A survival guide for Secondary teachers

We asked Karl (one of our teachers) back again after the success of the first Secondary to Primary training day, to repeat the process for a new lovely bunch of Secondary school teachers. Karl covered a lot of ground and went into quite a bit of depth in his presentation but here are a few bitesize nuggets to take away with you.

Be clear about the area you wish to work in

You may have a preference for Early Years Foundation, Reception, Key Stage 1 or Key Stage 2. There are differences between them. It's a bit of a generalisation but there are fewer tears as you go up the age range - more toilet incidents at the lower end.

The school day

It will undoubtedly vary but be sure to ask about breaks and lunch times as these often differ for each Key Stage. If you’re working in two different key stages in the morning and afternoon, you may need cover to enable you to have your lunch break. Check with the teachers you’re covering or the office – ask if you’re on duty.

School Secretary

The school secretary is involved in running the school and can be responsible for future assignments. Make yourself known for all the right reasons. See the secretary before you go home to get your timesheet signed and debrief.

In the Staffroom

Most are very welcoming, friendly and accommodating but be careful what cup or mug you use when making a brew – it maybe someone’s favourite. Always ask before you help yourself to beverages (bottles of water from the cooler) that may not be for public use but belong to someone in particular.

Your TA or HLTA

Generally speaking, your teaching assistant will be a huge help and know all the ins and outs of how things work. They’ll be your greatest resource and the person you turn to first, for assistance.

Making your mark

Always aim high in regards to behaviour management and expectations. Don’t compromise or underestimate the ability of children in your care. Idle little hands can cause chaos. Any minor disruption needs to be nipped in the bud.

Varying your input to maximise output

Making good use of your voice and being expressive can erase monotony and keep pupils engaged. Try to use visual aids and participation where possible. Think of your age group when considering appropriate language – you can never make it too easy.

Attracting and maintaining attention

You can clap, request ‘hands up’ rhyme the: ‘One, two, three, look at me. Four, five, six, button those lips.’ Put your hand up in one area of the room - this signals for the classroom to listen.

Assume nothing, expect anything and be ready for the unusual

Never ever think you've seen it all. Above all be flexible, adaptable and smile, smile, smile. Enjoy your day as Primary supply work is highly rewarding and no two hours are the same.

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