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In their shoes - Year 6 Teacher

Year 6 education advice

In this series of blogs we aim to give you a brief insight into the many roles within education.

Steph Parkin, a year 6 teacher from West Yorkshire, lets us into a day in her life teaching multiple subjects.


 
 

Tell us about your job

As a teacher I work on a day to day basis with 30 year 6 children. I plan, resource and teach reading, writing, maths, science, ICT, RE, PSHE, art and DT, which is as hectic as it seems! On top of this I have to give individual feedback to each child (usually through marking) and update my continual assessment of the level the child is working at.


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I liaise with colleagues, plan trips, manage behaviour and routines throughout a typical day, but the most important part of my job is the pastoral role, looking after and nurturing my class' mental well-being. I make a real effort to get to know the interests of each child, not just their levels. I also drink a lot of coffee!

Tell us about a typical day at work

Nothing ever goes according to plan! I spend around 40 minutes before the children arrive making sure I'm prepped and resourced for the day. I also make sure my classroom is organised and the children have all of their equipment on the tables.

In a morning I teach english and maths. I usually mark as I monitor the children's independent work, or work in a small, specially identified group, to model difficult concepts or deepen understanding through mastery activity.

Afternoons are less rigid, although there is a lot to fit in across a week. We still have well-structured and planned lessons to help children with ESBD (Emotional, Social and Behavioural Difficulties).

After school I go to meetings, continue with marking, catch up with colleagues, complete paperwork and admin and occasionally leave before 4pm!

What do you enjoy most about your role as a teacher?

The ‘Got-it’ moment when a difficult concept finally clicks into place in a child's brain; and the randomness of children's logic. I have at least one laugh out loud moment every day because of an innocent remark that turns into a devilish innuendo in my head, or a ridiculous comment or question.

What do you find challenging?

Year 6 grammar! Seriously, the pressure on the education system. There are a lot of changes happening, and many criticisms from all angles - but I've found that my optimistic outlook (and a fabulous SLT (Senior Leadership Team) has meant that the pressure doesn't turn into stress.

How did you get into teaching?

After having my son I got a job as a TA and realised that I could probably do a good job at teaching, so I did my PGCE. It took a while, but here I am!

What advice would you give anyone thinking about a future in teaching?

Being able to think on your feet and react to unexpected situations is one of the best skills to have in teaching. Some of my best lessons are the ones I've totally changed in response to something a child has said, or the fact that it started snowing, for example.

I would also say that you have to be optimistic. Yes, there is a lot of pressure on teachers at the minute, and yes, some of the changes are interesting but only you can be responsible for your mental well-being. Write lists, prioritise, and remember: the world won't end because you didn't finish it!

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