“What do you think I do all day?” I asked one of my GCSE English students.
“Miss I bet you’re having coffee with friends and catching up on Eastenders,” she said.
Lol I wish it was like that. Another student said that I must have a day job somewhere.
I teach in the evenings so people assume that I must have another job during the day. WRONG! My business is a full-time job, and as a centre owner I have many duties.
Meetings, Meetings, Meetings
So first thing this morning, after the school run, I had a meeting at a local school with the inclusion co-ordinator. A parent of one of the children I teach asked me to come along to the meeting as the child is struggling at school and the school would like my opinion. The meeting was really productive because they were impressed by the report I had written and I gave them a detailed insight into how the child learns and the difficulties he faces. They will be giving him extra support in school now and will monitor closely to see if it makes a difference.
Then comes the favourite part of my job, planning lessons. However, this week I made exam revision packs for my GCSE students because they have mocks coming up. At Kip McGrath we use our own resources but exam practice and exam technique are also essential. We teach children simple things like working out how much time they should devote to each question depending on how many marks it’s worth, and we get them to learn to use mark schemes. These skills they can take away and do at home too. So I made up packs targeted at C/D grades C/B and A/A* grades in both english and maths.
Chasing up missed calls takes up a lot of my time too, especially if I am talking to a parent who doesn’t know what we do and how we do it. I’m on the ball when it comes to telling tales too! As soon as a child forgets homework or is not trying, I call the parents. I always give the children a chance and a warning though, but they never believe me when I say I am going to call their parents – until it happens. The calls I love to make are the ones where I have to tell a parent that their child has improved. We test regularly at Kip McGrath and parents don’t always come in to get feedback so it is my job to make sure that the parent knows how well their child has done.
About 20% of my day is spent on business activities. I updated my Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram accounts and then wrote an article to go in the Primary Times which is a magazine given to all primary school children in the town.
More Lesson Planning
After that I planned my science lesson which I teach on Tuesdays. The class I have are terrible at long answer questions. These questions are worth 6 marks and they just manage to get 2 or 3 marks. I find it shocking that the children know so little, they don’t think that what they learn in science lessons applies to their lives. The other day one of my students thought that test tube babies grew and developed in a test tube!
After picking up my daughter from school I then go into the centre to teach. This is when the fun starts. There is no typical Kip child as I teach children from a variety of backgrounds and children who have a variety of needs. I suppose the best way of showing you what a Kip child is like is to take a snapshot of the children I teach in a typical day. For data protection purposes I have changed the names of the students.
Teaching – Yay!!!!
So on Wednesday s I teach:
Linda – Year 11, bubbly, sensitive and avoids maths
Linda has been coming to Kip McGrath since she was in primary school and is now in year 11. I am helping her with her maths. One of the areas where Linda needs help is her speed. She rarely finishes an exam paper and likes to get it neat. For that reason she believes that you should get it right first time and takes too long thinking about presentation and method. I also believes this is her way of coping with the task. This week we had a brilliant lesson on the circle theorem and she left with a beaming smile. I texted after the lesson to give an update and mum said that Linda had told her all about it already.
Zachary year 1, recently moved to the UK and forgets easily
Zachary came into lesson today with a heart shape he had made out of play dough for me. He is on our early reading programme and started 4 months ago barely knowing his alphabet. I had to teach him from scratch. He is now on book 10 of the early reading programme but is not ready to graduate onto our primary reading programme yet. This week we did some work on the letter “e” as he forgets the sound it makes in words. We also drilled some common CVC words like “mop, cat, mud, did, fan, bat” and I discovered that he has a limited vocabulary. For example he didn’t know that a bat could also be an animal and that a mouse and a rat are similar. Note to self: do some vocabulary building exercise with him, read non-fiction texts, talk about the books more and encourage him to use and remember one new word per lesson.
Hannah – year 8 with a reading age 3 years below her actual age
Hannah is a real success story. She has been attending since April and had a real learning block when it came to reading. She’s worked so hard and overcome her obstacles and is now a free reader. At school the teachers are in total disbelief that she has made so much progress. Today I did some creative writing with her and she did a humorous piece of writing on what she thinks I do all day – this is partly what inspired me to write this blog. We also did some comprehension, but it was too easy for her, so after the first question I changed it to something more on her level. What I love about Hannah is that now she’s proud of her work, every lesson she wants to show her mum her work and asks me to tell her mum about how hard she has worked.
Joe – year 4, gifted in all areas, needs to learn to focus
Joe’s mum brought him to me for an initial assessment when he was in year 1. She had been to a parent’s evening at school and was told that he was struggling with reading. She wanted him to have some extra help with this, and had heard about us through a friend. His assessment results showed that he was above average in english and maths! We were both confused!
Three years on and Joe has changed to a better school which meets his needs. He is extremely intelligent and thrives on challenges. He asks to do algebra and fractions in class because he enjoys it, and he thrives on solving puzzles and crosswords. Today he did a comprehension exercise, one which I have chosen because I know that he avoids it. He likes to read but doesn’t like to write and in the past he has given one word answers. We followed this up by some vocabulary work, choosing 4 words from the passage which he didn’t know the meaning of, and using context clues to figure out the meaning. Then he planned a story for me, focusing on thoughts and feelings of the characters and finally I let him do some maths.
Family Time Is The Best Time
My day ends late evening, by which time I am glad to be at home with my family.