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A day in the life of a reception teacher?

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by starlight189, Jan 9, 2012.

  1. Hello,
    I'm a Primary-trained NQT and I'm on the job hunt. Now, I'll be honest, the only experience I've had in the EYFS has been nursery and tutoring a home-schooled reception aged child. I've been in Year 1, but know reception is very different. As I've gone through placements, I've caught phrases such as 70%/30% and child initiated learning but I'm still very niave about what a day in Reception involves. I'm just interested really - I like the age group but am not sure if I could cope with it in my NQT year.
    So tell me, what is a day in the life of a reception teacher like?
  2. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    It's 80%/20% for assessment (not teaching )
    There should be a balance between Adult and Child Initiated learning but that can look very different from setting to setting.
    Reception like nursery is physically very demanding
  3. MissMistoffelees

    MissMistoffelees New commenter

    When I was on placement in reception (a lot different to being the teacher but might give you an idea!) this was the day-
    9- Children arrive; register and date and weather board
    9.10- Explain the different activities available for the children e.g. sand, role play, computer; ask "Who want's to play at the..." and send children who put their hands up (not all if they all want to play at one thing obviously!)
    9.15-11.30- Children access activities available and teacher did small group work; she would work with between 3 and 6 children at a time throughout the week to do one PSRN and one CLL activity a week and perhaps a 'special' thing like making cakes or painting a specific picture.
    11.30-11.45- Phonics
    11.45- Get ready for lunch and lunch
    1.00-3.00 Repeat of morning except for phonics; instead we would do story and rhymes

    In that school they talked about the 70/30 balance and I was told it meant that 70% of the stuff the children do should be child initiated (activities chosen by the children and supported by adults) and 30% could then by more focused adult directed stuff, like the small group work, phonics, etc.
    BUT; all reception classes are different; ways in which they are the same are-- they are messy (not necessarily untidy, just messy), the children can sometimes seem like they are doing nothing, and like the previous poster said they are physically draining. Oh, and they all have tiny chairs which are painful to sit on!
  4. Hi there!
    I'm a Reception teacher, and have been teaching this age group for the past 4 years....and I love it!
    I work in a two form entry school, and our Reception classes have one large class (that can be split into two), a shared area and access to a large outdoor area. There are 2 teachers (including myself) and 2 TAs.
    I wont lie to you.....its exhausting! The children constantly want your attention, you have to be able to multi task in so many ways and split yourself into at least 4 other people, parents expect you to dedicate your time to teaching their child how to blow their nose, fasten their coat, get dressed e.t.c, e.t.c as well as making sure they learn and develop (better stop there 'cos I can feel a rant coming on!)........but its also very rewarding.
    Now admittidly I don't have any experience of KS2 so this could be true of this age group too, but in Foundation Stage they get such a thrill and a buzz from learning new things, they want to be involved and have a go.......and experiencing that is the reward! They are discovering so many new things for the first time.
    So this is what a typical day in my class is like:-
    8.55 - Children come in, change into pumps, do Active5 exercises, Register, sing the 'Hello' song and talk through the visual timetable.
    9.05/9.10 approx - 1st input - Literacy or Numeracy
    9.30 - Children 'get busy' ! They can choose where they want to work - classroom or shared area plus the door to the outdoor classroom is always open so they can come and go as they please! 1 member of staff from each class will work in the classroom doing focused activities realting to the input with small groups of children or working in the areas of provision and making observations. The member of staff in the shared area is usually hearing children read or making observations and the member of staff outside takes their lead from the children and supports them and makes observations.
    11.20 - tidy up then Phonics (2nd input)
    11.50 - wash hands and go for lunch
    1.00 - children come back in, Active5 exercises & Register
    1.10 approx - 3rd input - Literacy, Numeracy, Knowledge & understanding of the world or PSE/Circle time
    1.30 - children 'get busy' again just as in the morning.
    2.40 - tidy up, coats and shoes on, collect book bags & into shared area for year group story & reflection on the day.
    We do one numeracy and literacy focused activity per week. We do a numeracy input every day and literacy approx 3-4 times a week......one that's completly literacy based and others that are linked to knowledge & understanding or PSE/circle time.
    Then at the end of the day we make sure all the areas of provision are ready for the next day (enoug paint/paper e.t.c. as the children access this stuff independently), make resources and write up observations......on the plus side there is very little book work to take home and mark!
    So that's what my typical day is like.....I hope its helpful......I think I did get a little carried away!!
    ickle_peach X
  5. Hi, Thanks for that itis very useful as I am about to start in Reception class. How does a weekly timetable translate into a daily one. I have never doen reception planning and am a bit scared.

  6. popidol689

    popidol689 New commenter

    Im ks2 trained and was moved to reception in my second year of teaching. Im now in my second year of teaching Reception and I love it. Its exhausting but completely rewarding.
    my day is like this
    9:00- self registration and then carpet register (we then go through the days of the week and the weather outside.
    Then literacy 9:10-9:25. Whole class input
    9:25-9:50 my children choose whilst i work with a group and my TA works with a group based on that mornings literacy.
    9:50-10:10 everyone chooses and I work with two SEN children
    10:10-10:15 tidy up and then phonics.
    10:30 snack time then outdoor play
    11:00-11:30 guided reading with one group and 6 individual readers.
    11:30-11:45, story time or singing on carpet
    11:50-1:00 lunch
    1:00-1:25 register and maths input
    1:25-1:50 maths groups (I take a group and TA takes a group,other children choose)
    1:50-3:00 child initated activities for which i do observations) this happens 3 days a week
    on mondays we have PE 2:00-3:00
    Fridays are creative days. we may build a huge model, or cook, or write a book , or do science based activties all day
    also on friday's i sit down with the children and get them to look at their profiles and tell me what they are doing in certain pictures and read back their work etc...
    hope this helps
    its not for everyone but i bloody love it :)
  7. Thank you for this thread it's fab! I am training in LKS2 and KS1 (with placements in Y3 and Y1) but REALLY want to work in reception when I've finished. Have a job interview for a reception class next week which is amazing news and I'm really happy. Only thing is I've never been on placement in YR (although I've spent time observing in various schools) and I don't know what sorts of things they'll ask me at interview and how this would differ if it were for a Y1 job, for example. I've got a copy of Development Matters and will make sure I know it inside out before my interview. Is there anything else you'd recommend I do to prepare? Be grateful for all your advice and thanks again!
  8. lauraelizabethroberts

    lauraelizabethroberts New commenter

    Hiya. I'm an NQT in Reception. My general PGCE didn't prepare me for it in any way because it didn't touch on early years and the curriculum, assessment and structure are so very different. I hadn't even thought of teaching in Reception and found myself here by accident - and how pleased am I? I never want to leave! I've learned so much this year and early years is definitely the place for me. The children's progress is amazing, they are engaged and interested in everything and it is so rewarding to be the teacher responsible for laying down the foundations of learning.
    I work in a three form entry school, with a teacher and TA in each class. Our day:
    0845 - chn arrive and choose from the activities set out. Register is taken during this time.
    0900 - welcome, what we're learning, explain activities in the room, input 1 (usally phonics)
    0925 - continuous provision inside and outside / adult led groups / child-initiated observations
    1030 - input 2 (usually literacy)
    1050 - continuous provision inside and outside / adult led groups / child-initiated observations
    1130 - input 3
    1200 - lunchtime
    1310 - registration and input 4 (usually maths)
    1330 - continuous provision inside and outside / adult led groups / child-initiated observations
    1430 - story, games, singing
    1500 - hometime!
    Inputs: there are 4 inputs (whole class carpet sessions) a day so 20 per week and these will include 4-5 inputs each of phonics, literacy and maths. There will also be inputs on a range of other things such as guided reading (5 groups per week), circle time, PSHE, PE (Fri), ICT (Fri), something related to our topic, music, assembly (Mon) etc.
    Continuous Provision: every day we plan and set up 'continuous provision' activities. Inside there are four main areas / tables: literacy, maths, busy hands and creative plus construction, small world, role play area (changed every 2-3 weeks or so) and book corner. Outside we set up most of these areas too, though what is offered is very dependent on the weather! One adult (teacher or TA) will be outside in the morning and inside in the afternoon and then we will swap the following week.
    Adult led groups: every week we do 2-3 focus groups with an 'I am learning to...' objective differentiated 3 ways. All chn will be involved with the focus at some point though we will work with groups of 2-6 chn at a time, depending on the activity. Generally, one focus will take place outside and two inside. When we do a focus we will complete a sticker for each child and stick in in their learning book with either the work they completed during the focus or a photo of the child doing the focus activity.
    Aside from focuses we carry out many interventions (one on one) and small group work based on ongoing assessment. These will have a sticker and the piece of work / photo and go in learning books.
    We also hear all the chn read every week.
    Child-initiated observations: anytime we catch the chn independently (ie without adult direction) doing something relevant we write it on a sticker and put in their learning journey with the piece of work or a photo of them doing it. This can range from completing a maths worksheet at the maths table inside to building something with lego to a comment they make about something they've observed to being kind to their friend.
    Basically all adult-led work goes in their learning book and child-initiated goes in their learning journey (though I think in most early years settings all work goes in the learning journey with a note about whether it is AL or CI). There's debate about the split of adult led / child initiated but I don't focus on that too much....however, I would say my split is probably 25% adult led and 75% child initiated.
    The document we use to plan and assess is 'Development Matters'. This is a deeply flawed document that rarely makes sense, but one we have to use... We have only recently received the document giving examples of what each statement means but the number of grammatical and spelling errors I can't take it seriously. Sorry, don't listen to me!! You may find it much easier to use!
    A note on phonics - I had never taught phonics and my only knowledge was that my son had just finished reception....athough he learned to sight read and didn't really use phonics so was no blooming good to me! However, although it was my biggest concern, I actually love teaching phonics now. Seeing the satisfaction and pride the chn feel as they are develop as readers has been amazing. I have learned alongside them (though they don't know that!!) and it works...
    Anyway, I think I've probably given you information overload so I'll just say good luck with the interview - I hope it goes really well! [​IMG]
  9. Wow what amazing advice/help Laura, thank you!
    It's really reassuring to know that you can do it even if you're not trained in EYFS (There's a bunch of Early Years specialists on my course and I always think to myself...why bother applying, because surely they'll get it over someone who is KS2/KS1 trained?! Maybe that's not the attitude!)
    Thanks again :)
  10. Hi,

    I'm interested to know what time you actually leave work, and how much work/planning you have to do at home.
  11. Start at 7am setting up leave between 5 and 6pm. Often take work home to do on laptop and spend weekend collecting and preparing resources. It is physically and intellectually demanding -fitting the learning to each child Ina way that will engage them means creative and thoughtful planning. Making time to discuss and evaluate day with other staff is another demand on time. We have a lot of fun and I'm lucky to work with a fab team of people. I have experience of all primary age groups but would hate to go back to the straight jacket of the national curriculum.
  12. Hi lauraelizabethroberts, this was such an informative answer! I just wanted to ask how you learned about the curriculum and how to plan for EYFS? I'm currently on a Primary PGCE (4-11) and have only done a 6 day observation placement in reception/nursery, but an amazing Reception job has come up that I want to apply for. Did you start your NQT in Reception pretty much blind to it or have any other experience? How did you learn all about the curriculum, planning, teaching methods etc? Thank you :)
  13. lauraelizabethroberts

    lauraelizabethroberts New commenter

    Sorry have only just seen this question and, although it's too late for you now, wanted to say I started my NQT year in Reception completely blind to it and learned as I went along! I just picked it up as I went along. Each school is different anyway so you don't just need to learn about the year group you're teaching but how your school does it. Go for it, Reception is fab!
  14. It's not too late at all, the job only officially came out on April 1st - thanks so much for your reply! That's really reassuring to know. I'm currently writing my application but unsure how to talk about my EYFS experience as it's only observational!
  15. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    ^ dev280, this really made me laugh! So funny and true!
  16. ucheokoli8

    ucheokoli8 New commenter

    I want to explore the EYFS approach for the first time.Any video or link that could help a fiest timer? Please could someone help with an observation sheet? Are observation sheets the same in all schools? Could someone please also make examples of some observation statements?
    Please and thank you!

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