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New at KS1 - floundering - please help!

Discussion in 'New teachers' started by ewadsworth, Mar 17, 2011.

  1. I taught year 1 (now in year 2)
    If they put their hand up or start to talk about 'so and so did this' etc....I stop them in their tracks. I ask 'is someone in serious trouble or seriously hurt? If they aren't then stop because I am not going to listen.'
    It doesn't take them long to realise that it isn't worth it and they soon give up!
  2. Hi
    I am an NQT in Year 2, but have also taught in reception and Year 1 during my GTP year, so can give you my take on it, based on my fairly limited experience.
    I am sure it is harder to take a class over some way through the year, so presumably you are experiencing all the tricky things I came up against in September. I am sure you are doing fine. I found it very hard at the beginning, but things have got much better now.
    I listen to children's problems, but there are some children who come up a lot to tell me every little thing someone else is doing wrong. I deal with this by asking if they are telling me as someone needs help, or telling me just to get someone into trouble. In circle time I talked about the difference between the two and how it is important to tell someone if someone is getting hurt, or in trouble, but not just to get someone into trouble. I also encourage children to have a little chat to each other to see if they can sort little problems out themselves. They are getting better at doing this too.
    I do tell those who feel it is their business to keep everyone else in line to not worry about what everyone else is doing, as this is my job. They have mostly got the hang of this now.
    I make a big deal of us working together and working as a team. I have a busy bee jobs board where I have jobs for children to do. This works on a rota system and takes advantage of their keeness to help. The often work in pairs for this which helps team spirit.
    I also use learning partners which change around once a month. They sit with their learning partners on the carpet, discuss questions and then sit with them on their mixed ability tables. I also used this system in reception and Year 1 and it worked well to keep the children engaged, but also to understand and work with each other, as the pairs change.
    I keep everything as practical as possible. We do the Creative Curriculum which gives things more of a purpose. Maths dips in and out of this. Although I don't always plan from the units on the primary framework I find it very useful as you can search for learning objectives by year group and see each year group either side which enables me to see how to differentiate more easily. This should give you a good guide of pitch. Do you do APP as this helps me to identify gaps and see progress etc.
    Year 1 is great for using puppets to help get your point across, so I would maximize on this by using them to help you. My year 2s love my monster puppet and are very interested in what he might be telling me.
    I hope this is of help. Do post again with specific questions about the planning if you need help with something in particular.
  3. Hi wadsworth,

    Sorry you are having a tough time. When I moved to ks1 I was surprised by how much input they need on EVERY little thing. Make a big deal about sitting nicely on the carpet as they are still learning to do this at this age you and you have to go over and over it. I have a seating plan with potential problem children sitting away from each other and they get a 'line award' (5 awards leads up to a sticker) for the best line on the carpet.

    You have to pre-empt problems with this age group - you have to make it very clear how you expect them to move from the carpet to their seat, or from the classroom to the toilets, or to the hall etc. Say it every day if you need to before they do it rather than waiting for it to be too late.

    You also need to do lots of PSHE input on behaviour and again its a case of telling them over and over again things like ignoring someone who is being silly or speaking nicely to each other etc. USe stories or puppets to get the ideas across. I think that with this age group you need a good PSHE slot every week and more often than not focus on expected behaviour in it. It was a shock to me at first the the children in this age group do not just know how to interact with each other but they have to be taught. Give LOTS of praise and rewards to children who are doing the right thing and the others will eventually catch on.

    Yes I get fed up of stating the obvious to them every day but in the long term it really does work. Good luck!

  4. Sorry about the rant. There are very few outlets for it: at school I worry that I’m making a poor impression and at home, whilst my husband is very sympathetic and extremely supportive, it’s difficult to get across how stressful it all is to a non-teacher. So thank you for reading/replying.
  5. Please don't take offence to this, but it does sound like you are giving up on things far too easily.
    Things don't happen instantly, especially in KS1. It takes time, patience and lots and lots of training. You need to set the boundaries, make clear expectations and constantly enforce them. It can be extremely exhausting, but unless you put the work in right at the start you will lose them for the rest of the year. Have in place very clear rewards and sanctions for behaviour and make sure the children know exactly what is expected of them.
    For example with the puppet. Tell them what behaviour you expect. Those who do not behave correctly go on the sad face. I always tell my class they have until 5. If they are still talking/fiddling/etc by the time I get to 5 they are straight on the sad face.
  6. PS. Last question: How much of this is normal for an NQT in the first term/year of teaching: starting to dislike the children you work with (en masse, not individually); dreading each next working day and fantasising about (non-fatal) things that could happen that would give you a legitimate reason for not going in; crying nearly every day of the week?
    I don't mean to sound dramatic or anything. But it is a genuine question - if it's normal, then I guess I just get on with it and try to push through to the other side (although I don't think I can face a year of this). But you can't really tell if something is ab/normal when you're on the inside of the situation - you need others with experience to point it out to you.
    Once again, thanks.
  7. I spent the first 2 years of teaching hating waking up in the morning, crying on the way to work and on the way home again. Normal or not, I couldn't really say as I was in an extremely challenging school.
    I got taken into hospital late on evening and got told I couldn't go in to school for 3 weeks. The nurse was quite taken aback by the huge smile on my face!
  8. ! Well I guess I'm not totally alone then.
    What happened next?
    And what about now? Are things better - and what's the main difference?
  9. I left and went to a completely different school!
    Things are great. I still have days when I hate the job, usually when we are under immense pressure from those above who want certain levels etc but I am much happier. The main difference obviously is the change in school!
  10. Hi
    I agree wtih PFF on the time it takes to make things work. At first my guided reading carousel was a complete disaster, but I kept at it with very clear boundaries (quiet talking, no disturbing me except in an emergency etc) and after about a month they were very different. I use beads in a jar as a whole class incentive and I use that to reward them when they come round really quickly on a one clap signal after talk partner time etc. I try to keep things very positive and tell them how well they are working together etc, but do have a behaviour chart on the wall where the children go down if they do something negative individually, or up if they do something particularly well. I also tend to do things like draw three beads on the board at the beginning of guided reading and if I hear loud chatting I remove one etc. They hate the idea of losing beads, so will help each other to be quiet. We fill the jar for a small reward like an afternoon play (which they don't usually get in Year 2) or a dvd, or 20 minute disco etc. It usually takes the whole term to collect which may be too long for your year 1s, but works well for mine. They enjoy working together for something and they get to vote on a limited reward choice which helps them to feel involved.
    We do have golden time each week and if they are still on the bottom of the indiv behaviour chart at the end of the day their name is written on the board and they miss 5 mins of golden time. They had to sit with the timer whilst everyone else starts. They hate this so do try and get back up from the bottom of the chart.
    I find that children respond best to really clear boundaries, so I try to stick with my methods unless I can see it has caused another unexpected problem etc. They then know where they are and know the behaviour that is expected. I have had the odd persistent offender and have had to give up the odd break time to supervise them doing something very dull. At this age they really want to go outside, so this seems to work.
    It does take them a while to see that you are really serious about your boundaries, so it did feel a bit out of control etc whilst they were still getting to grips with it. I am sure if you decide on your strategies and stick with them you will start to enjoy it more.

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