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What are your perceptions of Year 6?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Tinapurrer, Aug 3, 2018.

  1. Tinapurrer

    Tinapurrer New commenter

    Hello Everyone,

    I am interested in gathering perceptions of teaching Year 6.

    I am a Year 6 teacher myself and believe that there are both positive and challenging aspects that go along with teaching the year group. I have asked colleagues about their views but I am now keen to explore the ideas and opinions of teachers, support staff and school leaders from Primary or Secondary backgrounds.

    You may have first-hand experience of Year 6 that you would like to share, or you may have formed your own perceptions based on what you have seen or heard about Year 6. You may even have a child that has gone through Year 6 and are able to supply a parent perspective. Either way, I would love to hear your views on this subject.

    If (like me) you are thinking about work again when you should be enjoying your summer holiday(!) then please spare a few moments to post your thoughts on the topic. Every comment (whether positive or negative) will be valued :)

    Many thanks,

    Curious Year 6 Teacher :rolleyes:
  2. BoldAsBrass

    BoldAsBrass Occasional commenter

    I've managed to avoid Y6 (and Y5) after 20+ years as a teacher. I taught lots in 1st & Infant Schools but have had Primary and Junior experiences as well. It's not my forte - I much prefer the younger end, although I have spent the last 5 years or so moving between Y3 and 4. My Head knows I'm flexible and will teach anywhere (except Y5/6) and she accepted that when she appointed me. It's mainly my choice/preference - can't be bothered with learning and planning another curriculum (knowledge - 0% having never taught it) My personal skill set means I'm flexible - there are other staff members who might not want to teach FS, Y1/2 or 3/4 so let people teach to their strengths. You can be a 'jack of all trades and master of non' as they say!! Also - I find Y6 kids too challenging - I don't like the way they go 'feral' after SATs as they'd rather be at hIgh school. Wouldn't have the patience!! LOL
    Jen26, Tinapurrer and pepper5 like this.
  3. FormosaRed

    FormosaRed Occasional commenter

    Mine (at start of yr 7) : confident, image concious. Fragile emotionally. Find metaphor and nuance difficult - tendency to be literal and materialist. Knowledge of basic history and science poor. Excellent IT skills. Very good at problem- solving.
    Tinapurrer and pepper5 like this.
  4. MadHatter1985

    MadHatter1985 New commenter

    Teaching Year 6 has definitely changed me as a teacher. I was more focused on engagement, variety and projects when I used to teach Years 3-5, but now it's all about the results of my teaching. This has its negatives (pressure of SATS, narrowing of teaching) but also its positives (I am constantly thinking how I get the best result for the most number children in the most efficient way).
    StarbucksCovfefe and Tinapurrer like this.
  5. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Not a great time of year to ask...we are all remembering them at the end of the summer term when they are more than ready to go! At that time they are obnoxious know-it-alls!

    The rest of the time, they are what you make them. If you give them too much freedom, they become cocky so and sos and think they run the show. If you give them too little, they become frustrated and sulky.

    Like any other class, they need appropriate amounts of freedom, care, responsibility and encouragement.

    Teaching year 6 in a middle school, where they are the second youngest year group of four, is very different to teaching them in a primary, where they are the oldest.
    Tinapurrer, hammie and CarrieV like this.
  6. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    coming from secondary school, they really are fine. Unless of course you try and treat them like year 1 in which case they will get ansy.
    Some schools give them lots of responsibility and try hard to keep their curriculum reasonable balanced, others just treat them like exam machines and wonder why they get fed up.
    The best I've seen when on supply make sure they have plenty to aim for post sats. A big performance, a residential, planning and producing their own big leavers assembly. and when producing the shows they do everything from the computing to the lighting, the props, stage shifting so there is a suitable job for all of them including those who do not want to get up on stage.
    The worst I've seen just let them drift for a month. Just allowing them to go outside and do what they like for hours on end for instance. Then complaining that they are horrible.
    Incidentally, I personally hate the description of children as feral in all and any cases.
  7. ABCCBA123321

    ABCCBA123321 Occasional commenter

    Lovely if they're your own class... I refuse to do Y6 on supply because they can be rotten to unknown teachers (I take the line that I take bookings I can do well - I'm not in the business of doing a bad job).

    What Caterpillar says is true - my husband went through the three tier school system so he's seen me come in stressed after a day of Y6 supply work where they've very much hit the big fish in small pond point in the year and he just doesn't understand it because it wasn't a year group that got like it when he was at school - because of the transition points being so different. Think infant schools can get that a bit with year 2s as well toward the end of the year just when the focus goes to moving on and their next school as well.
    Tinapurrer likes this.
  8. CarrieV

    CarrieV Lead commenter

    My God, they're hard work! Apart from the pressure of ensuring results are as good as you can get, the children themselves seem to turn into mini-tyrants, once nice, obliging children become whining, devious monsters-and that's on a good day! They push boundaries ( or stride right over them!) and turn into recalcitrant teenagers right in front of you. They want to be treated like year 6's but act like 6-year-olds, they want the rights without the responsibilities.

    But you can talk to them, have a reasoned discussion, watch them change and grow, celebrate their successes and commiserate when things go wrong, spot hidden talents when the shyest, quietest year 6 suddenly demands a solo in the end of year performance and sings too!

    They are a demanding, sulky, painfully honest bunch who can't wait to leave primary but want to stay for another seven years! I love it!
    Tinapurrer and efm like this.
  9. efm

    efm New commenter

    Love them. To put it all into perspective - Bumped into about 10 of the Year 6s in a car park. They were all waiting to attend a party and were early. In their best outfits and chunky trainers, they decided to perform one of the dance routines we had done from the end of year show. No audience, just themselves having fun and not a subordinate clause in sight.

    As Caterpillar said, 'they are what you make them' (usually!). It really is a balancing act and a challenge to keep the SATs in perspective and I'm sure I don't always manage it and you have to try and remember the little successes - the child who struggled to read and write who became the great leader on the residential or the quiet girl no-one quite understood who you challenged in the production ( now performing at the Edinburgh Fringe). Just a shame the balancing act doesn't tip more that way because of those darned percentages.

    My favourite part of year 6 is structuring activities that allow the children to feel more empowered/autonomous and watching them feel that, although that is definitely not exclusive to Year 6 - I am completely in awe of those FS/Y1/2 teachers in that respect.
    hammie and Tinapurrer like this.
  10. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    How to get content for an article about being a Year 6 teacher while not being a Year 6 teacher.
    Tinapurrer and efm like this.
  11. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    :D You know those 'secret teacher' articles in, I think, The Guardian...:rolleyes:
    Tinapurrer likes this.
  12. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    The headlines in the OP give it away.
    Lillyputin and Tinapurrer like this.
  13. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Yeps, but it's been an interesting read from various posters though. So don't mind too much.
    And it's always comforting to realise that the year groups which make you tear your hair out throughout July as the same in all schools.

    I liked teaching year 6 when I did it, but I'd not want to go back to it now.
    Tinapurrer and efm like this.
  14. becky70

    becky70 Occasional commenter

    Never had my own Year 6 class but taught them on supply and as part of a PPA/management release time. You have to be really hard on them especially when they're not your class but they get your jokes and they can be great fun to teach.
    I think it must be the hardest year group over all because of the pressure of the SATs.
    Tinapurrer likes this.
  15. Tinapurrer

    Tinapurrer New commenter

    Thank you for your comments :)
  16. Tinapurrer

    Tinapurrer New commenter

    Thank you :)
  17. teachntravel

    teachntravel New commenter

    I have been in Year 6 for four years now. I haven't taught anywhere else in Primary. and tbh I don't think I'd ever want to anymore. I am so familiar with the curriculum.
    However, the reason I have been in Year 6 for so long is a combination of hitting targets and good performance management, and the fact that no other teacher in my school wants to teach in Year 6. It scares people, especially with the added pressure of KS2 National Tests. I agree that the pressure is definitely different than other year groups, and I do argue that sometimes the gaps to fill are far too wide and then the issues fall to Year 6 teachers to fill them instead of correcting most things in Years 3-5. If you are in a school with a large turnover rate, these gaps can be even bigger, and add extra stress as well, especially where results are concerned.
    Tinapurrer likes this.
  18. Tinapurrer

    Tinapurrer New commenter

    I am definitely a Year 6 teacher! Not writing articles but doing a PHD - very grateful for everyone's comments ;0
    FormosaRed likes this.
  19. Tinapurrer

    Tinapurrer New commenter

    Also, I am flattered to be referred to as a Guardian journalist. Was it teaching Year 6 that made you a little sceptical? :)
  20. Tinapurrer

    Tinapurrer New commenter

    Thank you - this sounds very familiar!

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