a to z of primary teaching

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A to Z of Primary teaching

a to z of primary teaching

First up in our A to Z of teaching…

A is for apple

I have never in twelve years of teaching been given an apple. Some cards with apples on, but an actual apple? Nope. An apple for the teacher may well be a well known phrase, but for me never an action!

B is for Buying your classroom

More so in America, but I have spent a small fortune (conservatively more than £10,000) furnishing the classroom, buying food for class parties or treats, reward systems such as stickers or desk pet erasers and Christmas presents are just some items I have purchased during my career. Then there are the costumes for Book Day, theme days etc etc…

C is for Coffee

A lot of coffee.

D is for disasters

We all have them. A lesson, a day, a topic, a meeting, an observation. All of the above. Don’t dwell on it. Accept we all make mistakes or have a down day and move on to the next!

E is for Enough

You are doing enough. Your kids are getting enough. There is always going to be more you feel you ought to do. There just aren’t enough hours in the day when you work in any part of Education. Learn when to say enough!

F is for Fine motor skills

So important I wrote a blog about it!

G is for giggles

I have never had so many giggles as when I retrained as a teacher. Even now as an online and in-person tutor I end up having a giggle or smile with the kiddos in every session. Teaching brings me joy!

H is for Hieroglyphic decoding

You call it reading a small child’s writing, I call it an unseen skill of every Primary teacher to actually know what they have written. I like to let carers and parents know as I hand over their “special” notes from the learners in on the secret with a I wish I had a note telling me that I am a magical princess who makes amazing fairy cakes. It means the kids aren’t disillusioned that the mix of letters and numbers that may not be 100% accurate can’t be read by their most favourite people…

I is for Independence

You teach them facts, figures, methods, procedures and then they apply it without any help or intervention from an adult! Oh my word that is a special moment.

J is for Jigsaws

I mean, yes, they are an incredible fine motor tool. Yes, they are fun and accessible. But also, they are a metaphor. For you. As you try to fit work, meetings, prep, admin, family, activities, doctor appointments, self care, occasionally sleep, maybe a side hustle etc in your diary.

K is for kids

Do not enter teaching for the money, holidays or fame. Do not enter teaching expecting presents at Christmas or the end of the year. Enter teaching because you get a kick out of working with kids. Because you want a job that is helping to shape the future. If you don’t love working with your kiddos, being with them every day all day, 5 days a week for a school year you are in the wrong place. If you think teaching is “easy”, you’ll only work between 9 and 3 with an hour for lunch and have more holidays than you can cope with you wont last longer than a couple of years.

L is for learning

Obviously, that is the general aim for every lesson you teach. But I am talking about what you learn yourself. About yourself, about the world, about how the brains of kids function, and how to juggle twelve paperwork tasks, 30 kids, 5 differentiated activities 2 adults and a breakdown in technology at once.

M is for Meetings

Many. Many meetings.

N is for Nativity plays

They are so cute! To watch I mean. You try directing 90 4 and 5 year olds to learn lines, songs, bring in a costume and maybe even not cry or flash their pants to the audience… [I wish the last one was not in my realm of experience, but it is. *sigh*]

O is for Ofsted and Observations

In the UK there is no avoiding Ofsted. I understand that we need a way to ensure all kids get an equally excellent education. But you don’t know pressure like it until you get the call at about noon the day before, spend 2 sleepless nights and days prepping and preening (regardless of your intentions to just act as normal) both the books and classroom and then praying to all and any Gods that your kiddos will do you proud whenever any Leadership or Inspector walks in… I wish internal observations were better. They are shorter. You have longer to prep. But you can also pretty much guarantee that the one kiddo who wont be able to articulate the learning of the lesson will get asked what they are doing.

P is for Presents

The presents that your kiddos bring you and give you with such pride as it is such a treasure. You know, like half a worm they saw on the way to school and made them think of you. Or the baby sock with a hole that they want to show in show and tell. Or the cake they made that could well have their own snot in. Good times.

Q is for Quizzes

I always call the tests we administer learning quizzes to check on what we know. I try and make them fun and encourage them to go one better next time.

R is for reading amazing Kids books

At a staff meeting about Guided Reading the guest speaker said,”

a to z of teaching

And he was so right. I’ve used/magpied/stolen this phrase multiple times since and it is so perfect. Middle grade books are long enough for a story to develop, but pacey enough to sustain attention and interest. They are detailed and full of character and wonder. Nearly all my to be read books are Middle grade or Young Adult books. And I am proud of it! But back to our A to Z of teaching-

S is for Summer Holidays

Do not roll your eyes! We earn those summer holdiays. I always view them as time off in lieu. Especially as we prep for the next year, redecorate the classroom and actually don’t get paid for August. Yup, you read that right. Teachers in the UK get paid for 11 months a year and have the pay split across 12 months. In America it is similar, but I don’t know exactly how it works. Either way WE DO NOT GET PAID IN THE SUMMER HOLIDAYS! So leave us to enjoy it!

T is for terminology

Specifically, acronyms. EYFS, GCSE, KS1, SEND, DEAR, MOOT guaranteed Primary teachers know what they all stand for. *answers at the end of the post!

U is for Unlimited potential

The kiddos are ready to reach for the stars and break perceived expectations. Are you ready to help them?

V is for variety

No two days are ever the same. Even events that happen regularly are never the same. If variety is the spice of life, then working in a primary school is an incredibly spicy curry!

W is for wonder

Awe and wonder are integral parts of the Primary Classroom. It is so wonder-ful…

X is for Xray vision

You will discover that you have it as a teacher. You will notice that Jami has a toy under that table and Gaz is distributing sweets behind your back. Even though you are facing the board and not the kids, you will know who hasn’t opened their book or picked up a pencil, and who is sniggering too.

Y is for you.

You are the most important resource in the classroom. Take care of you!

Z is for Zoedidthat

Indeed remember that I have been there and done that and am here to help! So don’t forget to like, comment and grab your freebie too!


A to Z of teaching acronyms answers
  • EYFS, Early Years Foundation Stage (for birth to 5years old)
  • GCSE, General Ceritificate of Secondary Education
  • KS1, Key Stage 1 (5-7 year olds)
  • SEND, Special Educational Needs and Disabilities
  • DEAR, Drop Everything And Read
  • MOOT, Manage Our Own Time

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