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Friday, 31 January 2014

The Ups and Downs of a Large Class

The title of my blog today was going to be the pros and cons of my large class but I have to say that although it is challenging I couldn't really use the word cons to describe any child in my class or indeed the class as a whole. I genuinely enjoy teaching my pupils but as it does say in the title having lots of children in a year 2 class really does have its ups and downs.

Lets start with the beginning of the day - the children line up outside and myself and my long suffering T.A. go out to collect them. This, more often than not, results in us having to 'run the gauntlet' of parents who are wanting to have a 'quick word'. Next the children go and hang up their coats and bags, putting their lunch box into the relevant cupboard and their reading book and journal into a box in class. Sounds simple? Oh no, not with 34 children all vying for a place at their peg. This along with the four instructions and actions to complete resulted at the beginning of the year in chaos. Since then we have put in lots of work to try to avoid the chaos, from standing guard in the cloakroom and shepherding them along to standing by the relevant box and guiding them where they need to go next and what they need to do. All of this and it is still only 9.05!

Once in class we begin the register but even this I would liken to 'puppies in a basket' because just as one child sits another jumps up because they have forgotten something! Fridays register time is the most fun because we sing our Candy Man by Sammy Davies Junior and all of the children really look forward to it. In fact it is the one day of the week when the 'puppies' are all in the basket.

So after register the day begins, usually with Literacy or Numeracy and that is where the next problem can begin. Obviously in any class there is a wide range of ability but as you can imagine trying to support a wide range of abilities within a class of 34 is not easy. Add into this the photocopying and any marking which has to be done and you can see the potential for more chaos. My T.A. and myself manage this very well between
us, relying heavily on the three stars and a wish stamp, stickers and the addition of a wonderful volunteer who is studying for her NVQ 2 and comes into our class all day on a Wednesday and all day Friday.

Going to assembly and lunch can also be problematic as moving 34 relatively boisterous children around requires military precision which is why I often feel more like a sergeant major than a teacher. We manage this by having 'line up chants' which the children love:

Big Hug
I give myself a great big hug,
I'm standing straight and tall,
I'm looking right in front of me,
I'm ready for the hall.

P.E is a challenge beginning with finding 34 P.E. kits and getting them changed. It is great fun once we get to the hall and I am always glad to have my whistle around my neck because I have to manage them carefully. This time I would liken it to being a shepherdess herding sheep around the hall in an attempt to keep them safe and give them the space they need to do their gymnastics sequences or The Gay Gordons dance. 

The end of the day is I think even more hectic than the beginning. Picture all of the morning routine in reverse with the addition of newsletters to hand out and parents to spot out of the window before we can release our little chickens (the human variety) back into the wild!

I'm even exhausted just thinking about it! No wonder I'm exhausted but you know what it is also great fun!
Due to the amount of the children we have lots and lots of  funny moments and no two days are ever the same.