My favourite level of teaching – An answer for AA who asked

Dear AA,

They're initials I've often seen when visiting some of my favourite blogs. I think our goal is the same, to encourage children to see how talented they are in what they share. 🙂

What level of teaching was my favourite?

When I was studying for my science degree at university, I knew I could end up teaching maths and science at high school. My problem was, I had very many interests (and still do) so being restricted to the two subjects wasn’t attractive. I wanted to specialise in primary school (5 to 12 year old). This would allow me into art, craft, history, music, literature and writing.

To supplement my income in early years as a student and casual teacher, I tutored children from general primary up to Year 12 high school maths out of school hours.

The couple Year 12 students were outstanding and could challenge me when there were more difficult problems to consider. In one case, I can remember saying I would call back after I thought about the solution. After the ten minute drive home, I called back with an answer.

My first longer stay on a class as a casual teacher was six months working with Kindergarten (Prep or Reception). They were aged only four and a half to five and were absolutely wonderful to work with. I remember parents were often amused by a 185cm (6'1") 25 year old male skipping and dancing with the class. 🙂

Apparently I made an impression on the school principal as she asked if I was interested in a position in the government pre-school section of the school working with three and four year old children. While tempting, government pre-schools weren’t that common so I would have been greatly restricting my future options so I passed on the offer.

This was followed with time on a Year 4 while still a casual teacher. Student teachers seeing me with the children gave me the nickname, “Teddy Bear”. When the class learned I was offered a permanent teaching position in a one teacher school in far western New South Wales, a number wanted to go with me. 🙂

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

The photo was taken from an old VHS tape I made of my first school. All children were in the one room and I was the only teacher. It was 100km (62 miles) from the nearest town and served sheep and cattle properties.In that isolated school for the two years, I had children from five to thirteen. The thirteen year old girl was studying correspondence high school and would bring in materials to the school.

These years were followed on Years 3, 4 and 5 in different schools. These tend to be my favoured levels because of many happy memories. I enjoyed all of my classes over the years and treasure the memories. A number of former students are now Facebook friends so I see photos of their own children and still feel a part of their lives. Some have commented their entry into teaching or the IT industry was influenced by their experiences in my class. One told me he didn’t know how he might have turned out had I not been there when he needed someone to trust. These are special memories.

I still wouldn’t choose high school. Apart from too many years away from that level of maths and science, I still love too many different subjects to be a two subject teacher. 🙂

@RossMannell

Teacher, NSW, Australia

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