Teaching any age level has distinct challenges, but for Sheba Butler, ACG Sunderland Year 1 teacher, it is a balancing act of creating the environment for learning and getting the learning done before the concentration of five-year old children succumbs to tiredness.
“This is the first time these children have been to school, so everything is new. This is something that should not be underestimated in the life of a five-year old. We spend a lot of time creating a routine which makes them feel secure and ready to learn in their new environment,” she said.
Sheba finds the concentration of the children in her class is the best in the morning.
In response to this, she structures their learning day, tackling the tough stuff in the morning. She says that the students find that writing is hard work, so this is a morning activity. Things that are easier, such as reading, happen in the afternoon.
Energy levels run high in this age group and can quickly jump from person-to-person and you have a rowdy class before you know it. Sheba sees this happening and creates mini breaks to let loose this energy with ten minutes of physical activity like dancing. Then it is straight back into it.
“I always try and make the learning within the Cambridge International Examination programme fun for the children. I like to make games out of things, include outside activities and get them in different environments for their learning. It all makes it interesting and engaging for five-year old minds,” Sheba said.
ACG Sunderland Principal, Nathan Villars said, “There are so many characteristics that make great teachers, but that innate love of children and teaching is always at the heart of it. Sheba has no shortage of this!”
Sheba said, “I really enjoy seeing the improvements each child makes, each step they make and milestone they reach shows their hard work with their learning. Everyday is different in the classroom; there are always new challenges. I just love working with the children.”
Coming up in Sheba’s class will be a focus on the ACG Sunderland book week.
There will be different activities happening school wide, such as a visiting author and a book character parade, but in her class, each student will get an opportunity to make their own book.