Articles Education Primary Through My Eyes

3rd January – and it’s back to work… A G AIN!


“A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination and instil a love of learning.” Brad Henry

Although I do not start back at school officially until Monday 6th, today has been my first day back doing private tuition and it was a great day!

I set up Blossom Tuition in summer 2018 and I absolutely love offering private tuition. That 1:1 time with the children, seeing their faces light up when they suddenly grasp a concept they have struggled with for so long, is precious. Seeing their confidence increase is heart-warming. Knowing that I am able to make a difference and infuse a love of learning is powerful. It isn’t always easy, but it is always worth it.

Today, I worked on Key Stage One maths – one of my favourite lessons to teach! I was always good at maths when I was in primary and secondary school. However, I didn’t enjoy it at all nor did I understand the reason why certain written methods worked. In fact, it wasn’t until I started my PGCE year that I learnt why you add the zero in the second column when doing two-digit (or larger) by two-digit written multiplication! Teacher training really opened my eyes to how enjoyable maths lessons could be – for both the pupils and the teacher. It also made it obvious to me, taking my own experiences into account, that children needed to understand the why behind the how. 

In fact, when I did one of my Master’s qualifications, I focused on contextualised maths lessons and the impact these had on pupils in Year 4 at a former school. With one of my classes, I sat down with the things we were going to learn and we planned how each aspect could be taught through the theme of pirates. Times tables, for example, were practised at the end of the unit by walking the ‘plank’ (a bench in the hall) and giving the correct answer otherwise a shark could attack! Giving the children ownership of their own lessons in that way really had a positive impact. They absolutely adored the maths for that two-week period and their progress was huge. 

Because of my own experiences of maths lessons at school, I have always attempted to teach the subject in a fun, but thorough way. I don’t achieve that every single time. Sometimes, it is imperative to just get through the subject matter and practising written calculations can’t always be enjoyable. However, I do try whenever possible. 

Some mathematics tuition lesson highlights include:

  • Baking a cake – yummy! (I sent it home with the student though!)
  • Forming numbers correctly in gloop and also using a cotton bud and paint inside a zip lock bag.
  • Harry Potter word problems.
  • Division with My Little Pony figurines.
  • Using dice for probability and data handling (statistics).
  • Painting spots on ladybirds for doubling numbers.

Making lessons as practical and memorable as possible can really help children to remember their learning. Asking the pupils to become the teacher can help too as being able to explain how they can solve a calculation or word problem is a vital skill. 

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