Year 3 Wrangler-In-Chief

Primary vs Secondary

Following on from @michaelt1979’s post asking where all the Primary bloggers are, I was very entertained to read Truthful Classroom’s blogpost discussing some of the reasons primary teachers maybe don’t blog as much, and also giving some suggested topics. I particularly enjoyed the suggestion of “where the fuck do all the children stash the red felt tip pens? Is this a national issue? If so, how ought we intervene?”, although I would be minded to add:

  • Why the hell do the red felt tip pens run out so quickly?
  • Why do I either have 5 red pens and no black when it comes time to do the register, or vice versa?
  • How exactly do 7 year olds get through so many glue sticks?

In all seriousness, though, I do think that Primary teachers necessarily have a narrower focus than Secondary teachers, as I’ve discussed on Twitter with a few people.  Or perhaps, that Secondary teachers have a wider range of experience week in, week out. In a typical week, a Secondary teacher might be teaching new Year 7s, a GCSE class, A and AS Level, and everything in between, and interacting with perhaps 50 or 100 colleagues. Whereas I see the same 30 children for 6 hours a day, and interact with maybe 20 colleagues. My concerns (red felt tip pens aside) are therefore bound to be different. Yes, I’m concerned with policy and the latest nonsense spewing forth from whatever orifice Michael Gove is speaking with this week, but if I’m honest, I’m only really concerned with it in as far as it affects those 30 children in front of me every day.

The one with Aspergers, who has bags of potential, but needs more support than we can give him. The newly arrived EAL kid, whose clowning around is really wearing thin. My merry band of SEN, probably working at least a year behind their peers, and just starting to be really aware of this fact. These 30 kids who delight and infuriate me in equal measure some days, but who ultimately I want the best for. I want to get them through Year 3 knowing more than just what a fronted adverbial is. (Need to work that out myself first…) I want them to learn respect for each other, to be able to deal with the challenges life is starting to throw their way, and to consider that there might just be a better response to frustration than lashing out at someone.

Don’t get me wrong, Michael Tidd’s questions are great, and I intend to address some of them here. (I’m gearing up for an epic rant about free meals for Infants). But there is so, so much more to Primary teaching. That’s why I love it.


Comments on: "Primary vs Secondary" (7)

  1. I do think that you’re absolutely right: the relationship primary teachers have with their classes can actually be exceptionally powerful, and so it is inevitable that we focus on that more than is done at Secondary.
    I’ll look forward to your tackling another of the issues 🙂

  2. I second Michael on this!
    It’s great to see a proliferation of activity!

  3. Karl Bentley said:

    Ha! How could I forget about the glue sticks? A bit like not having enough left handed scissors, or too many.
    Wasn’t sure about the ‘narrow’ bit, maybe more holistic?

  4. […] dialogue’. Where secondary and tertiary teachers are able to talk policies and such, as MissHorsfall acknowledges, we primary teachers are better suited to topics such as:-Why the hell do the red […]

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