In Canada, the school year starts in September, so the 100th day of school often lands in February. When I was a primary teacher, I loved all the mathematical fun we had counting up to the 100th day. For example, every 10th day, students would search the classroom to see if they could find a small brown paper bag of surprises left by a mysterious superhero (“Superhero Zero”). I can’t remember what we started with – maybe it was 10 stickers? Then 20 plastic spiders, 30 crayons…?
One year, I put 100 elastics in my hair, wore a necklace of 100 safety pins, and brought in 100 balloons for the 100th day of school. I also surprised my students that day with a special guest: we finally met Superhero Zero! I can’t remember what she brought for us, but it was 100 of something that could fit in a small paper bag…maybe it was 100 chocolates for Valentine’s Day? Each student also brought 100 of something – we did a lot of sorting and counting that day!
I’ve recounted (…sorry for the pun) this event in a previous post on Enthusiasm, so I guess you could say I loved teaching mathematics. Don’t get me started about the fun we had with the Power of Ten visual system …I start sounding like a salesperson 🙂
It’s been about 12 years (…!) since I taught in a primary classroom, but my heart and mind have continued in that space – just in a different way. My research and university teaching have allowed me to dig deep into the heart and mind of teaching and learning. And at the end of this month, I will begin teaching a new course in a new initial teacher education program at UNSW – and it’s specifically on primary teaching!
The 10-week course I will be teaching is called “Child Development: Psychological and Social Perspectives.” This will be one of the first courses in our school-based accelerated program that has been developed in partnership with the NSW Department of Education and a group of local primary (elementary) schools. Students will spend 3 full days a week in classrooms (…something I wished I had when I went through my training!) while doing their coursework and then they will also teach during two practicum experiences.
As I look back (…way back) on when I went through my intensive teacher education program at Vancouver Island University, I find myself saying things like:
- I wish I could have learned more about…
- A really useful thing I learned was…
- One thing I always want to remember is…
- I think the most important thing for a primary teacher is…
So I wonder:
What would you say to a group of aspiring primary teachers?
What do you think is important for them to know?
I would love to collect ‘100 things‘ to share with them, so I’ll be asking around for some ideas 🙂
If you have one (or more!) things you’d like me to tell them, please post here (below in the comments) or on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email ( firstname.lastname@example.org ), letter, post-it note, in person…any way that you feel like sharing:
- stories, ideas, advice, encouragement, inspiration
- something you do as a teacher
- research article, helpful book, resource(s)
- something that is/was important for you as a parent of a young student
- something you remember as a young student
- or maybe ask the children in your life what they would like new K-6 teachers to know?
Once I collect 100, I will re-post them here to share with you and my students!
I look forward to hearing your suggestions!
Thanks so much for your help!