Of course I have four children that I home educate but I wanted to tell you about the time I actually really had just four children in my class at School. It was during my time at the second School I taught at which was a small independent School. I had come from an oversubscribed state School and was used to class sizes of 30 children. This particular independent School took a maximum of 15 children in each year group and since I taught Reception the intake was split with the older children joining in the September and the younger children ( summer babies) joining in the January. The split was usually about 50/50 but this particular year group had a really high proportion of Summer babies and therefore I had just 4 children joining for the first term.
I realised fairly quickly that I was going to need to make some adjustments to my planning since we were flying through the material at such speed. I was able to work with each child individually during each lesson, clear up any misunderstandings quickly and consolidate and extend their learning on an individual basis. Suprisingly it was almost more tiring just having the four children as it was so intense and I had to factor in plenty of downtime for the children. I can’t emphasise enough how valuable it was having the chance to talk to each child and with such small numbers we could deal with questions as they came up rather than finding impromptu questions disruptive.
The dynamics of the small group worked differently too. ‘Teacherly’ ways seemed harsher with such a small group and were rarely required anyway. It was wonderful to have the time to chat with all the parents each morning and afternoon too and I felt I had a much deeper understanding of what made each child ‘tick’ and how I could further facilitate their learning. It was a real teaching high for me and an experience that gave me the confidence to withdraw my own child from School to home educate some time later.
Monkey Mum has drawn upon her experience of teaching to illustrate the time that gets lost throughout the School day. It’s interesting to see it documented so clearly.