Why Helicopter Parents need to come back down to Earth

The phrase ‘Helicopter Parent’ gained some traction in American education in the early 2000s, the meaning behind the phrase being that a parent or parents pay far too much attention to a child’s development, progress, experiences and problems in their young life. This is particularly strong when looking at a child’s performance in the educational system and it can put unnecessary stress on both the child and their educators in order to achieve the ‘results desired’ by the parents themselves.

Don’t Be Suffocating

It is important to demonstrate an interest in your child’s education and how and why they learn things. However, getting hung up on whether or not they are above or below the recommended reading age, whether they should be having difficulties with spelling, whether they are performing in sports activities as they should, can cause a strained relationship between the parents and the child and can even have a negative effect on the child’s education.

Learning to Take the Initiative

If everything is handed to you on a plate in life, you don’t get a full comprehension of how working hard feels. You can become narrow minded and easily frustrated when presented with barriers. Some ‘helicopter parents’ run the risk of creating children who don’t know how to think outside the box. By stepping back and letting them try to handle problems on their own, you give them space to breathe and space to grow in their own way.


Focus on Ocean Literacy in Coastal Schools

It is a well-known fact that you should use the resources given to you. As such, teachers and teaching assistants in history-rich locations (London, Dover etc) will often use the history of their town or city to back up or reinforce relevant lessons. This is something that needs to be better utilised when looking at the marine environment and in coastal schools such as in Plymouth and the surrounding areas.

Where education and preservation are concerned, it is important for coastal schools to place a greater importance on ocean literacy. The rich ocean environment has often resulted in an increase in tourism over the years, as well as getting more young people engaged in sports such as diving, kayaking, surfing and angling.

Focusing on the Environment

Tdownloadeachers need to be able to use these essential resources in order to focus on the marine environment surrounding their schools and to help the conservation of that environment.

Children are naturally curious, but if they are not given the means with which to learn they may never take steps in learning about something that would otherwise be of great interest to them.

The maritime and marine industries offer a wide range of different careers for children to get involved in, so making the most use out of these industries will not only help children to find a career path, but may also help to inspire them to try other, less well-known careers. It will also help to highlight the importance of marine conservation to the next generation, so that they take active steps to help create a mutually beneficial marine environment for all to enjoy.

Teacher Hacks – Top Tips and Tricks

Everyone needs a hand every now and then. To keep teachers and support staff up to date with the latest hints and tips on teaching, we’ve listed a few of our favourite ‘hacks’ that will help you in the classroom.

  1. Keep it Down

There are noise recognising apps you can install on your phone which sound an alarm when the decibel level goes over a certain amount. If your kids can get excited on occasion, this is a good way of reminding them to keep quiet during lessons.

  1. Prevent Early Finishers from Becoming Class Clowns

Having an ‘I’m Done!’ cup full of extra tasks for early finishers will prevent them from getting bored and trying to distract their classmates. Simple tasks like ‘practice your spellings’ or ‘read a poem from the poems book’ will keep their minds occupied.

  1. Hand Signals Help to Prevent Disruptions

SONY DSCSometimes your kids need a drink, or will want to use the toilet. Creating a series of hand signals designed to prevent disruption will help keep the peace during quiet time. They don’t have to be seriously complicated, but they need to be clear. If you want, you could even incorporate a bit of sign language into your hand signals to keep the learning going.

  1. Home-Made Homework Tray

If you need a quick fix homework tray, try using a simple foil baking tray decorated with some coloured paper. It works and it shows your pupils the power of recycling!

  1. Pencil Dispenser for the Disorganised

Some kids will never remember to bring a pencil. An old straw dispenser will double up as a pencil dispenser for when your pupils forget to bring their stationary. If you want to keep tabs on the number of pencils you have loaned out, attach a coloured strip to the base of each pencil.

Tips for new ESL Teachers

Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL Teachers) can be a tough road to take, but it is incredibly rewarding in the end. We’ve put together a few top tips for keeping yourself and your pupils on track!

Slow and Steady

In some sessions, less is more. Don’t try to cram too many lessons into one session. What you will most likely end up doing is frustrating yourself and confusing your students. Most concepts need to be easy for students, particularly young students, to digest. Break the information up into more manageable pieces instead of trying to get ahead of yourself.

Remember to Take a Back Seat

It can be tempting for you to hover at the sides of your students to make sure they are following all your instructions, but this can be stifling. Sometimes it is a good idea to step back and let them make their own path. They might make mistakes but these can be rectified and built upon. Remember that it is not in the end result, but in the journey that you learn the most.

Nobody is Perfect

badge-1093968_960_720As in any classroom, you as the teacher are bound to get some things wrong. What is important is that you learn from your mistakes, bank them in your mind and move on from them. Don’t pore over them for hours on end, trying to figure out what you did wrong and why. Learn from them going forwards.

It isn’t always easy, whether you’re an ESL Teacher, a Teaching Assistant or a Substitute Teacher, so it is important not to get too caught up in things. Sometimes you need to take a step back and re-think. It will not do you or your students any favours to barrel in and try to solve all problems at once. Give it time!

Breakfast – A Crucial Meal Not to be Skipped!

A recent study carried out by Cardiff University of 5,000 9-11 year-olds has shown a positive correlation between eating breakfast and academic performance. It was revealed that Primary School children who ate breakfast before or at the start of the school day were twice as likely to score highly in tests and assessments in comparison to those learning on an empty stomach at the start of the day.

The Most Important Meal

y breakfastIt comes as no surprise that Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but this is the first time that a study has proved a correlation between eating breakfast and scoring highly in tests. By eating breakfast, these children managed to kick-start their days with more focus, better concentration and a higher eagerness to learn.

Not Just When You Eat

There have also been findings on the scores achieved by children eating healthy breakfasts, versus children who simply eat junk food or fast food for breakfast. Children eating a balanced meal for breakfast scored higher on tests than children who have eaten junk food, with there being no discernible difference in test scores between children who ate junk food breakfasts and children who didn’t eat breakfast at all. So in fact, it is not simply when you eat it, but what you choose to eat that is also important when it comes to learning.

Helping Introverted Children Learn Without Pressure

When it comes to introverted and extroverted children, both cases can cause some difficulties for supply teachers in the classroom. However the difference between the two is fairly obvious, and it is so far a fair bit easier to tell whether or not the extroverted child is happy or sad. With an introverted child, you may feel like you’re left guessing.

What is important is that children feel comfortable to learn in their own way, yet can still challenge themselves. You need to be able to get this balance in a classroom filled with both introverts and extroverts!

Give them their space

introvertIntroverted children will often work quietly on their own or in smaller groups with no trouble at all. If an introverted child isn’t taking part in class discussions, it is not often because they are unhappy, but simply that they do not feel they have anything relevant to add. Try not to urge them to answer questions, but praise them when they do in order to give them that confidence to speak up without being pressured.

Group work is still important

While introverted children may feel they work better on their own, encouraging group work is still important and should be encouraged. Team skills and working in a team is important for much later on in life, so it is essential that you cultivate these skills from a younger age. Start off by working in smaller groups and then work up to larger group projects. Your introverted child will soon be off to a flying start!

Keep the Culture!


Teachers and teaching assistants are being placed under an increasing amount of pressure to teach children everything they need to know. The pressure is really on to help them become high functioning and successful adults later in life. However with long hours, large classes and a shortage of both teachers and funding in many cases, it is getting harder and harder for teachers to be able to fulfil this promise to parents.

Culture is extremely important in education; however it can often be cut in favour of more ‘practical subjects ‘such as maths and science. It is crucial to be able to have a healthy balance of all sorts of subjects throughout every child’s education in order to give them enough choice to develop their own skills and interests. A balanced education is also important as it allows children to relax into less ‘stressful’ subjects, or to find their own path as well as learning about the past and gaining important communication skills.

It is for this reason that culture should remain a primary function for many schools. Allowing students time to create their own cultural art pieces, be it a sculpture, a story, a piece of music or something as small as a ‘what they did over the summer’, is a crucial aspect of giving children as much of a chance as they can of having a well-rounded future.

Mixing up the Classroom Seating

Seating arrangements are a great way to encourage quick order in your class, however it can get boring sitting the same pupils next to each other week in and week out and your class will more than likely have a few troublemakers that like to stir things up. So what can be done?
download-300x160Why not try this simple exercise? Give each child a piece of paper to write on and ask them to write down the names of four children they would like to sit with the following week as well as a student that they feel has been a good Samaritan that week. You can get them to write the papers anonymously or you can ask them to write their names on the top.
hold-hands-300x292What this does, aside from giving your pupils a position to strive towards – Good Samaritan – is it will highlight children in your class that may be having difficulties making friends. It will show who was popular last week and who may not be so popular this week. It may even help to highlight those students which may be bullied, or those that are struggling with their class work.

After all, a cry for help is not always done in the form of a literal, verbal cry for help, and reading between the lines with exercises such as this is a great way to see, even as a supply teacher how your pupils are really doing when it comes to building friendships and relationships which are going to be essential life skills as they grow older.

Pupils to become Teachers of the Future

As Teachers we have a lot of responsibility on our shoulders to help encourage and teach the next generation about the history and society of our world. By allowing students to express their creativity in a controlled and encouraging environment, we help children to develop key social skills, literacy, numeracy and cognitive thinking that will help them to grow and become working, fully fledged members of society. This includes helping to teach the next generation of primary teachers.
primary-tweacher-pupil-300x192Some government officials are stating that children should be scouted as young as the primary level in order to help prepare them for a future in teaching. This is thought to help combat the predicted teacher shortage that has taken effect over the past few years and may get worse as time goes by.
Chief executive of the National College for Teaching and Leadership Charlie Taylor has said that schools should encourage children to start aspiring to become teachers before they enter their teens, in order to ensure that they get the very best teaching opportunities as they grow. Examples include working part time as a ‘Classroom Assistant’ to get a sense of how it feels to be a teacher.
However although this may be a good-intentioned scheme to encourage children to consider teaching as a valid career choice, it is important to take into account each child’s individual preferences. After all, we are here to help children become who they really want to be, not to mould them into what is needed at the time.

Teaching Primary Children Code

As primary support teachers, we endeavour to teach our pupils a range of subjects designed to help give them a general understanding of the world we live in, while helping them to develop their own strengths and give them positive encouragement to continue to learn. Essential subjects include Maths, History and Languages, however Computer Science has taken a back seat in primary learning and it is becoming more important than ever that this is changed in our classes.

code-300x23215 years ago we were on the cusp of a technological revolution.

Information Technology started to creep into our everyday lives and although we as adults began to learn and incorporate IT into our daily routine, it has only garnered interest from younger children in the past few years, with the rise of mobile technology.

In order to ensure the future success of the technological age it is important that we teach young children Computer Science as soon as possible, as it opens up countless new job opportunities when you are Computer literate.

Plus, within Computer Science you will also gain a broader understanding of a number of other subjects including Literacy, Numeracy and the ability to express ourselves creatively.

Children are fast learners and are ready to absorb everything that comes their way. Why not introduce them into a world full of new opportunities with a comprehensive Computer Science course, even if it is just for one hour a week?