Michael Dunn is an Australian trained primary teacher who left Brisbane life for London town. Here is an honest rendition from Michael on what it’s like teaching 10,262 miles from home.

Preparing for lessons

It’s very rare that you’ll arrive at a school to find that no work has been left for you, but if it does happen, be prepared! Here are some tips for preparing emergency lessons for various year groups.

Have an online resource set up to include maths and literacy activities. One great site to gather resources is Symbaloo. Set up an account and bookmark useful YouTube videos and websites.

For numeracy, you could refer to something like Khan Academy to explain mathematical processes, or alternatively the National Library of Virtual Manipulatives.

For literacy, World of Tales is great for narratives and folktales that you could unpack with any year group. You could also take an online reading of a picture book from YouTube.

Exercises you could do with a picture book:

  • Retell the story using simple sequencing
  • Conduct a character analysis
  • Present an argument for a specific character
  • Change an element of the story
  • Transform the story into a different form such as a play or short film.

Think about the language features you could look at, e.g. sequencing, words/time connectives, exaggeration, and descriptive words.

Always come equipped with some educational games up your sleeve. These come in handy when you walk through the classroom door in need of time in order to do some last-minute planning. Games can be as simple as word exercises (e.g. take the word ‘championship’ and see how many words you can create by swapping the letters around), or card games (e.g. use the numbers on the board to make the highest and lowest number).

Be able to switch on a dime. The curriculum is similar across the board, but there are some differences as well so be adaptable. When covering other classes throughout the day, make sure to ask the permanent teacher what they want you to cover with the students and the way in which things should be done.

As you get more supply work under your belt, you will find most schools are doing similar topics and activities. Continue to gather ideas and resources wherever you go because schools are receptive to initiative and fresh ideas for improving lessons.

Useful links for Early Years:

Interactive Maths Games & Activities

Free Primary Teaching Resources

Numeracy videos on YouTube:
– Counting by twos
 – Counting down from twenty

Twinkl Educational Publishing

Playing with Words & Numbers

Stay tuned for Part Five, in which Michael will talk about the ins and outs of living in London, and mastering the city’s epic public transport system…