Laughter really is the best medicine ... (for) creating a positive learning environment
HELENE KOMOLL AND KARYN BYLES Current role: Greenwith Primary School foundation classroom teachers sharing one class. Number of years teaching: Helene, 36 years, and Karyn, 19 years. What is something you do at the start of the school year so kids feel good about starting school? Ensuring the students feel excited and positive about starting school is essential to a smooth transition. We spend the first two weeks introducing routines and expectations of the classroom so children feel confident and comfortable. We set up aspects of the classroom to make students feel welcome and special e.g. labels of their names in various places, photos of the children and their families, etc. What’s special about teaching young children? An opportunity to widen and motivate student’s curiosity towards learning is a privilege and as educators, we play a key role in supporting young children’s emerging social and co-operative potential. How do you split the role? Helene works three days and Karyn two days a week ... we have similar values, beliefs, approaches and teaching methodologies. We both take English and Mathematics and then alternate between other subject areas. Job sharing offers an opportunity to work, keep up to date with changes and also allows time for our families. Job sharing also benefits students by allowing the individual strengths of both teachers to be used. We are not only career partners but have become close friends. What advice would you give to teachers wanting to job share? We believe working to each others’ strengths while at the same time providing consistent expectations for the students is paramount. Describe a funny teaching experience. The innocence and unpredictable nature of young children ensures laughter really is the best medicine when it comes to creating a positive learning environment. It is what we love about teaching early years! What if anything do you remember about your own Reception teacher? We both stated that our Reception teacher had the qualities we strive to be: warm, friendly, caring and kind, hard working and above all be passionate about your job.