Teaching with Tara

How long have you been teaching for and what grades or subjects have you taught?

I am currently in my second year of teaching. I finished my education degree at the end of 2015 and was incredibly fortunate to be offered a job at the school where I completed my internship. This is where I have been teaching Year 3 for the past 2 years. I really love this age group, it’s a fantastic age to teach.

Why did you become a teacher?

From as early as I can remember I wanted to be a teacher. I was that child that would set up a classroom in their room and teach their toys.

I was also very fortunate to have many inspiring teachers throughout primary and high school. I remember looking at how big of an impact my teachers had on my life and felt very driven to do the same. I wanted to pursue a career where I could make a positive impact on peoples lives and I think I’ve found just that.

What are 3 things that every teacher should have in their classroom?

· An endless supply of tissues and whiteboard markers. I literally go through them like they are going out of fashion, I have no idea where they all go!
· Zip-lock bags of every shape and size. I am constantly astounded by how much I use these. Whether it’s for storing resources, sending home lost teeth or collecting money. The possibilities are endless!
· An extra independent activity for those times when the phone rings, someone knocks on the door, your dealing with a playground issue or when you just need 10 minutes to collect your thoughts. Fast finishing activities are also great because students will never finish a task at the same time!

What’s the best part about your job?

That moment where something you have been teaching or working on for so long finally clicks. It’s such a wonderful feeling to see the kids face light up when they realise that they finally got it. Sometimes they may forget it by the next day but in that moment it’s pretty special.
I also love when kids take the time to share with me all of their quirky, random stories. The fact that they want to share those things with me makes me feel so grateful to be a small part of their lives.

Tell us about the funniest thing that has happened to you at school.

Oh goodness, there are so many! I could honestly say that not a day goes by where I don’t find myself bursting out laughing whether it is with my class or colleagues.

Your top 3 tips for a beginning teacher

· Ask a million questions, then ask a million more. Teachers are incredibly helpful and giving people, we are more than willing to help you. Nobody wants to see you fail so don’t be afraid to ask for help.
· Look after yourself! This is so important and something I still haven’t quite mastered. I have never experienced tired like first year teacher tired. I remember I was falling asleep anywhere I could get comfortable. Take time for yourself, don’t push yourself too hard. There’s no point in staying up all night making a resource or planning when you are far too exhausted to teach the next day. I would do this when I was on prac which was maintainable for a short period of time but when you are teaching full time, trust me you cannot survive like that!
· Enjoy the small victories, no matter how small they are. Some days will be amazing and some days will push you to breaking point. Remember that you are doing the best you can, no-one expects you to be the perfect teacher.

What does your teacher wardrobe consist of?

An abundance of maxi and midi skirts, culottes, blouses and funky earrings! As I work in Queensland I also wear a lot of linen and cotton to keep cool. I try to have a variety of clothes that I can mix and match. I’m either in super bright patterns or very neutral colours which I pair with statement earrings.

What is the one item that every teacher must have in their wardrobe?

Comfortable shoes are a must, especially a pair that will go with most outfits. We are on our feet all day and there is nothing worse than having sore feet.

Have you ever had a teaching fashion faux pas?

I once wore a poncho to work and a student asked my on earth I was wearing a blanket to school… I never wore it again.

If you weren’t a teacher you would be a

Musician. Leaving high school, my second choice was to study music as I am a flute player. Who knows, I may explore teaching music later in my career.

Follow Tara on her teaching Instagram page MissMcDonaldhadaclass.

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