Men in Early Years

My name is Andrew Penning and I have been a class teacher for three and a half years. Previous to this I worked a little bit in London before deciding to take the big step into teaching. I enjoyed a gap year in Sri Lanka for twelve months working in a little school in the middle of an isolated mountain regain. I have a three year old daughter who I love spending time with, going down the park and helping her to ride her bike.

Last academic year I remember coming to the end of term 5 with my year one class, saying to my TA that I was looking forward to another year in KS1. Little did I know at the time that I had been given a career changing opportunity that I hadn’t seen coming. I distinctly recollect being sat down in the Head’s office and told that I was good working with the younger ones, (so in my head I was thinking year one) had a good calm manner and that in the interests of the children I was going to be put into Reception on a year’s trial basis. My first reaction was shock… then surprise… then excitement… then confusion… and then a vague fuzz of all these emotions at once. All I thought of Reception at that time was that they just played and what a big waste of time it was. Wow, how that has changed!

Having spent the last year there now I can’t imagine doing anything else. The most rewarding thing is how successful it has been. My first worry was that I was going to have some negative comments from parents, however, apart from the initial wonder and astonishment of seeing a male teacher so low down in the school it was a great, comfortable start. Throughout the year I have had many fantastic experiences. I have built such positive relationships with parents and children and enjoyed thinking a lot about the classroom environment to reflect their interests. I have been on a dinosaur egg hunt, driven rockets into space, learnt songs I hadn’t sung since my early school days, had a worm digging competition, played hide and seek it (my classes idea) and had seaside role play with goggles, swimming hats and beach balls included. I challenge everyone to have a go at doing it at least once during their teaching career. This includes any male teachers that find themselves at the top end of the school, wondering what they would like to do next.

Andrew Penning is a Reception Class Teacher





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