Menu
 
 
You must select a category before selecting !
 
 
 
 
You must select a category before selecting !
 
Cayman Parent | Articles | Uncategorised | Q&A: Early Years and Primary School Teachers

Q&A: Early Years and Primary School Teachers


Especially if you are a parent yourself, being a full-time early-school teacher is not an easy endeavour. As a teacher, you are constantly catering to different personalities, likings and behaviours, all with the intent of helping children thrive and be their best academically, whilst also questioning your own parenting techniques. To gain further insights into the trials and tribulations of early-age school teaching, we asked four teachers to break it down for us.


Aristea Underwood

Aristea Underwood previously worked for a charter school in Houston, Texas as a social and emotional teacher before joining Village Montessori in 2018.

How has teaching changed or evolved since you first became a teacher?

I think we place too much emphasis on standardised testing. I feel we need to go back and focus more on social and emotional skills, problem solving skills, letting children play more and experience making mistakes.

Do you have any tips for parents who struggle to get their children to read at home?

Have your child read after breakfast or another time during the day, rather than when they are tired at the end of the day. Most importantly, make it fun!

When did you decide to become a primary school teacher and why?

I decided to become a Montessori teacher in 2000 after working with a 5-year-old boy who was non-verbal and had autism. He attended a Montessori school and I was amazed with the Montessori way of teaching. It makes learning fun and interesting for the child. Everything is connected to the child’s experience and the adult is just there to guide the child along their path. I remember after learning a Montessori maths lesson one day I called my parents to tell them they should have sent me to a Montessori school − I would have understood maths much better!

Who was your favourite teacher as a young child and why?

My third-grade teacher Mrs. Goldapp! She was funny, loving but firm. She treated all her students with respect, let us explain our feelings and pushed us to our best everyday.

What has been your greatest concern for children during the COVID-19 lockdown period?

As adults our brains have found it hard to accept and digest, can you imagine the brain of a child? The trauma experienced by children over the past few months needs to be addressed and dealt with as we begin to go back to school.


Helen Garvey

Helen Garvey is from the UK and has been working with young people and children with special needs for over 20 years. She is currently a Playschool leader and Play Therapist at Chatterbox.

How has teaching changed or evolved since you first became a teacher?

Traditional teaching methods have undergone significant changes. Play has become a more accepted and recognised method of teaching. Play based learning harnesses greater social benefits, which has enabled me to interact more effectively with my students in recent years.

Do you have any tips for parents who struggle to get their children to read at home?

I would recommend being as animated and enthusiastic as possible when reading with your child. Reading regularly, incorporating games and allowing the child to select their own book, are all great ways of encouraging children to read at home.

If you hadn’t become a teacher which other career might you have chosen?

A paediatric nurse or midwife, I think that would have been the only other natural career path for me to take.

Which of your current or previous colleagues do you admire the most and why?

Roz Griffiths here at Chatterbox. She is a very down to earth person with a warm and calm nature which creates a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

Who was your favourite teacher as a young child and why?

Any of my PE teachers. I loved to be active and I was never academically gifted like some other students. Having time to release my energy enabled me to both increase my concentration in class and perform a lot better academically.

What has been your greatest concern for children during the COVID-19 lockdown period?

Children’s mental health was my greatest concern during the lockdown. Boredom, social isolation and lack of outdoor play can all lead to anxiety and, in extreme cases, depression.


Kelcey Huggins

Kelcey Huggins is a teacher and Head of Mathematics. She joined Edna M. Moyle Primary School after graduating from University of Toronto in 2017.

What has been the best moment of your career so far?

I had a student who did not want to attend graduation because she felt that she was not going to receive an award. I encouraged her to come, reminding her that graduation is an important milestone in life and that she deserved to celebrate it. This student received the award for Most Improved in Academics. The smile on her face when she heard her name is engrained in my memory. Moments like this remind me why I became a teacher.

What’s your best technique for grasping everyone’s attention in class?

Planning an exciting activity that students can’t wait to get involved in. I once set up a crime scene in the classroom (caution tape, fingerprints and all!) to make it seem that our laptops had been stolen. This sparked a two-week investigation and activities in all subjects were connected to the crime scene. My students were still talking about it at the end of the year!

What’s your favourite way to relax after a long day in the classroom?

A good book, my hammock and a cup of tea!

Which of your current or previous colleagues do you admire the most and why?

Our previous principal, Ms. Marcia Rennie. She believed in the strength of a team and ensured we all worked together and supported each other. Above all, she put the students in our school first and made every decision to benefit them.

Who was your favourite teacher as a young child and why?

Mrs. Martin in year 3. This was the year of 9/11 and she was not afraid to tackle this tough topic and give us the opportunity to ask questions. She taught me the importance of critical thinking from a young age.


Mary Whyte

Mary Whyte is a Year Group Leader, Head of Behaviour and School Climate and a member of the Senior Management team at Savannah Primary School.

What has been the best moment of your career so far?

When my art club “Art Attack” collaborated with Intertrust to create artwork for their offices. Students created a variety of mixed media pieces and celebrated their work with an art show before they went on display. Wonderful community collaboration!

Do you think there should be more opportunities to teach outdoors in Cayman?

Most definitely! Learning cannot remain confined within the four walls of the classroom or in the same setting each day. The outdoors provides resources for every subject.

Funniest thing a child has said to you at school?

Whilst I was reviewing some rather tricky maths homework, a child stood up in the middle of the class, arms wide open, and declared, “Mrs. Whyte. I’m not going to lie to you. My aunt got all of those questions on my homework wrong!” I simply smiled and thanked him for his honesty!

What is your favourite movie and why?

My favourite movie is the 1996 movie Matilda based on the book by Roald Dahl. To see how she overcame her toxic home environment, supported by a wonderful teacher, Ms. Honey, and always looked on the bright side is a true inspiration to everyone.

What is your favourite music album and why?

It has to be Paint the Sky with Stars by Enya. Her music is both relaxing and inspirational and helps to reset your mind throughout the day.

When did you decide to become a primary school teacher and why?

Having initially trained to be a high school art teacher, when my first daughter was born I realised that I would love the opportunity to teach younger children. I returned to university here in Cayman and trained to be a primary school teacher.


 

 
Share this story:
 

The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. Beachside view

The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman

A breathtaking beachfront luxury hotel. The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman offers 24 two and three bedroom residential suites with equipped kitchens,…

 
 
This site uses cookies.
Configure
 
Read our privacy policy

You can read more about our privacy policy here.