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TAMARA Goddard thinks the best thing about teaching Year 6 children is seeing the real progress they’ve made in their primary school journey.
The Year 6 teacher enjoys working with 10 and 11-year-olds at Cornerstone C of E Primary School in Whiteley, because they’re mature enough to enjoy genuine discussion.
“The best thing is to see the journey they’ve made at primary school, and to see the progress they’ve made, especially in Year 2 to 6,” she said. “I also enjoy their enthusiasm – you can have real relationships with them, and some banter.”
Tamara was a dancer growing up, and originally wanted to be a dance teacher. She took an English degree and became an ambassador for her university in Southampton, which meant supporting school groups that visited. At one event where she was lecturing A-level students, the teacher leading that group suggested she should think about teaching as a career.
She did some work experience in Sarisbury C of E Junior School, then took her postgraduate teaching qualification in Winchester. That involved a placement at Cornerstone C of E Primary – which was then in a temporary building in Whiteley – which led onto a permanent job. She now leads on maths and on Years 5 and 6 in the school, which has moved to a new, purpose-built building in Bluebell Way.
“I think I’ve always been quite natural at teaching through my dancing,” she said. “My mum was a dance teacher. One of the things I enjoy is Dance Live, where we rehearse and then perform a creative piece in a competition with other schools.
“I like the community feel of being at a church school, especially here, where most pupils live nearby and many families have moved here fairly recently. It has a unique family feeling, and I still see former pupils around regularly.
“It’s also good to have the church in the building, and the Christian values do permeate everything we do. Philippa, the vicar, and Amy, the pioneer, have led worship each Thursday.”
For anyone considering a career in teaching, Tamara suggests taking every opportunity that you can to engage with children and test how easy you find it to build relationships with them.
“See how they work, and what their favourite things are, and then turn that into learning,” she said. “There’s nothing better than a group of kids getting something for the first time. You see something ‘ping’ in their heads. I love it.
“If you’re worried, just remember that you only need to stay one step ahead of them – you can research the next lesson after you’ve taught this one.”