A Day in the Life of a Primary CNET

Wondering what an average day on Chatteris' Primary programme looks like? Wonder no longer, as one of our own Chatteris CNETs is on hand to guide us through a fast-moving day in the life of a Primary CNET!

My day begins at 7:45am when I arrive at school and make an immediate beeline for the staffroom coffee machine. My first lesson doesn’t start until 8:15 so there’s time to prepare resources for morning lessons and discuss the day ahead with other CNETs (Chatteris Native English Teachers) and the local English teachers.

First up is an hour with Pr. 4 students. Today’s lesson centers around the TV show ‘The Great British Bake Off’ and at first the topic is met with universal scorn; baking, the 10 year olds naively believe, is lame. However, after watching a few clips of the show, the students are hooked faster than you can say Victoria sponge cake and are begging for the link so they can watch episodes at home. Even better, the class is inspired to design their own cakes for our bake off competition next lesson and produce some amazing work.

I have 30 minutes before my next lesson meaning that there’s time to go to my desk and justify having a second coffee before 10am. Our working day runs from 7.45am – 3.30pm and I spend around a third of that time in lessons. However, the remainder of the day is quickly swallowed up by lesson planning, marking and meetings or by popping around the school to encourage students to speak English during extra-curricular activities.

Next is a lesson is with a Pr. 1 class and it goes without saying that, at six years old, these students are exceptionally cute. Upon entering the class, it takes a good few minutes to settle the students as they clamour to share every detail of their life with you. Whether it’s their Disneyland trip or the news that it’s their dad’s cousin’s friend’s birthday next week, I react with the same feigned delight whilst desperately trying to load the PowerPoint. We are learning phonic sounds and have lots of fun practicing tongue twisters, thinking of silly sentences and singing songs.

Lunchtime brings a welcome break with the other CNETs. There are eight of us at the school so we have plenty of tales of ridiculous or wonderful moments from our morning classes to share. One of the best parts of the day is the chance to go to the English room, a place where students can come during recess for activities from crafting to storytelling to games. Today we’re playing bingo with some unconventional calls (‘English is great, 28!’).

After two lessons in the afternoon, the 3pm bell rings meaning home time for students but the day is certainly not over for the CNETs. We are rehearsing for a play that will be performed in a whole school assembly and I am playing the minor, yet essential, role of a talking foot. Feeling foolish becomes a fleeting sensation when you’re a primary CNET, and whilst I’m directed in a particularly abstract scene along with a talking hand, I think of my friends in high flying corporate jobs back in London. They’ll probably never have the chance to play a talking foot and I can’t help but think that’s an awful shame.

Being a primary CNET is by no means a breeze, yet no two days are the same and the moments of hilarity and genuine joy make it all worth it.


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