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Deck the School Halls: A Christmas Day in the Life of a Primary Chatteris Tutor

Throwing it back to the festive period, Chatteris’ own Abigail Parslow talks us through a fun filled day in her placement school.

Image by Abigail Parslow

07:50-08:20 | Assembly

School starts at 7:50, usually involving an announcement on the overhead speaker followed by 20 minutes of class work. But today isn’t any old day… today is an assembly day. And the star of today’s assembly? Me!

I’ll be the first to tell you that getting on stage isn’t at the top of my list of ideal Monday morning activities, but when duty calls (and you know you’ll get a big laugh from your students) then I’ll dance on stage happily.

As a Chatteris Tutor in my school, writing a small play with the Native English Teacher to be performed in the monthly English assembly is one of my responsibilities. The December assembly (Christmas themed, naturally) was written by our Native English Teacher and involves both students and the Local Teachers.

After a quick practice it was show-time, and thankfully the embarrassing dancing was worth it for a hall-full of giggles.

08:20-09:50 | Lessons

Following the assembly, it’s time for my first lesson of the day. Being only 30 minutes long, these fly by… especially when they are Christmas themed and being taught to 30 excitable 9 year olds. I was fortunate to be given some flexibility on my Primary 5 lessons, meaning that each class could have a dedicated Christmas lesson the week before the holidays – perfect for getting them into the festive spirit! To start the lesson, the class were split into two groups and given the task of listing as many Christmas words as they could think of, with a small prize for the most creative word. After a quick vocabulary recap, the students got to put their knowledge of festive words into practice by creating their own festive shapes. But there’s a catch! The shapes must be made using the letters of the alphabet. The students then got to present their drawings using the overhead projector, and voted on their top three favourites.

09:50-09:15 | First Recess

Next, it’s time for recess. For the first recess of the day, I’m in the English Corner. This involves a smaller group of children from each class coming in to do a fun activity, helping them to engage with the English language. It’s also a great chance for me to meet students that I don’t usually work with!

We change our English Corner activities monthly and vary them depending on whether the students are lower Primary (from Primary 1 to Primary 3, around the ages of 5 – 8) or upper Primary (from Primary 4 to Primary 6, between the ages of around 9 – 12). This month, the students have been creating their own Christmas cards which they can post to their classmates to be delivered on the last day of term.

When I look back on my own primary school days, sending Christmas cards to and from friends was one of my favourite activities; it always felt a bit magical. It also seemed like a great way to get students talking and writing English, so we were excited to introduce this idea to the English panel.

Instead of limiting it to the few students who visited the English Corner throughout December, we decided to make it an activity that all of the upper forms, from Primary 4 – 6, could get involved with too. We created a few pre-printed Christmas postcards which students could take from the Christmas bulletin board, meaning the older students could write cards to their friends and post them into the mailbox to spread some festive cheer!

09:15-12:45 | Lessons, Second Recess & Prepping Time

Following the second recess, it’s time to prepare for the next festive lesson and sort the Christmas cards into class groups ready for Santa’s delivery during the Christmas party.

The end of the day leaves me with some time to start planning for 2022; considering the bulletin boards, newsletters and recess activities that need to be prepped for the new year. I know that Bingo is always a big hit!

Like Abi, are you keen to provide creative and engaging English learning opportunities for students in Hong Kong? Join us as a Chatteris Tutor.

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