Nicholas Grimes said his experience in Early Years has made him a better Year 1 teacher…
Nicholas Grimes is a Year 1 teacher and hails from a small village near Wigan, outside Manchester. He has taught mainly in Key Stage 1 in the U.K., and in Hokkaido and Osaka in Japan.
“After I finished my teacher training, I wanted an adventure and to experience working internationally before starting a full-time teaching job in England. So, I applied to teach abroad in Japan immediately after my PGCE. I taught English for two years in Hokkaido, the most northern island in Japan, then moved to Osaka where I worked as a Key Stage 1 teacher in an international school for another two years. I returned to the U.K. for two and a half years; however, after a year at home, I was yearning to return to teaching internationally and began looking for Early Years and Key Stage 1 positions overseas. I always researched the schools before applying, but once I found Bangkok Patana and saw the school, I was immediately interested! The Early Years and Primary School videos particularly drew me in. So, I did a lot of research on Bangkok Patana – read the newsletters and watched all the videos, and the more I read and found out, I thought to myself, ‘I have to work at this school!’ I was so excited by the opportunities I could create for the children because of the school’s facilities, range of support, fantastic resources and the focus on collaboration.”
“Now that I am here, everyone, from leadership, the Year 1 team, to the business support staff have all been so welcoming and supporting – everything is so organised. I have been able to spend extra time with the children and I am really enjoying building good relationships with them. I feel like we will have a good footing to begin with when the campus re-opens. The children have adapted so well to online learning; they’re only Year 1 and have already begun using our new online platform, Seesaw. I am really looking forward to using all the learning resources that we have and am very excited for the variety of learning opportunities we can provide here at Bangkok Patana.”
“In the U.K., I was teaching in Reception (FS2 equivalent), and it was very different from what we are providing here now. I believe that during online learning, it’s important to find a balance between providing a rigorous and engaging curriculum, whilst maintaining appropriate time for independent enquiry and learning through play. In Year 1, we provided some off-screen tasks as well so that the children weren’t at their screens all the time. Through a variety of challenges, I am passionate that we do not lose sight the children’s needs, particularly our responsibility for their mental well-being.”
“I feel like my two years teaching in Early Years changed me as a Key Stage 1 teacher. The practices I learned in those two years and the Professional Development opportunities will stay with me my entire teaching career. I would argue that every single teacher, even in Secondary, would benefit from spending time teaching in Early Years. The way EYFS approaches learning should, I think, be encouraged throughout Key Stage 1/2. For example, learning through play and a focus on the characteristics of effective learning will continue to benefit the children as they move through school. For me, now that I have that pedagogy, experience, and subject knowledge, I can really apply it back into Key Stage 1. Providing meaningful and exciting learning opportunities is now one of my strongest skills that, without Early Years, I wouldn’t have!”
“In my personal interests, I am more of an Arts-oriented person; I love live performances such as theatre, opera, plays, musicals, concerts, as well as going to the cinema, watching movies, and singing karaoke! I love shopping and am looking forward to exploring all the unique and interesting things you can find in Thailand. I also really enjoy exploring different cultures, visiting temples, eating new foods, and experience the “real life” of where I am. One of the things that really drew me to live and work in Asia was the culture and all the different festivals throughout the year. I really enjoyed that in Japan, as well.”
“You may be interested to know that before I became a teacher, I studied costume design at university. I spent some time working in the theatre industry, including the costume department at the Welsh National Opera in Cardiff, and even the Royal Opera House in London! I’m looking forward to getting involved with all the fantastic arts projects there are at Bangkok Patana!”