DAY ONE: Teacher Ella Rathmell is looking forward to getting to know her pupils this year.
DAY ONE: Teacher Ella Rathmell is looking forward to getting to know her pupils this year. Julia Bartrim

First day jitters for teacher and students

"I THINK they are probably just as scared as I am," Ella Rathmell laughed.

Yesterday was her first day as a prep teacher at Gladstone West State School and for her four- to five-year-old pupils it was their first taste of school.

"It's all first-day jitters," she said.

"A lot of kids are really excited to go to prep and then they get there the first day and it's all new and they love it but there's still that sense of apprehension a little bit.

"It's the same with me as well, I'm so excited but also scared."

Ella studied teaching at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane but wanted to find work in a regional community because she felt she would find a stronger sense of community.

"It's definitely a change," she said of her move to Gladstone.

"But I grew up in a small country town as well, it's like coming back to my roots."

Ella worked as a kindy teacher while completing her uni degree.

"If I hadn't had that background I would have been through the roof so scared," she laughed.

During her uni degree Ella taught pupils in the upper years of primary school as part of her placement.

But "as soon as I did my first prac in prep that's all I wanted to do," she said.

"I love the little ones."

Ella was assigned 21 pupils in her class, which is one of four prep classes at the school.

"I've got a really beautiful class so far, I guess we'll see how they go," she said.

"I've been told they get tired towards the end of the week and you'll find one of them asleep in the reading corner.

"They are really the babies of the school and you are teaching them everything from the start.

"Some don't know how to use scissors, so you're teaching them how to use scissors, how to use glue..."

Ella said teaching the children reading, maths and English was important but equally she wanted to teach them about routine and help them to develop their social skills.

"Kids are so innocent so if you teach them in a certain way, that's something they then carry on into the future," she said.

"Kids teach me so much about myself that I didn't even know."



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