Tamara Hunt, our Maths coordinator and Year 4 teacher, is clearly very at home in the Maths classroom.
I watched her guiding and directing a group of ten Year 4 boys to extend themselves and understand that practice makes perfect, encouraging them to use their times tables to work faster through the grid of sums in front of them and then move to working with decimal numbers in the rest of the lesson. Her easy, comfortable manner belies the challenge she offers those in her charge, supporting them as they think through the questions she asks, find solutions and achieve a high standard of presentation. In the educational world, you hear a lot about kinaesthetic learning. Simply put, this means using physical activities to support learning, rather than sitting at a desk all day and it is a particularly effective tool in teaching boys. Here, Tamara had the whole class up on their feet and then asked one boy to step away. Immediately and simply, the boys could see that 1/10th of the group had gone, visualisation that they were then able to apply to other fractions and, subsequently, decimals. Her mild, medium or spicy curry options offer real levels of challenge for the different mathematicians. No vindaloo was on offer today, but it can be on the menu!
You can see immediately that Mrs Hunt is passionate about engaging her boys in their Maths, keen to make it as interactive and exciting as possible. ‘It’s common sense, but if you allow the boys to play games in Maths, it makes them forget that they are learning at the same time.’ For her, praising them and really noticing their achievements boosts confidence but helps build the steps to maths ability little by little. I certainly saw that in action.
You can tell why Tamara Hunt appeals to the boys. She is warm and funny and loves life. She recalls reading ‘Billionaire Boy’ with her class and they all just giggled and had a hilarious time. As a child, she adored the Blue Peter presenters and wanted to be like them. Teaching is an excellent second best! She is good at Art, speaks Italian and loves travelling around the world. She has so many adventures to share with the children, not least her visit to the exotic and beautiful Phuket where she rode an elephant through the jungle. Cats, though, are her favourite animal. She always had one as a child, and finds them affectionate and clean. (Take note, boys!) She also celebrates the fact that they do not need walking. Perhaps she gets enough exercise in her maths lessons!