My 'quick read' blogs...
Sometimes it is not possible - or appropriate - to write briefly about a topic. Indeed many of the aspects of pedagogy that we need to explore are complex and multi-faceted.
Occasionally though I will post a 'quick-read' blog! These may be in the form of a summary or a set of top tips - and can highlight topics you may want to spend longer evaluating at a later date.
Good for busy teachers!
This quick-read looks at How to keep on top of:
How to keep on top of this term
1. Give yourself some clear routines (both in and out of the classroom). It is important for the students to know what to expect when they come into your classroom. For example do you expect them to get out their equipment and put it onto the desk as soon as they arrive, so they are ready to learn?
Similarly, you should have your own routines - for example, do you arrive 30 minutes early to school so you can set up your classroom in advance of the students arriving?
2. Know the students’ names. By this stage you should know most of the names of students in your class. This helps to develop a good working atmosphere in the room and makes life much easier!
3. Praise and acknowledgement go a long way. Try not to find yourself constantly telling students off for some misdemeanour or other. Remember those who are waiting patiently to learn, and those who are always attentive and willing. Let them know you have seen how hard they are working!
4. Maintain your expectations. Once you have shared these with the students, keep a robust stance. Don't give in because it may seem easier at this stage. In the long term, it will make things much harder to get back!
5. Keep asking questions - your mentor and head of department are the experts, and can advise you on most things!
How to keep on top of lesson planning
Ask yourself 3 questions:
1. Define clear learning outcomes – and share them with the students
2. Share your success criteria – what do they have to do to achieve?
3. How will you know what they’ve learnt? Have some good AfL strategies in place.
4. Keep a learning 'menu' of tasks next to you, so you can refer to it during the lesson, and make sure you cover everything you had planned.
5. Keep time at the end to check their learning - a good plenary helps to embed their learning
How to keep on top of behaviour
1. Plan for positive behaviour for learning.
2. Have clearly defined expectations – and follow up on sanctions where necessary.
3. Stick to your guns – if they are not behaving as you expect, do something about it.
4. Ask for help from your mentor and head of department when needed!
5. Always acknowledge good behaviour. I know that this is what is expected, but we all like someone to tell us we are doing it right!
How to keep on top of managing your time
1. Keep lists – plan horizontally where possible
2. Start a diary if you do not already have one!
3. Put in all the meetings and deadlines (such as reports and exams) across the year - don’t let anything be a surprise
4. Keep notes every time you are given a task – put it in your diary/on your list
5. Plan catch-up times – once a week set aside an hour for catching up on your lists and re-writing where needed
How to keep on top of your work-life balance
1. Learn to say no.
2. Structure your time carefully - use your diary!
3. Choose one day of the week / weekend which is for you. This could be time spent watching TV, or being with your partner or friends – but keep it clear of other things.
4. Be honest with yourself – if you are struggling to keep up, then be prepared to miss out on an evening out if you have to. It does happen unfortunately!
5. Eat and sleep properly! Don’t allow your new work behaviours take over from common sense!
Coming up... Do you dream of calmer, more structured days? All you need are routines.
The next blog posts are all about how routines for you and routines for your students will lead to a calmer time all round!
Dr Sharon Williams