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Surviving the first term ...


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#16 Carole Faithorn

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 12:33 PM

"Day 1" of an NQT's career is almost upon us (apart from those who have already gone back!) and I thought this Seminar from last year could do with a 'refresh'. Newer members of the Forum may not have spotted it and I think it's worth a read.

It also struck me that this 'Six Characteristics of a Successful Teacher' might be timely:
http://712educators..../tp/sixkeys.htm

It's from an American site, but the fundamentals of teaching are the same wherever you are.

The key points listed are:
  • A Sense of humour
  • A positive attitude
  • High expectations
  • Consistency
  • Fairness
  • Flexibility
Would we agree with the list? Anything else to add?

#17 neil mcdonald

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 06:05 PM

I think those in the same boat as the NQTs are those of moving jobs. New schools, new kids, new challenges all add to th spice of life eh. Those criteria are a good guideline. I think as far as I am concerned I try and stick to looking at one member of staff that you see as an excellent teacher and modeling your teaching on that. Of course you can get lots of wonderful ideas from other teachers but look at the teacher the students respect and value and look at the way you could develop that - it won't happen overnight but it will happen with effort.


The positive attitude reminds me of the lucozade advert -PMA!!!!!!!!!!! But it is true - if you end up hating 'that' class or that student all you will be doing is condeming yourself to a year (or more) of heartache, stress and agro.

My ultimate piece of wisdom is to be there for your students. They respect the teacher who is there for them.
Bernard Woolley: Have the countries in alphabetical order? Oh no, we can't do that, we'd put Iraq next to Iran.

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Bernard Woolley: That's one of those irregular verbs, isn't it? I give confidential security briefings. You leak. He has been charged under section 2a of the Official Secrets Act.

#18 Ginny B

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Posted 09 November 2004 - 05:15 PM

Hmmm
deep breath.

On the whole, things seem to be going well. Most of the ideas mentioned above have been taken on board to some degree and were of course very helpful.

However, after 8ish weeks of teaching I find that I am still having problems with two classes and certain pupils within those classes. I have gone down the detention route, the HOY and HOD routes. I have tried shouting and I've tried keeping calm. Nothing works. I end up dreading those two classes and see them as lessons I 'just have to survive'. They are both large groups (32-33) and the year 7 is known to be a very difficult group with some of the most disruptive and naughty kids on the register. There are a large number in the group who are VERY low ability and others with ADHD. There is no support with this group and it seems that no matter how I seat them, that six or so seem to be able to upset all those around them.

The other group, a year 8 class, are VERY talkative. They will throw things around the room, talk constantly and in some cases do no work. There are several low ability pupils and there should be a support worker but often is not. One child in this class is (IMO) a danger to other pupils. Once provoked, and it takes very little, he explodes and attacks who ever he sees fit. He throws chairs at other pupils and pushes them from one end of the room to the other. I have had him excluded from lessons, on detention, isolated him and involved HOY, HOD and SMT.

Part of my problem is that I don't have my own room and each lesson I teach these classes we are in a different room. This makes seating plans very difficult and gives pupils chance to play up by arriving late claiming to have got the wrong room.

I hate bringing in other members of staff because I feel that it makes me appear weak even though I am aware that other staff have problems with these pupils too. Whilst on a one year contract I feel under pressure to appear in control of everything because I want a job next year, either in this school or another.

My reports during PGCE all stated how good I was at CM issues, it feels like they must have been looking at someone else at times :(

On the up side, all of my other classes are great and my observed lessons both with SMT and HOD have gone really well.

Sorry, you did ask :unsure:

#19 MrsB

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Posted 09 November 2004 - 07:40 PM

Whilst I don't feel I can offer much advice as I haven't had much experience of these kind of situations, I do think you have done the right thing to post here as there are a huge range of very experienced teachers that use this forum that will offer both sympathetic and practical advice.

Best wishes
It's only a job!

#20 Dan Moorhouse

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Posted 09 November 2004 - 07:47 PM

However, after 8ish weeks of teaching I find that I am still having problems with two classes and certain pupils within those classes. I have gone down the detention route, the HOY and HOD routes. I have tried shouting and I've tried keeping calm. Nothing works. I end up dreading those two classes and see them as lessons I 'just have to survive'. They are both large groups (32-33) and the year 7 is known to be a very difficult group with some of the most disruptive and naughty kids on the register. There are a large number in the group who are VERY low ability and others with ADHD. There is no support with this group and it seems that no matter how I seat them, that six or so seem to be able to upset all those around them.

The other group, a year 8 class, are VERY talkative. They will throw things around the room, talk constantly and in some cases do no work. There are several low ability pupils and there should be a support worker but often is not. One child in this class is (IMO) a danger to other pupils. Once provoked, and it takes very little, he explodes and attacks who ever he sees fit. He throws chairs at other pupils and pushes them from one end of the room to the other. I have had him excluded from lessons, on detention, isolated him and involved HOY, HOD and SMT.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Firstly, a positive. The NQT year is hard. If you're only having problems with 2 groups then this ougt to be seen as a positive at this stage of the year.

Advice:

1) Continue to talk ot form tutors, HoD and HoY. They need to know what the issues are and will be aware of issues surrounding the group elsewhere in school. They will be best placed to offer you advice as to what works with the individuals within the group.

2) Set individual targets for pupils within the class and state what the positive outcome of hitting them will be. Also state what the nagative outcome would be if they fail to hit the targets. If it is a medium to longer term target communicate this to parents personally. If pupils have diaries / planners, write the targets in there and insist that these are signed and shown to you the next day. If you then write 'well done' or something to that effect, it will increase their motivation to do this - and chase them if they don't. In the longer term it is worth the hassle of dragging kids away at break and phoning home etc...

3) Make sure that the tasks are short and sharp. Anything longer than 10 minutes will be a total waste of time with ADHD pupils. To briefly rehash a standard lesson: 1) recall questions on previous lesson, prize for best answers. 2) Starter activity. 3) Text activity - make it interesting and fun if at all possible. Simple things like 'first person to find me 2 examples of bias in this text wins a prize etc... 4) Model an answer. get groups to work through this on the board with you. 5) They have a go at a similar task. identifying one group who will have to explain their method at the end etc helps, creates focus. 6) Reward giving. tell them what they've done well as a class based on your observations during (5) and make a big deal out of them hitting targets. 7) Plenary. Again, make it fun and interactive if possible.

4) Record EVERYTHING.

5) Repeating myself - praise them, as often as possible: but ensure you don't praise average.

6) Easier said than done at times: get hold of work from comparible subjects and use it to gauge how well they are doing with you in relation to other subjects. English, RE and Geography are the most obvious ones to pry into - get HoY to help out on this as they should be doig this sort of thing anyway.

#21 MickCutler

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Posted 09 November 2004 - 08:45 PM

I was about to reply to this thread before reading Dan's excellent list of suggestions above. I'm afraid I have little to add now beyond emphasising the 'praise' aspect that will get all but the real troublemakers on your side very quickly. I have got my 'trouble' classes down to one now (after 5 years of teaching, so two in your first term is good going!) and an unexpected trick that works with them is a 'smiley face' stamp on the front of their exercise books. These are dished out for good work when I'm marking, but with this one lower ability year 8 class I also use them during and at the end of lessons to reward those who have met expectations (i.e. sat quietly and completed all the work set). Three stamps = one commendation which then leads to various whole school rewards. Result:
Competition to see who can get the most
Peer pressure now to get stamps rather than mess about
Less trouble in the class which isolates the 'hard-core'
More time to deal with worst offenders
Instant feedback for pupils
Reward for those who are doing what you have asked and who otherwise get ignored, thus giving them an incentive to continue to behave rather than think 'what's the point' and start to mess about.

I am now going to print out Dan's 7 part lesson which is exactly what I need for my no-attention-span year 10s. Thanks Dan!

1) recall questions on previous lesson, prize for best answers. 2) Starter activity. 3) Text activity - make it interesting and fun if at all possible. Simple things like 'first person to find me 2 examples of bias in this text wins a prize etc... 4) Model an answer. get groups to work through this on the board with you. 5) They have a go at a similar task. identifying one group who will have to explain their method at the end etc helps, creates focus. 6) Reward giving. tell them what they've done well as a class based on your observations during (5) and make a big deal out of them hitting targets. 7) Plenary. Again, make it fun and interactive if possible.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Every time I open my mouth, some damn fool speaks!

#22 Carl Fazackerley

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Posted 31 August 2006 - 08:19 PM

In addition to Carole highlighting this thread in the NQT diary I thought I'd give it a little bump here to refresh it onto the top of the forum listings.

Edited to provide a hyperlink to the NQT diary Carl has just begun for those beginning their first year in Sept 2006.

Edited by Carole Faithorn, 31 August 2006 - 08:35 PM.

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#23 Seb Phillips

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 10:55 PM

Best advice I got was this:

Three Essential Rules for Happy Teaching:
------------------------------------------------
Don't make work for other teachers
Don't make work for yourself
DO Make work for the students.

(Rule one - your colleagues will like you much more if they don't have to clean up after you, if your lessons overrun and they have to wait in the corridor etc - but never fail to ask for advice and help when you need it.

Rule two - always find the easiest way of doing everything, and learn to say 'no' when people ask you to do anything extra - you won't have a shortage of work anyway. If you end your lesson five minutes early because you've miss-timed it, don't worry. Talk to the kids about 'Big Brother' or something. Take breaks, take time off when you are sick, and if you have a choice between giving them a dull lesson from the textbook or being up until 2.00 am resourcing a good lesson, choose the book every time.

Rule three - set your lessons up so the kids are working and you are supervising. And you don't carry books, clean up the room - the kids can do all of that. )

Napoleon once said that "intelligent but lazy" men made the best officers - it's true of teaching too. My NQT year would have gone a lot better if I'd been a little more canny and put my effort into the right areas, not sweeping up the floor after 'cut and paste' lessons.




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