Start as you mean to go on with Sophie Bartlett’s simple advice in Teachwire for getting off on the right foot this term…
1 | Start with a blank slate
Your class’s previous teacher knows them well – make sure you acknowledge, and use, the information they’ve passed on to you about each child. However, try to filter what is necessary and what isn’t. While one teacher may have found a child ‘difficult’, starting the year with that in mind is setting the relationship up to fail. Begin with a blank slate and form your own opinions – some children may surprise you!
3 | Set expectations
In the last few weeks of summer term – when there are about 57 off-timetable activities going on – you may have let a few things slide (if not, you’re a hero!). The first day back is the perfect time to remind the children (and yourself!) of how high your expectations are for behaviour, work ethic and presentation. Ask the children to copy a few sentences out in their neatest handwriting at the start of their book to refer back to throughout the year.
7 | Befriend your TA
I don’t think any teacher would disagree that our TAs are absolutely invaluable. If you are working with someone new this year, begin forging a positive relationship with them on day one. Don’t just use them for photocopying and admin. Instead, show the children that you’re a team, and include them in activities. If you’re new to the school, or even the phase, use their knowledge of individual children to your advantage.
8 | Make a seating plan
Start as you mean to go on and put children in set places from the get-go. Personally, I like a mixed ability seating plan. Last year I showed a random name selector on the board and this picked the order the children sat in. This ensured there was no unconscious bias in choosing where anyone sat and whether they were next to their friends or not. I told pupils that they were old enough to prove to me that they can be trusted to work sensibly. If not, I would move them. The children loved it and we redo it every half term.
Any more tips? Please tell us in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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