Things not to say to trainee teachers #1: “just focus on the learning”

red or green pen?

First week of term. I’m finding it hard. I’ve just had my third lesson with bottom set year 9. I’m in the getting really worked up about the amount of blatant disrespect and failure to follow simple instructions.

As an example, I tell my mentor about Lulu. Lulu’s feet seems cemented to the chair next to her. No matter how much I nag, within 5 seconds the feet are back on their chair.

My mentor’s response: “you have to stop obsessing about behaviour and just concentrate on the learning”

Surprised, but suitably chastened and guilted by my failure to concentrate on their education, I go back into this challenging class in my fourth lesson with them and let them get away with murder.

Feet are up. Fizzy drinks are out. A girl starts doing her make up. Well I guess she could be an effective multi-tasker – I better just…

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