Once clear and sensible routines are in place, there’s space for positive relationships to form. Without them, we are merely fire-fighting. Somewhat surprisingly, pupils seem to prefer teachers they perceive as ‘stricter’; I suppose, like everyone else, they want the reassurance of feeling safe and knowing exactly where they stand. For some advice on managing behaviour, I refer you to Part 1 of this Back to School series.
A lot has been said and written about the power of relationships, and some have even gone as far as stating that all teaching can be reduced to how well we know our pupils. I think this is an exaggeration, but it does contain some important truths. Of course the relationships we have with children are important and of course these relationships should be as positive as possible. It’s exceedingly rare I’ve encountered a thoroughly unlikable child (once, maybe twice in my career) and on a one to one basis, most are delightful, but dealing with them en masse can be quite another thing.
For better or worse you’re going to be spending a fair bit of time together, and if that time is to be productive, you will want to forge positive relationships. But getting to know pupils takes time – many secondary teachers will only see pupils for a one solitary hour a week – how on earth can we get to know the kids we teach when we see so little of them? These are my top 5 tips for getting to know your new classes:
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