The school year ended yesterday and I said a final goodbye to one of the more difficult classes of my career. So now I’m taking stock and trying to think of what I want to do next year to improve my teaching and the learning of my pupils.
I think that this really falls into 2 categories. The first is the concrete side of what I actually do in the classroom. This is probably the easiest to think of and to implement. The second is a lot harder, how do I change what I do to improve things for my pupils? It’s easy to think of things that I need to change, my reactions to certain situations etc, the hard thing is actually to implement that change when I’m actually on the spot.
My class were a large class which had 23 boys out of a total of 35 pupils. This itself isn’t a problem. I enjoy teaching boys and generally have a very good relationship with them (my own son gave my very good training). However this year I had several difficult children who I felt that I never truly got to grips with.
I have just read thoughtweaver’s thoughts on making positive relationships with children.
I agree with all of what the author says, my problem this year was that my 3 main problems did not fit into the general stereotype of badly behaved boys. These 3 were all very intelligent children who often seemed to deliberately choose to behave badly for their own reasons. I am disappointed that I didn’t manage to make the links with them that I wanted to and as a result they probably didn’t make the progress that they could have.
Knowing the children is important though, especially in large classes where it is hard to give them all the attention they need. My aim next year is to try and spend at least a couple of minutes with each child, just chatting, maybe while out on playground duty. It would be great to do this every week but I feel that would be impossible. It shouldn’t be too difficult to do over a period of 2-3 weeks though and by the end of a term I would hopefully have a better idea of who they all are.
It’s easy to say that I will do this but my days are jam packed and over and over again I get home to realise that I still have a long list of things that I meant to do but completely forgot about. Maybe making a list of the children I want to talk to will help. Lists always help I think. The very act of making one seems to put you a little more in control.
The other thing that I want to improve is how I react to poor behaviour. I’ve never had children that I haven’t had a good relationship with until this year and I certainly don’t want to repeat it. Children won’t make progress if they don’t feel comfortable and happy in school. I need to find ways of getting through to those difficult children, ways of moderating their behaviour that have a positive feel rather than negative sanctions.
Having identified things that I can do, then I need to actually remember to implement them. It is incredibly easy just to react in the usual way. That didn’t work this year. I need to pause before reacting and give myself time to think before I deal with the situation.
Next year I will be the model teacher and my class will be the perfect class!
Watch this space!