Getting to know the new bunch

I’ve moved schools, and so far it’s going well. I am working through my “getting to know the children” routine, and I realised this makes a perfect topic for a blog post.

First, I am indebted to Ben Newmark, a prolific education blogger whose insights I find extremely valuable, for this post on making a good start with a new class.  Because of this advice, I made sure the first experience my new students had in my classroom was working: with pens, on paper, in silence. Let me tell you, for the last two years I have had a very different “first lesson” based on the idea of “fun”. Trust me, “fun” will come later, but I need to set expectations, and so quietly sitting and writing was the order of the day.

I spoke to them in the corridor, told them they needed to quietly go in, look at the seating plan on the board, go sit quietly and start work. There was already a paper starter on the desk, and they needed to get out a pen and start work on it.

The classes settled and started on the task. I tackled those that spoke, with polite reminders, I only needed non-directed instruction e.g. “I can hear some talking, no-one should be talking right now, just writing”. When the class was utterly silent I took the register.

Let me tell you, my fist lesson with a class has never been so silent and hard working. I know I’m only in my third year of teaching, but… My lessons today with Year 7 and 8 went far better than any “first lesson” previously, and I’ve now had around 24 of them.

I will write more soon, as this blog turns into “experiences of a Computing Teacher as he moves school”. 🙂

 

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