Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Tales from New Teachers

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Tales from New Teachers

Article excerpt

when standards slip

The problem

Until a few months ago, I was feeling quite pleased with my first year. I appeared to have got over the initial hiccups and had reached a place where I was in control. That all ended after Easter.

I seemed to have returned to classes of completely different students. They played up, were rude and handed work in late. I looked at my own teaching and couldn't see what I was doing differently.

So I tried a different approach, being stricter with the students and cutting fun activities when they misbehaved. It did not work. If anything, they played up more. In the end, I had to ask my mentor to sit in on one of my classes because I was at a loss as to what to do.

The options

My mentor was really supportive and explained that lots of students started to misbehave in the summer term, no matter who their teacher was. She said that with experience you adapted your strategies slightly - not making wholesale changes, but persistently re-enforcing expectations and sanctions, and reminding students of their responsibilities.

She set up an observation with another teacher who she thought did this really well and it was an eye-opener. It was comforting to see students misbehave for him, too - it meant I was not alone - but I was ashamed of my own skills when I saw how the teacher dealt with it. …

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