Mock GCSE Exams Already? It’s day two with the pupils and I’ve just administered my first of many mock GCSE exams of this school year. Before I’m shot down for endangering the mental health of Year Elevens, let me explain … Continue reading GCSE Exams: How Soon Should We Start Exam Prep?
While a greater focus and need for mental health provisions has obviously become increasingly prominent in recent years, we ask whether or not steps could be made to make mental health provisions for teachers, especially NQTs having a rough time, … Continue reading Teacher Mental Health: Reactive, not Proactive
April Fools’ Day is a day of wariness on all fronts. You can’t believe anything you read, hear or see and those excuses your students offer for no homework or being late are dealt with even greater scrutiny. That being … Continue reading 4 April Fools’ Day Pranks Teachers Can Play
You don’t want to compromise the school rules by being caught shovelling food down your hatch whilst rushing through the corridors, but you’re also absolutely starving. How do you put hunger off enough to get you through a busy day … Continue reading 5 Snacking Secrets for Teachers
Understanding teaching is nigh-on impossible until you do it for yourself. Even the spouses/partners of teachers don’t fully understand its intricacies – but passing comment is easy, but here are a few things you should really, really avoid saying to a teacher. ‘All those holidays must be nice!’ Holidays are amazing. Being able to take a holiday when you want it is just that bit more amazing. Here’s why. Imagine lazing on a beautiful, tropical beach in your swimming shorts/bikini and suddenly hearing a familiar “Hello Sir/Miss! What are you doing here?” as if the child is surprised you’ve been let … Continue reading Things You Should Never Say to a Teacher
The effort and hard work on behalf of the person at the front of the classroom is the reason students learn. Everything else is window-dressing. Literally. Continue reading Decorating Your Classroom: Nice, Not Necessary
Though secondary school teachers are of course experts in their chosen fields, it’s probably fair to state that most of us have an Achilles heel. Mine is poetry. Fellow English teachers extol the emotional connection that they had with a poem, while the emotional connection I typically experience is deep confusion. The Cox Report (1989), which helped to establish the national curriculum as we know it, brilliantly described poetry as ‘language made strange’, though chances are its author foresaw the students finding it alien rather than those charged with teaching it. Remarkably, the poetry essays I wrote at university all … Continue reading What’s Your Achilles’ Heel?
In the words of the bard, we are time’s subjects. If there’s one thing to be said of time, it’s that time definitely works differently for teachers. Sometimes, time slows down… With half term but a few days away, you might have noticed a strange phenomenon. Time is, in fact, slowing down. Each hour-long lesson actually takes somewhere in the region of 3 or 4 hours and that commute that you could’ve sworn takes 34 minutes takes approximately 2 hours on the way in and on the way home. You might notice that this particular pattern of time dilation occurs when … Continue reading Time Is Relative in Teaching
“I can already speak English; why do I need to carry on learning it?” It’s the battle-cry of pupils still confused by commas and semi-colons and fearful that our demanding exam system might label them failures in their native language. Little do they realise, this sentiment is probably not far removed from the apprehension with which many of their teachers approached the QTS skills tests. A quick glance at most Twitter feeds is enough to prove that you don’t need to be a stickler for SPaG to become successful or influential, yet at the same time making such an error … Continue reading Whole-School Literacy: A-B-C, Easy as 1-2-3!
NQT Advice: Handy to know! Whether you’ve simply got an NQT joining the department or you’re taking on an NQT as a mentor, it’s always handy to have a little NQT advice to hand for when things start getting a … Continue reading NQT Advice: Five Things to Tell Your NQT