Science content writer Claire Brown talks us through the pleasures and pitfalls of being a form tutor around Christmas time and how she engages her students with a bit of festive competition…
Tis the Season to Be Jolly!
I absolutely love Christmas. It’s a time filled with fun and excitement but also a time that can strike fear into teachers around the country! The build-up to Christmas is an emotional roller-coaster for both teachers and pupils alike. For some, there will be worries about getting to know a new school, for others panic about the start of a new GCSE course. Horror at the realisation that for year 11 pupils, this is their final year of secondary school and this is it, game on! All coupled with the planning and endless piles of marking. Once the Christmas holidays are over, it’s all downhill towards the summer holidays. Before that, however, the hard work of revision and the stress of the exam season lies ahead.
For many years I was a form tutor, a role I truly enjoyed. From year 7 to 11, you watch as the pupils grow from children into young adults without realising you are part of their journey from immaturity to maturity. Most pupils make it through the jungle that is life in a secondary school with ease while others fall by the wayside and aren’t so lucky. It is these pupils that need your friendly face, guidance and tough love more than most.
Being a form tutor, as many will tell you, has its ups and downs. For many children, you are that friendly face that greets them every morning with a smile, for others, you are a provider of a routine that is lacking in their own life. The bond that you can develop with these 30 fresh faces that appear in your classroom in year 7 can grow strong. Seeing them grow and develop into young adults and leave for college and apprenticeships can be an emotional time for any dedicated form tutor.
Pupils Love a Quiz!
In my own experience, I found that during morning registration pupils enjoyed small activities more than just sitting and chatting! Often, I would find general knowledge quizzes (we have a landmark quiz and a flags of the world quiz, for example!) to play and don’t let the year 11 students fool you, they still enjoy a sticker as a reward for top quiz master! Soon we had created a leaderboard to find the top quizmasters in the classroom! The level of competition increased and pupils wanted a new quiz every day. Their popularity was so unprecedented that an unexpected fire drill created mass hysteria when the quiz was cancelled. You will seriously be surprised by the level of general knowledge your pupils have, they know more than they let on!
Surviving Christmas with Your Form
Reflecting on my time as a teacher gave me the ideas for the Christmas Tutor Time/Assembly Pack. How great would it be to create a quiz that could be used in form time and assembly? Let’s get everyone involved in some Christmas cheer. We are a multi-cultural society, so why not discover with your pupils how Christmas is celebrated across the globe? Why not ask pupils what their family Christmas traditions are? Cut out the Santa and Elf masks and let the Christmas contest begin. Who will be top quiz master in your group?
We also have a lovely Quick Quiz with a Christmassy theme too! Go take a look!