Claire Brown writes on loving Christmas and being a fabulous form tutor.
Tis the season to be jolly!
I absolutely love Christmas: a time filled with fun and excitement, but let’s not forget, a time that can strike fear into teachers around the country. The build-up to Christmas is an emotional roller-coaster for both educators and pupils alike. For some, there will be worries about getting to know new school customs; for others panic about already being a term into a new GCSE course; or for year 11 students, horror at the realisation that they are drawing towards their final calendar year of secondary school and this is it, game on! For teachers there is 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 through to year 11, you watch as the pupils transition from children into young adults, without really noticing that you are part of their journey of growing from immaturity to maturity. Most of the pupils make it through the ‘jungle’ that is life in a secondary school, others fall by the wayside, and are not so lucky. It is these pupils that need your guidance, friendly face 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 thirty 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, in morning registrations pupils enjoy small activities more than just sitting and ‘chatting.’ Often I find general knowledge quizzes to play; don’t let the year 11 pupils fool you, they still enjoy a sticker as a reward for top quiz master! I like to challenge tables against each other, leading into creating a leaderboard in which groups of pupils can vie for the top quiz master position. In this environment the level of competition in the classroom increases and pupils actively request quizzes. On one occasion my form became so enthused that an unexpected fire practice created mass hysteria amongst the form 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.
Christmas Form / Assembly Pack
Reflecting on these experiences gave me the idea 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? Ask pupils in your tutor group 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?
Check out our other resources for use in form time.