The Unicorn Teacher

They’re very rare and special. There won’t be more than one or two in a school. Sometimes there won’t be any at all. They hold distinctive and exceptional qualities that are breathtaking to behold, many want to emulate and few can achieve. They are the unicorn teachers and if you meet one, you should look after them very, very carefully. Unicorn Teachers deliver in many ways like so many teachers: they work hard and go the extra mile for their students, being friendly, positive and genuinely interested. You’ll find them at extra-curricular clubs and meetings, being helpful to new staff … Continue reading The Unicorn Teacher

Would You Like Chips With Your Pizza?

When I was a teenager, I survived the school day on crisps, a chocolate sticky cake and a cup of milk. That was all I ate at school. All day, every day. More than a quarter of a century later, I still get cravings for those chocolate sticky cakes from the canteen. We used to call them chocolate hedgehogs. Ah, those were the days… Now, thanks to better understanding of nutrition, increased awareness of the links between mental agility and food, and a TV series from Jamie Oliver, schools have upped their game somewhat. You can no longer find chocolate … Continue reading Would You Like Chips With Your Pizza?

A Successful Day at School

Here’s a handy checklist to ensure you have a successful day at school. Confiscate 3 phones, lend a tie that never returns and tell everyone to tuck their shirts in a few times before the end of form time. Remind your eager year 7s in period 1 that lining up to show you their first sentence isn’t necessary. You’ll mark it later. Explain that body spray is not a substitute for taking a shower to those year 9 boys during period 2. Spend your 15 minutes of break trying, and failing, to do some printing. Either because the queue is … Continue reading A Successful Day at School

Cleaning Classrooms and Getting Kids Out of a Mess

Spring clean strategies that could make school a little less rubbishy. A cross-curricular lesson that all students should learn is that picking up somebody else’s discarded crisp packet or water bottle will not give them cooties. Better yet (especially if this fear of physical garbage is genuine and not, as is suspected, fabricated conceptual garbage), let’s not drop things in the first place. Littering seems to be a peculiarly British disease. Colleagues who’ve taught in Dubai and Shanghai speak in reverential tones about pristine classroom environments. Those who’ve travelled to Europe, North America or Australasia don’t note quite such a … Continue reading Cleaning Classrooms and Getting Kids Out of a Mess

Wellbeing: Practise What You Teach

Imagine the scene: you encounter a pupil, weeping in the playground. You go up and ask them what’s wrong, and they tell you they’re struggling with their homework. It’s all too much. They can’t cope. Or, you become worried about a student in your form who is looking increasingly dishevelled, and constantly exhausted. They’re not sleeping, they tell you. They can’t. They’re too stressed about their exams. Or, you discover that a student in your class is skipping lunch. Every day. Not because they’ve no appetite, but because they want to fit in half an hour of revision in the … Continue reading Wellbeing: Practise What You Teach

Ban the Eye Bags: Why Sleep is so Important

Sleep. A natural activity that every human has done since birth. Yet why is it that as teachers we can find this valuable commodity is something that we are missing out on? On average, people need 8 hours sleep at night to be fully rested and ready for the day. For some its 6 hours, for others it’s 10 hours; whatever is your optimum amount, it is likely that as teacher you have had to forfeit some sleep over the year to fit in the myriad of tasks that are assigned to teachers. Planning, marking, worrying about vulnerable students, preparing … Continue reading Ban the Eye Bags: Why Sleep is so Important

#TeacherNewYearRevolution: New Year – Fresh Start!

New Year – a perfect time to have a think about some resolutions for the rest of the academic year! Here are three useful ways to inspire and motivate yourself at the start of the year! Reflect on Last Year It’s been and gone, but there are important lessons we can take from the past year to make our present and future even better. What goals did you set for yourself last year? What events happened that you would want to change or improve if you faced them again? What events happened that made you proud or feel successful last … Continue reading #TeacherNewYearRevolution: New Year – Fresh Start!