Every school has at least one: the cool teacher the kids all love. The one who gets a cheer when they turn up to cover a lesson, or who can be found surrounded by a gaggle of students when they’re on break duty. They’re envied by staff and idolised by students. There’s no way you can emulate this cool – it either comes naturally, or it doesn’t. Don’t, whatever you do, commit any of these classic teacher fails below:
High fiving is only cool if you are a 90s rap star or an NBA player. Trying to high five a student to congratulate them on some great work marks you out as someone who is hopelessly out of their league. And there’s the added danger that the student is so scornful of your attempt that they leave you hanging; you’ll find it hard to live down such humiliation.
No matter how hard you try, you won’t get it right. Terms that you think are hip will be hopelessly sad. (Take ‘hip’ and ‘sad’ as good examples of this.) Walking into a classroom and shouting ‘Yo, homies!’ is only going to have one outcome: you’ll look like a twonk. Teacher fail supreme…
Relaxing Behaviour Management
This is a massive no-no. Often a policy adopted by eager NQTs, it can go horribly wrong, very quickly. You’re not their mate: you’re their teacher. Establish boundaries and they’ll respect you. Try to be their friend, and you’ll look incompetent. Fact.
Finding a Taste for Grime
Surely one of the more avoidable teacher fails? You may think you’re down with the kids, but it’s pretty certain that whatever music you choose to play loudly in your classroom will be very much last-year’s-thing. Embrace the generation gap and subject your students to music from your own era, or music you actually enjoy – don’t tie yourself in knots trying to learn the lyrics to Stormzy’s latest offering (unless, of course, you actually do enjoy a bit of grime).
Losing Your Cool
By this, I don’t mean your laid-back demeanour. Quite the opposite. Losing your temper shows you’re losing control – and it instantly marks you down. Being cool is all about commanding respect, and no-one respects a person who explodes under pressure. Take a deep breath, count to ten, go and hide in the store cupboard if need be – but don’t let the students see anything other than your cool and calm exterior!
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