Teaching Lessons

My teaching days are numbered.

I have seven days left. What Have I learnt?

  1. Teaching expands to fill the time you are willing to dedicate to it. Learn how to say no. Learn tricks to cut back on marking, planning and delivery. Learn how to say no. Prioritise your tasks according to how important – not just how urgent – a particular task is. Finally: learn how to say no.
  2. Teaching = relationships: with the pupils, the teachers and parents, with TA’s site staff and finance, with your superiors, subordinates and colleagues. And (most importantly) the support staff. Cultivate your relationships carefully.
  3. Smile – “Don’t smile ’til Christmas” is stupid advice. You can smile and be strict, smile and maintain order, smile and learn. It is amazing how far students are willing to go for a teacher with a good sense of humour. If you don’t have one, purchase one at the earliest opportunity.
  4. Have fun. Try not to get into a rut. You will enjoy your job the most when doing something new. Take risks. Experiment. Not everything will work, but everything will teach you something new about the job.

The last three weeks have seen my best teaching. Teaching at it’s most free, interesting and productive. Practicals, innovative assessment, using technology in class. I wish this week would never end.

How can you do the same?

Decide to enjoy yourself.

Starting off

Getting started is hard.

My first lessons as a science teacher were hard. My first days as a Dad were hard. This first post is hard…I’ve already restarted once twice. I now understand how my students feel when writing the first page in their new exercise books. They agonise over every title, subheading and diagram. It is the first thing people will see, and they want to get it just right.

There is no end of advice on how to get your writing right. From how to use the active voice, and the AB BC rule. Start and finish sentences with strong ideas. The mistakes you have to make, and the mistakes you need to avoid And yet all this advice, profiling and practice seems only to put you further from where you want to be: starting.

It was Bora Zivkovic who finally started me on the path to blogging.

“First you have to write”

So here I am. Writing. Baker’s Biology Lab – for clear, catchy and coherent science.

So maybe this post is a little empty. Maybe it is clunky. Perhaps it is a little short. But it is an introduction, and (more importantly) it is a start.