You know what CPD can be like: if you’re lucky you get a bit of inspiration. A cracking new way of getting them to learn. One you haven’t thought of before. You scribble your ideas furiously onto the hotel logo headed paper, unwrap a wannabe fox’s glacier mint and treat yourself to some sparkling water from the middle of your round table. You stretch back and wonder how much the course leader gets paid. This nugget you will change your teaching forever.
24 hours later and you are battling with year 8. Who has and who hasn’t done their homework? Is that a forged note in her planner Mary is showing you? What did the head of year say about Kyle’s home life? Should you challenge him on his lack of effort? The bell goes and you remember you are on duty. That nugget will just have to wait till next week before you implement it.
Then next week comes and…. you can fill in the rest. The cheap headed note paper ends up getting buried further and further down on your desk and is eventually binned in July with only a snip of your regret going with it into the recycling.
Except I bring good news.
I have just used an idea I heard at #TLT16. Not a life-altering 360º change or anything. Just one small, simple rather obvious thing that I have used and watched have effect. I have a year 9 tutor group. They are lovely. They behave well most of the time and are a happy cheerful and polite bunch. i am proud of them. However they have been getting louder and louder when i take the register and i keep having to stop and ask them to be quiet and it wasn’t having any effect until ….
Lindsay Skinner was talking in the closing keynote about language and words teachers use or don’t use. She said that we shouldn’t say “Please be quiet” but the slightly more forceful “Be quiet”. I do exactly that and now they are quiet all the way through (nearly). I haven’t changed the tone of my voice , nor am I shouting. I have just dropped the “please” from my statement and it is so much more effective
20+ years of teaching and I am still taking advice on something as basic as taking the register. Just shows you good simple CPD can work. As John Tomsett said in the first keynote “Avoid using shiny new ideas that you don’t understand. Instead embed and improve what you do already.”
My original post on #TLT16 can be found here