How to be a better teacher?

This week has been a particularly tough week with my S2 class. There are 28 pupils in the class and there is a group of 8 pupils who dominate the class with low level poor behaviour and general disruption.

Normally I feel like I can handle this but on Monday it all came to a head. The group of pupils would not settle and it was impossible to start the lesson. Two pupils were sent out of class but the rest were so disruptive. At the end of the lesson I felt exhausted. Reflecting on the lesson my biggest regret was that the other 20 pupils in the class, who are so well behaved, were let down by me. I wasn’t giving them the lesson, the time and attention they deserved.

What to do about this? Continue reading

Avoid Avoidance

I have a list of changes and improvements that I want to make to my teaching. As I read other teacher blogs and twitter feeds, my list grows. I have a notebook in which I make a note when I spot something online that I want to try out or investigate more.

What’s the problem then? I have come to the realisation that I spend so much time looking for the next great idea that will revolutionize my teaching that I am avoiding spending time actually making any improvements. Coupled with the huge daily workload that goes along with being a teacher I have become an expert at avoidance.

Here is the current list: Continue reading

Better Questions

Week 3 of the 2016 Blogging Initiative!

The blogging prompt this week is about questioning. There were many different prompts and I decided on the following:

You’re planning a lesson and you try to come up with super good question to ask to get kids to think about something. What is that question? Why did you phrase it the way you did? Why do you think it will prompt discussion/thinking?

This week my S3 class have been looking calculating arc length and area of a sector of a circle. The class have previous knowledge about circumference and area of a circle. Continue reading

Is there such a thing as a typical day?

Week 1 of the 2016 Blogging Initiative!

When I signed up for the 2016 Blogging Initiative I thought that this would be my start with blogging. However, thanks to some great teachers on Twitter I started blogging in the Christmas holidays taking part in the Yule Challenge.

So here is my official start to the 2016 Blogging Initiative – I have selected Option 2 to write about.

Continue reading

Am I doing the best for all my pupils?

I’ve been thinking about my previous post Structured Problems.  In it I considered how I make problems for my pupils easier by adding too much structure and not letting them think it out for themselves.

Yesterday I was reading a chapter from “Make It Stick” (Brown, Roediger, McDaniel) entitled Mix Up Your Practice.

It talked about Massed Practice

the practice-practice-practice that’s supposed to burn a skill into memory

and Interleaved Practice

interleaving the practice of two or more subjects or skills

The chapter concludes that massed practice leads to initial success but not long term success where as interleaved practice is tough and challenging to start with but leads to long term benefits.

So what does this mean to me as a teacher? Continue reading

#MTBoS12days Reflection on last term

The fifth task for the Yule Blog Challenge is to reflect on last term (or semester) and consider what will I start, stop and continue. I’m new to blogging and this is the first task which has really made me think about my teaching and learning over the last term.

What will I start:

I am going to start using these Problem Solving Bookmarks that I found online (don’t have the original link). I find that my pupils are very quick to say they “cannae dae it” when they see a tricky problem before even giving themselves time to think. I would like to give all my pupils a copy of the bookmark and make a real effort to refer to it during lessons.

Continue reading