Sunday, 28 September 2014

The Big Mistakes Teachers Make

The Big Mistakes Teachers Make

I read this book on the recommendation of one of my fellow media moderators as she is a contributor of a couple of the tips.  It is a short and easy read consisting of 55 separate articles.  Whilst there are a few key contributors most have have done one or two each so the advice is interesting and varied. This would be a great book for a student teacher or NQT as each little snippet of advice is easy to digest and follow.

The most common piece of advice, which came through time and time again from different contributors, was to smile.  The old adage of 'don't smile until Christmas' is well and truly dead it would seem (and rightly so).  Many of the contributors submitted articles on the theme of connecting and building rapport with your students and smiling is definitely the first step in that.

Other tips I liked included 'don't try to go it alone', and 'get to know your students'.  The best two pieces of advice for me though, were about marking.  One was a basic bit of time-management advice but so useful.  Don't take your marking home at the weekend and then leave it until Sunday afternoon.  The mere fact of its presence will cast a pall over your whole weekend.  If you must take it home - do it Friday night or Saturday morning.  Get it off your back and out of your mind so that you can use the weekend as it should be used - to relax and refresh.  The other piece of advice is helpful in reducing resistance and resentment about marking in the first place.  Do not see it as a chore which you have to do to keep management and Ofsted happy but as a dialogue with the students.  Comment on their work as though they are there and then do them courtesy of being able to reply - always allow some time for them to comment back, correct their mistakes and add detail or whatever else you have suggested.  Otherwise all that marking really is pointless and you might as well be talking to yourself.

Of course, much of the advice in the book is common-sense but nevertheless its bright and upbeat tone provide some gentle reminders and refreshers when sometimes the sheer amount of work we have to get through gets in the way of remembering the purpose of teaching in the first place.

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