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‘Three Top Tips from Tom’ will be updated weekly with the best advice and tips on behaviour and classroom management.

Tom Bennett is the TES adviser on behaviour and a teacher at Raines Foundation, an inner city state school in Tower Hamlets. He regularly supports teachers on TES through our behaviour forum and monthly newsletters on behaviour.

The minute you walk in the joint

You never forget your first time with a class. Whether you’re fresh from the packet, or long in the tooth, the way you introduce yourself to a new group of students is vital. First impressions count. So although you probably aren’t getting a lot of new faces at this time of year, here are three things to think about for the start of next term:

  1. Be prepared - Nothing creates a worse impression than looking like you don’t have a clue; the night before, go through your school bag like you were getting ready for a class yourself- don’t leave it until the morning, because chances are you’ll be still be blowing cotton wool out of your brain until the coffee kicks in. Have all your equipment laid out; know the room you need to be in, have a seating plan, and make sure that all your resources are close to hand or on your desk. Bring back up materials, hankies and the like.
  2. Be the boss - The first impression needs to make an impression on them, so carry yourself with authority- even if you’re trembling inside, act it out- imagine in your head what someone with gravity and self-control would do, how they would speak, hold themselves and even move. It doesn’t matter if you’re faking it- the kids won’t know that unless you tell them.
  3. Make eye contact with everyone - not aggressively, but confidently. make sure you say everyone’s name at least once in the first lesson. Don’t take any questions that are shouted out, and show them that you are in charge of the lesson, and won’t be blown about by their whims. It means that you have to be a bit tougher than you normally might be comfortable with (or not, as the case may be) but it will pay off in the long run.

 Good luck


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