Great teachers manage to engage their pupils every lesson.
Developing a teaching repertoire is one very effective way of doing this – it gives teachers a whole host of strategies, activities, and techniques on which they can fall back, presenting their pupils with countless different ways of learning by keeping lessons varied. In other words, it leads to successful teaching.
Building a repertoire is an important part of your development as an NQT. The contrast between your training period and your first year in teaching can sometimes feel quite glaring. You might feel like you don’t want to try out new things, only focusing on a narrow set of activities and strategies that you feel confident will always work.
This is an understandable response, seeing that your NQT year will, no doubt, provide an overwhelming amount of ‘new’ to take in. It is also quite a reasonable response – safety first, if you will. This sort of approach, as you may find, brings the benefit of increased efficiency over time, as both you and your students will grow familiar with how your lessons work.
It would be rather careless to get rid of those benefits completely, just to search for a more developed teaching repertoire. So, here’s an alternative route you can take to gradually develop a wider range of techniques without spending too much time outside of your comfort zone.
First of all, set yourself the goal of trying two new things each week – one during the Monday-Wednesday period, and one on Thursday or Friday. This is a great habit to get into. It lets you focus on the efforts you put into building your repertoire, and gives the current term a sense of energy and dynamics. This method is also less time-consuming, as a result making you less likely to being put off this goal.
An additional option is to try two new related things each week. You could try out a new discussion activity on Tuesday, for example, then try a new style of questioning on Friday. Or, you might have a go at a new peer-assessment technique on Monday, followed by a new target-setting method for marking books on Thursday – each week you’ll be following a theme, giving a sense of consistency.