September is the one time of the year teachers feel genuinely recharged and even, dare I say it, enthusiastic. But that enthusiasm can lead you to vastly overpromise on what you can deliver. Here are five classic pledges teachers make during that first week back:
- Tidy teacher planner This year, my teacher planner will be a thing of beauty. Not only will I manage to write out the names of my students without a single error, I will also have separate, colour-coded overlays for recording homework, classwork and missing equipment simultaneously. It will be perfect… until a cup of coffee gets spilled and it becomes a big, brown mush.
- Rapid name recall This year, I will learn all of my students’ names in under two weeks. I will not allow myself to go into the first parents' evening of the year knowing full well that I’m not entirely sure who I teach. I will remember everyone, whether they’re good, bad or somewhere in between. Well, apart from that one class with four girls named Ella.
- Quality classroom management This year, my classroom management will be so good that Bill Rogers will ask me for advice! I will be firm but fair. My rules and routines will be so well established that I will be able to control the whole class with a system of winks, nods and raised eyebrows. Which will work perfectly until a quick-fire sneezing session results in complete chaos.
- Militant marking routine This year, I will get my marking done regularly and on time. Gone are the days when I let things slip and leave myself with several weeks’ worth of marking to do in one go. Yes, I’ll get onto that. Right after I’ve spent the best part of a day creating a beautifully organised marking timetable.
- Productive PPA time This year, I will use my PPA time efficiently and effectively. I will spend the time planning and marking. I will not be distracted by the lure of the staffroom, my desire for a cup of tea or the contents of my pigeonhole. Oh no! But it would be rude not to introduce myself to the newest member of staff, wouldn’t it? Go on, then. Maybe just a quick cuppa…
Chris Powell was talking to Nicola Davison. He is a geography teacher and ITT lead professional at Parmiter's School in Hertfordshire