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Friday Five: Ways not to start a cover lesson

Reduce the trauma of cover lessons by avoiding these five pitfalls

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Reduce the trauma of cover lessons by avoiding these five pitfalls

The thought of covering another teacher’s class is about as appealing as the undersized, overhandled cupcake you were coerced into buying from a student’s charity stall at break time. Help to make the process far more digestible by avoiding these five classic mistakes:  

  1. Being late  Turning up late to a cover lesson is as foolish as using a permanent marker on an interactive whiteboard. In those few precious minutes, your students have not only worked out that Mr Grange isn’t in today, but they have also concocted an infinite number of schemes that will lead to the mass disruption of the lesson from start to finish.  
  2. Mispronouncing names  Even if you have arrived on time, nothing will set the class off quicker than referring to Angelo, the toughest kid in the room, as Angela. Today is not the day to be forgetting your spectacles.​  
  3. Ignoring the seating plan  A free-for-all will undoubtedly get the class on side for all of three minutes, but how will you know who is who when chaos inevitably ensues? Well, you know Angelo. He’s the one shooting daggers at you from the back of the classroom.  
  4. Pretending you’re a subject expert  You may have got a distinction in your grade one violin exam at the tender age of nine, but Mr Grange, the music teacher, is unlikely to appreciate coming back to a class who are now referring to a guiro as "that scrapey thing" and declaring rap legend Biggie Smalls to be "the most influential musician of all time".  
  5. Attempting humour  Just... no.

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