You need a stimulating classroom environment.
Easier said than done...
Hold this clipboard while I inspect your classroom.
Furniture - firm chairs but tables are scarred and need a clean. Move them often for different groupings. No graffiti, ever.
Sound - soften noise with curtains and cork boards. Get extra speakers for your interactive whiteboard.
Light - these strip lights are horrible. Replace with warmer lights, replace the diffusers. Use blinds against summer dazzle and warm lights for dull winter afternoons.
Ventilation - open windows and let warm air out from time to time. Adjust heating with a thermostat for your own classroom; don't rely on the whole-school settings.
Sight lines: Can you see me, you at the back there?
Sorry, I nodded off...
Keep alert! Set a variety of tasks to encourage movement. And you move around too.
Tidiness - make pupils clear, clean, sort and arrange.
Walls - use as learning walls to inform, demonstrate, prompt, inspire and showcase. Move posters round - replace them before they fade. Appoint display monitors to keep things tidy and topical; show work in progress as well as best work; project a topical slide show or screensaver.
All this in addition to teaching?
No. It's an integral part of teaching. The right environment sets the right learning message. Inspect the next dentist's waiting room you're in - does it say "we drill and fill" or "we care"?
What does your classroom say about you?
Duncan Grey is a former teacher who writes on education. His latest book First Aid Teaching is due out in the spring