My biggest classroom mistake

Always be fair," say PGCE tutors to their trainees

Always be fair," say PGCE tutors to their trainees. But don't get hung up on it, say posters to The TES online staffroom. "On my PGCE I would always try to justify my decisions," writes bombaysapphire. "It made for a lot of time-wasting until I learnt to refuse to discuss things until later."

Bessiesmith agrees: "I felt I had to explain everything to ensure pupils understood that I was being fair," she says. "Proved to be a waste of time. `Always be confident - be fair when you can' is more effective."

Not having a seating plan or not sticking to it is another classroom mistake mentioned by many.

"The worst mistake I ever made (only once) was thinking that because I only had a class once a fortnight it wasn't worth having a seating plan," writes porphyria. "Didn't take me too long to realise that one was wrong." "Use seating plans and change the room around to suit you and not them, and mix pupils of ability to aid group learning" is nigelallen's firm advice. All part of being in control, he says.

And one of the reasons for losing it, as Lady Spurs explains when she describes her failure to "stamp down on the group of girls in 9B": "They come in, sit down and start doing their make-up. I should have stuck with the seating plan."

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