I've only taught reception and Year 1 classes, but next term I'm teaching Year 3 and I'm worried I won't be able to keep control. Has anyone got any tips on discipline?

31st August 2007 at 01:00
A) The techniques involved in teaching Year 3 are not that different from Year 1 and reception. If anything, it should be slightly easier. But you are right to be a little wary of unknown teaching territory. Developmentally, the children are more autonomous and will be more confident in the school environment, but nothing you can't handle. You might just need to be a bit more aware of boundary issues. Theresa, Worthing

A) I'm not sure you should be focusing on the single issue of discipline. If you concentrate on the positives and try to engage the children, the issue should be largely pre-empted. If you go in assuming disciplinary problems, this can be to some extent self-fulfilling. In short, be a good teacher and don't "predict a riot". Sue, East Grinstead

A) The move to another year group will certainly inform your teaching of the younger children if and when you return to them. Too many teachers get stuck in their ways and get stale. There will be fresh challenges, although I would have thought that your class-control skills are pretty well-honed through teaching children yet to be fully socialised into the classroom. I think you will be fascinated to work with the children after all, to some extent, they are the fruit of your earlier labours. Sue, Canterbury

A) From day one, work on classroom discipline and you will reap rich rewards for the rest of the year. Don't make "learning" your priority for the first two weeks of term. Instead, make the class totally clear about your high expectations and involve them in discussions about rules, rewards and sanctions to create a sense of ownership. Carry out routines (such as tidying up) until they become second nature. Use photos and posters as visual representations of good behaviour, especially for classroom rules, instead of a written list which many pupils can't or won't read John, Cumbria

Coming up

Q: At my school, many pupils are from ethnic minorities and take extended holiday to visit their countries of origin. They can be gone for weeks, even months, and miss a lot of work. We encourage parents to do this in the school holidays but many still don't. Visiting family is important but this profoundly affects their education. What should I do?

Q: I have been granted a three-month sabbatical from October. My GTP trainee from last year will cover me while I'm away. Should I leave work and lesson plans or nothing at all?

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