Knowing me, knowing you

25th April 2008 at 01:00
How do you take a room full of strangers and turn them into well- behaved pupils? Sue Cowley reveals her secrets

How do you take a room full of strangers and turn them into well- behaved pupils? Sue Cowley reveals her secrets

There are no short cuts in behaviour management. Even when you use every strategy in the book, your pupils might still mess you about. The key is to build relationships: this takes time.

On the first day with a new class, it would be great if everyone did exactly as you asked. But hang on - you don't know them, they don't know you. You're strangers. (This is the challenge supply teachers face every day.)

Focus on getting to know your pupils. Learn their names quickly; if your memory is weak, read up on ways to improve it or use name tags. Take notice of pupils as you walk along the corridors - a quick smile here, a brief comment there, it all adds up.

With challenging classes, chip away at the shell of disinterest. There are always a few pupils who want to get to know you. Join in with extra- curricular activities; it's easier to build up bonds with children in an informal setting.

Be conscious of your reputation; we moan about pupils, but they talk about us, too. Get yourself known for being a fun, inventive and caring teacher. Not just someone they have to know, but someone they want to.

Sue Cowley is an author, trainer and presenter. For more information, visit

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