Pocket teacher

7th September 2007 at 01:00
THE FIRST TIME YOU GET YOUR VERY OWN CLASS IS A WONDERFUL FEELING

Mine, all mine, you think, rubbing your hands with glee. So, ok, they're yours now, but what the hell do you do with them? They don't know you, you don't know them, and no one enjoys being bossed around by a stranger.

The secret is to make a connection: hook them up then reel them in, like fish on a line. Stand at the door when they arrive, welcoming them into your room. Learn their names quickly and address them frequently by name. Keep your body language open and friendly, and use a relaxed and conversational tone of voice.

Show a genuine interest in what makes them tick. Find out what they're into outside of school and find some way to incorporate this into your teaching. Share a little part of yourself with them you don't have to be their friend, but you can still use a human touch.

"Only connect" as E.M. Forster so succinctly put it. On rare and magical occasions you connect instantly with a class, typically it takes a term or more. But when it does happen, oh what a joyous feeling. Look! They're eating out of the palm of my d***

Sue Cowley is an educational author, trainer and presenter. Her books include Guerilla Guide to Teaching (Continuum). For more information, visit www.suecowley.co.uk

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