4th January 2008 at 00:00
I watched a register-taking technique in a primary school and wondered if it would be suitable for secondary school. The teacher didn't say the pupil's name and get a "Here" in response. The teacher said: "Good afternoon, John" and they replied: "Good afternoon, Miss." There are lots of ways you can improve relations with pupils, this might be one of them. Any thoughts? - John, Leeds

A: I am a secondary teacher and do it. My classes like it. My hilarious middlebottom set Year 11 says it makes them sound "dignified". Sometimes I ask for a key word, for example "Alliteration, Miss" or, when it's a homework-handing-in day, "Yes, Miss" if they've got it. It is not babyish. Ofsted liked it and said it created a culture of good manners right from the outset. - Kelly, Bath

A: With about 30 pupils in a class, it sometimes can take forever, so I'm happy with a "Here", "Miss" or "Yes, Miss". I don't like yeps, yeahs or grunts and will pause and make my displeasure known.

Some of the new Year 7s take me by surprise when they say: "Good Morning, Miss". It is so cute, but short lived.

Seven weeks into term, I can see at a glance who's here or not. So sometimes I do the register when they're on task or even after the lesson. - Brookes, Hull

Coming up

Q: I have been accosted by the assistant head over the last three days. Writing my starter and objective on the board, he came and asked me how I thought teaching and learning was going. His point was he hadn't seen me do a plenary. Plenaries do not have to be at the end of the lesson, so he can't assume that he will witness a plenary at the end of my lesson. Should I do a plenary if he walks in or should I stick with my normal teaching style?

Q: Our citizenship department and school council organisers arrange for pupils to go on school-sanctioned trips to protest and demonstrate on political issues. Is this ethical?

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