Tales from new teachers - Memory mishaps

10th January 2014 at 00:00

The problem

When I started my teaching practice, I came to realise that my memory was not as good as it should have been, especially under pressure. I was planning engaging and varied lessons, but as well as not being able to remember the order of the lesson, I was actually forgetting elements of it. Of course, this was problematic: I often had to stop children during tasks, quickly moving them on to the one I had just remembered. I realised that I could not carry on in this way - it was affecting students' learning.

The options

My personal tutor advised me to practise the lesson before teaching it. She said that going through the lesson in front of a mirror would help to flag up any issues, so I tried that, but it wasn't the same as teaching in front of a class. I felt as if I was not using my precious planning time effectively. My mentor understood my concern and assured me that it was acceptable to refer to my plans in lessons.

However, I didn't want to do that repeatedly in front of the children, nor if I was being observed. So I tried making notes on the lesson plan and highlighting key points or steps. But, while I was teaching, I did not make use of the plans. Next, I tried writing the steps on a Post-it note and sticking it to the whiteboard so that I could glance at it. This worked for a while, but I could not rely on it. Fortunately, I then remembered something I had observed in another school: a "learning menu".

The result

Writing a learning menu - objectives for the lesson - on the whiteboard helps me to remember all the steps and activities in the lesson. It also serves as a useful reminder for the children about the direction of their learning, and gives them a sense of achievement when they see that they have completed all parts of the lesson. It really takes the pressure off me and I am able to concentrate more on the students.

Unsurprisingly, I enjoy the lessons much more, and I hope to make further use of learning menus in the future. The only trouble will be remembering to do so ...

The writer is training to be a teacher in the North West of England

Share your experience as a new teacher

Email jon.severs@tes.co.uk.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now