What to do, or not

17th October 2008 at 01:00

Never say how like their father a pupil is - nowadays, there are too many options; monitor pupils who skive in the toilets - this is a national sport in schools; and get used to the fact you have weird idiosyncrasies and pupils will pick up on them.

These are just some of the nuggets of advice contained in a new book, Top Tips for Teachers, by former teacher Glenise Borthwick.

Ms Borthwick, head of communications at the General Teaching Council for Scotland and editor of its magazine, Teaching Scotland, spent nearly 20 years as an English teacher.

Over that time, she gained experience in how to deal with difficult moments and has now published her guide to surviving the school year.

She says the tips, which are designed for teachers old and new, should be read in the spirit in which they were intended - down-to-earth advice from someone who still believes passionately that teachers can make a real difference to a child's future and that education matters.

All royalties generated from the sale of the book will go to the charity Education Action, which works with war-torn communities and refugees to rebuild and transform lives through education.

Top Tips for Teachers, by Glenise Borthwick; illustrations by Bob Dewar. Luath Press Limited, Edinburgh. Pounds 6.99.


Pupils have strange names. It is not their fault, but you will somehow have to get over it. Kylie has now worked its way through and out of the secondary schools, as has Britney, with a late surge of Jades and Chantelles on their way. Be grateful for the ones you can spell.

The slightest change in the weather will gain immediate attention from your pupils over anything you say or do in the classroom. Snow will totally eclipse your lesson as your pupils sniff early closure in the air.

It is a fact that some pupils smell nicer than others. Wet weather causes the steaming pupil syndrome. There is little you can do, other than let them dry off. Pupils leaving PE also have their particular odour. The smell you must immediately act on is that of dog poo on an unsuspecting pupil's shoes.

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