Tips of the trade: 14. Classroom management

Always keep a "survival pack" of essential supplies close at hand to forestall any misbehaviour.

You'll need A4 paper, plain and lined, to hand out to forgetful pupils; don't give the class any time to get restive. Include pens and pencils, along with a stock of short and long ink cartridges. An eraser and a pencil sharpener should also be in the pack; colouring pencils and rulers are useful.

Requests for sticky tape invariably mean something has been damaged and is being sneakily repaired, so check out why the pupil wants it. Keep spare exercise books for genuine replacement.

This pack won't put a stop to poor behaviour, but it will limit the opportunities.

If you set up a lesson that needs "extras" such as scissors or glue, have a supply of your own to give out (and retrieve) because no matter what pupils should bring to a lesson, you have to deal with what they actually arrive with. Watch out for pupils switching your full glue stick for an empty one when they hand it back. If there are sanctions to be imposed, don't forget them, but try to apply them once the class is on task. If you want to monitor who has got what, go round once the work has started and get the pupils to sign for what they have taken.

Classroom management is about opening windows for learning experiences, and closing the windows on disruptive ones. Your pack should help you to deal with the latter.

Roy Watson-Davis

Roy Watson-Davis is an advanced skills teacher at Blackfen school for girls in the London borough of Bexley

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