When pupils enjoy school by @TeachingTed

I have never really had the urge to be the best in class. I never, ever made it at School, College or University and funnily enough I have now married the girl who always was. At school I could never understand how she had the drive to work hard, the enthusiasm for each subject and the capacity to consistently do well.

This is a re-blog post originally posted by @TeachingTed and published with kind permission.

The original post can be found here.

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Now I am a teacher I realise the difference between us could not be more obvious. I lack attention to detail, I struggle to keep focus, I did not put my best into everything and I spent more time trying to work out how to get out of a lesson rather than the work in front of me. My parents evenings consisted more of ‘he needs to focus’ than ‘what an excellent pupil’.

This all changed when I became a teacher, because I love it. My own experiences prove to me more than ever that school has to be enjoyable, has to be something which pupils care about and want to be there for. I strive to be the best I can be because I enjoy my job and this would most certainly be the same if I had enjoyed school. I strive to know my pupils, to relate to them and I change my teaching, just slightly, every day because of them.

How do I do this? Well, there is no exact science, and I get it wrong, (note the moment I thought I had a good enough relationship with a pupil, to ask ‘why have you been sent out, you wally?’ – and was consequently told where I should go, it was not a pleasant place).

The times I get it right are when I really know my classes and I have given them as much freedom for their learning as possible. Earn their respect by letting them know their opinions count. Our year 8 curriculum is completely based on responses from the children in Year 7 when they completed an end of year online survey produced on Google forms.

I also regularly end a half term with a post-it note asking:

  1. What did you like?
  2. What do you want to know more about?
  3. What have I done to annoy you?

The answers are such an insight to my teaching, at times I have felt guilty with the responses. But it is better to know them rather than to keep bashing your head against a brick wall and not understand why!

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