Posted by: markhowell101 | September 5, 2010

Still not quite there.

Just a little blog to share my pre second year musings. I guess the title says where I think I am at really in that I still feel as though I have a lot to learn in this job but I also feel like I have come a long way.

I see the next half term as an important one. Like many newish teachers I feel like my behaviour management has a way to go although throughout last year the improvements were dramatic. Many of the problems I encountered last year I think could have been rectified by a tougher start to the year. I was so keen at the start of last year to get straight into student led, exciting, interactive lessons that I did not allow the time to establish myself at the beginning. And, whilst I would not say that behaviour in my classes ever got to a point of concern, I would say behaviour could have been better. With one class in particular it was only really in the last term that I felt I established myself properly and this needs not to happen this year. So, whilst I don’t agree with the premise of not smiling until Xmas I will make more of a sustained and concerted effort to establish a more purposeful learning environment over the early weeks.

This presents a fine balancing act for in some ways as I am also keen to build on the successes of this year. One of which has been to raise the profile of geography within the school.  The result of this has been introducing AS geography and having 2 groups at GCSE for the first time. This profile has, for the most part, come from my GCSE groups of last year who really latched onto the subject and the way it was being taught. They have been responsible for spreading the word about the school and a number of students have approached me quite excited about doing the subject based on the referrals of older students. I am therefore keen to strike a balance between lighting a fire of enthusiasm for the subject and student led learning and establishing myself and a great learning environment. I will have to see how that goes.

Another change this year is going to be to begin to have an involvement in the training of new staff, something I am really looking forward to. We have a trainee in our department who, whilst not under my supervision, is involved in lessons with me and it should be good to have an influence over someone’s early career. Perhaps more importantly for my I have a trainee attached to me and my tutor group, an idea I initially questioned. The pastoral aspect of secondary education is something I struggle with and it’s my hope that a trainee will help me iron out some of the things I know I don’t do well. I always knew I would struggle with the pastoral aspect and it is actually one of the reasons I opted for secondary and not primary. Whilst I had a decent relationship with my tutor group last year I would not describe myself as being especially effective as a form tutor. I felt that at times I failed to meet their needs and equally felt that at times I was coming short of school expectations of a form tutor. It is my hope that having a trainee attached will get me doing more things by the book and trying to demonstrate best practice more often and hopefully make me a better form tutor.

I am also keen to build on successes of last year continuing to get students to develop their own revision guides as the course progresses and continuing the Manor Geog Pod (see previous blogs for details). So I need to make sure that I allow time for projects which were great last year. As a result of 2 years of effort it is also my great hope that geography results next year will be better than this years which were already pretty good.

On the subject of time I am dropping my work curfew to 7.30pm this year. In the 2 previous years I have stopped myself working at 8pm every night except in extreme circumstances. This year I am going to try and drop this down by a half hour in order to spend more time living and not working.

As ever thanks for reading and hope all colleagues have a good proper first week back



  1. You are pretty hard on yourself. I’d say your more than there, it’s just this job is always a learning curve. I love your idea of a work curfew though. I think I’ll set one myself this year.

  2. The curfew is great. I started it when I realised I would sit there some nights staring at a screen going nowehere for ages in the evening becasue I felt I should do something. I rarely break it (sometimes you just have to) and I find its really nice just to have a set stop time

  3. This is a really helpful post for me about to start my NQT year. I find that reading about other people’s experience with behaviour management (not my own strongest point) helps me to be more determined to be more consistent as I start with my own classes. The teacher I’m taking over from next month is really keen to establish routines that will suit both of us, and I’m hoping that having a good example to follow will help me to up my game too!

  4. Thanks for the comment. That seems a tricky time to take over so hope your predessesor does a good job. As I said above the trickiest thing is balancing being hard with being exciting. Good luck

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