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Change of room for every single lesson - how to manage behaviour

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by lawgrad, Feb 26, 2012.

  1. Hi,
    I'm on a maternity contract cover and I am experiencing problems with behaviour. The school did not tell me before I started that I would not have my own classroom and I have to go to a different room for every single lesson I teach. These rooms are also all over the school, not just in a particular subject area/cover.
    To make matters worse, it's one of those schools where every teacher has their own laptop. Therefore I also have to set up the laptop, IWB, internet, sound etc at the start of every single lesson. I have to remember to bring all my resources etc with me and all the excercise books etc.
    Not only am I struggling with constant neck and should pain from carrying all this stuff around I am finding it very difficult to get my lessons off to a crisp organised start. This is therefore having a knock-on effect on behaviour.
    Any ideas/advice appreciated.
  2. What subject do you teach?
    I'm currently in a school where every English lesson starts off with 10 minutes private reading- could you do this (or something similar- a basic starter activity which can be done in silence) whilst you set up your laptop, etc. Maybe allocate two reliable students to collect books and resources, etc during this time?
  3. You are obviously very worried about this, as you're posting so late on a Sunday night and I really sympathise with you..it sounds like a very difficult situation.
    Have you spoken to anyone in school about it? That would be my first step, speak to the HoD or whoever it is you report to. If you are running from class to class for every single lesson I don't know how you are getting anything done. By the time you get to the class you must be stressed out carrying all of your books, materials, your laptop. If you arrive at the class and the kids have been waiting outside, then there will undoubtedly be behavioural problems as they will have become restless and possibly already be playing up. I was trained recently with Team Teach and we were shown of the importance of being in your classroom when the pupils arrive, then you are inviting them into your space, not the other way around. If they are there before you then they already have the upper hand on you.
    You also then have to set up your laptop etc when you get into the class, so how much of your time is really being wasted? I think you need to explain the situation clearly and fully to staff in the school. Not to mention that you are causing yourself pain by carrying all of your things around with you constantly.
    I would aim to get to the class before the students do, although I don't know how practical that is. If you can't, then at least try to arrive in a calm manner, rather than in a bit of a flutter, which sounds like the way things are now. Have your text books ready and pick someone immediately to distribute the books, giving your self a little bit of time to get organised with your laptop. Planning ahead sounds like it is key to this situation. Is there any way you can leave some of your materials in the classes you use, just to save you carrying everything around?
  4. Hi
    I completely sympathise with you on your current situation and have experienced similar problems in the past. Our school just doesn't have enough room for all the classes in our subject area, so i was the teacher travelling around. As you are on maternity cover you will not want to 'rock the boat' too much but here are a few pointers:
    * ask if it would be possible to have any room changes to reduce your travelling distance - even if it is not possible in the same room but neighbouring rooms, it will still make a big difference to you.
    * if this is not possible could you negotiate with the HOD if it were possible for them or a neighbouring teacher to come into your class for the last 1-2 minutes giving you time to get to the other side of the building.
    * with setting up equipment - again negotiate with the HOD if it would be possible to get assistance from a technician to help set up the equipment. This would allow you the time to settle the class and set up your teaching lesson.
    * or perhaps the HOD could identify for you reliable students that could take your laptop and set up the equipment for you. For example reliable form six pupils on study periods could be identified to come and take your laptop and set it up for you at the end/beginning of classes.

    These are a few ideas and I'm sure if you speak to the HOD or someone responsible for sub teachers in the school they will help you - you are only trying to create the optimal teaching environment for your pupils and they will appreciate that at least.

    Good luck!
  5. HI maybe its me getting cranky in my old age but rely on knowone. Some staff might remember to let you out of your lessons and others will forget. If you take the lessons after registration, break and dinner where you can make sure you get set up in time you should be left with only 2 or 3?

    Make sure you have a supply of simple starter activities that you can give out which may take 10 mins to complete while you get set up.
  6. Dunteachin

    Dunteachin Star commenter

    I sympathise, I am in a similar situation. If you can get a box of books, etc that you can keep in the more remote rooms, this would reduce the amount you have to cart around. If you can't get the books, maybe photocopies of the relevant chapters might help.
    Seat all your classes alphabetically and then they know their places, whichever room they are in. Saves writing out loads of seating plans.
    Do you have to use your laptop and IWB every lesson? It's a nightmare if things don't work and you get really flustered. As someone said, have some written starter activities, so that you can set up in peace. There are certain rooms where I just don't bother with technology!
    Have a think about how you can make life easier for yourself. I bet there are some empty classrooms somewhere that would be more suitable. In fact, where do your colleagues spend their PPA time? In their classrooms? Have a word; they might be willing to move out.
  7. langteacher

    langteacher Occasional commenter

    We have similar situations to this, we are in a new build where most people share rooms. In an ideal world, pupils could be getting on with their silent reading and I am sure it would work in some schools. The majority of the pupils I teach would not be so co-operative and would simply take advantage of the situation. The people who designed these schools have not the first clue about teenagers!
    What did the person you are covering for do?
    Is it possible, if you need to use the laptop, for you to ask the person who is in the room before you if you could use theirs for that lesson? This is what I do when I am free and someone else teaches in the room. Just setting the thing up can be a pain. If not can you have it ready to just plug in rather than having to log on when it's all set up. If I am moving rooms I have my laptop ready and just plug it into the screen (and hope it works!)
    Just wondering what would happen though, if Ofsted were to come in! Maybe the school would then find a solution.
  8. I am in 7 different rooms - I only work 2 days a week! It is normal in my school and I reduced my hours down to 2 days because it was so stressful changing rooms 6 times a day ( 5 lessons, 1 registration). On my 2 days I have 7 groups, too, so about 170 students I need to know, assess, mark for, plan for! Again, imagine my full time collegues! Caused by not enough rooms for the faculty but also very starnge timetable with 4 way splits ( each group may have 3 rooms and 4 teachers for English...)I cope by getting students to carry boxes, accepting I never meet and greet and running a lot! ( good job I am fit!) Has nearly put me off teaching this year. With your own room, you are in control somewhat and can put up nice dispalys and have aplace for things...Good luck.[​IMG]
  9. As a primary school teacher, I set up at 8.15, stay in my classroom with my kids all day, with all my things and cupboard space...... sounds like heaven after reading your experiences!!
  10. Hi,
    I have had a similar problem for many years now although I'm lucky in that the classrooms have PCs attached to the wb (although logging in can still take some time) but one piece of advice I can offer is to buy a wheeled trolley with a long handle from somewhere like Staples or Lakeland (~£10). Once I had mine it soon caught on and now other staff have them too. I can fit in everything I need and cart it around without the neck/should pain.
  11. I've often read these forums but never felt the urge to reply before until I saw this thread.

    I'm a cover supervisor so I don't have a single bit of space to call my own. I don't have a regular classroom, I don't have a subject area office to base myself in and until a week ago when I was lucky enough to get a locker (when someone left), the only space I had was a small pigeon hole.
    I have to change room for every lesson and I have to carry around a laptop, the charger, paper, pens, rulers, starters, and a bag that I have my lunch, a drink etc in and on top of all that I quite often have folders of cover work to carry too. Admittedly I don't have exercise books as they should be in the classroom I'm covering in but I have to set up for every lesson, my laptop has a charge that lasts about 3 minutes (registration is done on SIMS) so I have to find somewhere in the class near a plug and untangle the plug every time... why is it that no matter how carefully you put the charger away in your bag, its always tangled next time you get it out?

    Anyway, I just thought I'd share that, I'm on a much lower wage too so maybe you all feel a bit better now?
  12. Get the kids to look after their own exercise books. I have a similar problem at the moment, and have had it worse in the past. Consider the lesson starts ten minutes after the bell, after you've set up. The kids will evenutally get attuned to this. Word games amongst themselves while you set up, such as hangman. words can be subject specific.

    Also, I have seen teachers who have to carry lots, using a trolley they drag behind them. I have a rucksack type bag, and so can carry a box at the same time. Part of my fitness regime!
    Hope this helps.
    PS don't worry about the behaviour too much. You don't have a choice about rooming, so the impact of this on behaviour is an organisational issue, and not just yours; although of course you have to bear the brunt of the bad behaviour.

  13. Belthazor

    Belthazor New commenter

    This is such a pain-in-the-a*** scenario. Had something similar during my NQT year, and I used the following strategies (similar to things already posted):
    1.) Quick 5 minute wordsearch for pupils to do whilst you get set up and laptop plugged in. Only 5 minutes, but invaluable time.
    2.) Have books piled in the seating plan order, so just a case of handing them out as you walk past each pupil/table in order, instead of "jumping" between tables looking for specific pupils. This may require a bit of effort, but does actually impress pupils, makes this task easier/quicker, and you come across as being less flustered.
    3.) Get a couple of pupils to help with tasks - handing out books/worksheets (reward with Housepoints etc.)
    4.) Have books/resources already in the room before you arrive. Less stuff to carry around - any reasonable colleague wouldn't mind you doing this the evening before/in the morning.
    5.) If you're off to another room straight after; be packed up, ready to go and dismiss pupils on the bell. Makes you less flustered, and it easier for you to get to the next lesson. Again, get pupils to help you pack up - and pick up your stuff at break/lunch/end of the day.
    Good luck - hang on in there!
  14. I am in a similar situation to you. Six different classes that I see 4 to 6 times per fortnight, usually in a different classroom each time. I have a little desk in a shared office and a small amount of shelf space to store stuff on. These are the strategies I am working on to try to stay organised:

    1. I have a folder for each class that I keep the next lesson's worksheets in. In the morning I pick up all the folders for that morning's lessons and cart them around with me. As worksheets are given out they get replaced by homeworks that get handed in. Completed worksheets go in their books. Folders get returned to my shelf at lunchtime and then I pick up the next lot for the afternoon's lessons.

    2. At the end of the day I try to move piles of books to the correct classrooms for the next day's lessons. I often forget though! Luckily most of my classes keep their own books. And I try to keep books in the same place week by week so that students can find them if I have to send them hunting for them.

    3. I use a short open question related to the topic as an active start whilst I get myself organised (e.g. Why can't we still hear the battle of Hastings? What does red smell like? Why are there only 4 blood groups? Would you donate a kidney?). I write these on the board whilst they get settled and they know that I expect at least 4 bullet points of detailed answers from each of them.

    4. I am using power points and the Internet less and less. I'm more likely to use envelopes of resources tailored to specific groups needs / learning styles and I have noticed an improvement in independent learning.....

    5. I have copies of my timetable everywhere (in both the front and the back of my planner, on my phone, my laptop, on the wall or taped to the desk of rooms I use the most) so I am constantly reminded of where I have to be next. I also have copies of other teachers' timetables so that I have information to hand in case I need to do a room swap for any reason.

    6. I don't stress about doing SIMS electronically immediately - I note absentees and latecomers in my planner. Then I input it into SIMS later in the lesson when I've got organised and the class are busy. This has got me in trouble once or twice as policy is that you do it within 10 minutes of the start or send a paper copy to the attendance office. Oh well.

    7. I have a small box of resources that I take to lessons if I think I might need it - highlighters, pencils, dice, traffic light cards etc. If I forget them, I send a kid to the rooms nearby to beg, steal or borrow. The kids actually think this is funny and respond very well to it - they see it as one of my little quirks that I "nick stuff" off other teachers - I make a big deal of remembering to return things at the end of the lesson but always give the impression that I might just as easily have forgotten.

    Lots of teachers have a wheeled trolley - I may yet invest in one of those!
  15. nettie m

    nettie m New commenter

    You have my sympathy, I was in a similar situation in my NQT year. The only bonus - I lost half a stone in the first term!!
    My tactic was to have a bag packed with class sets of protractors, compass, rulers etc, spare papers and a few spare exercise books. Where possible, I had a box for their books that I left in the classroom, and tried to plan homework/books to be handed in on certain days, so I didn't end up carrying too many sets of exercise books.
    I also used the folder idea - one for each class. I kept worksheets and spare copies of homework tasks in each, just carrying what was needed for that morning or afternoon.
    Behavour and a good start to the lesson was a problem. The best solution I found was a printed starter that would get them going with something while I got organised.
    I found students get use to routines, even if your routine is different from everyone elses. I use to put a pile of the starter work on the desk nearest the door, and they picked one up on the way in. The first couple of students to finish that task handed the books out. Much like primary school lessons I have seen, students were given jobs to do at the end of the lesson to ensure everything was packed away on time. For year 7/8 the promise of credit/house points meant they were happy to help.
    Depending on the school policy and the class - do your students stand outside and wait for you? Could you get them into the routine of going in sitting down and getting books at equipment out? I did that with top set year 7 and 10 and that worked well. I often gave them the starter task at the end of the previous lesson, admittedly not all of them but most had made a start when I got there.
  16. I agree with billygoat - don't say anything to anybody , - you are covering a mat leave and you don't want to rock the boat - manage it yourself with easy starters on a worksheet etc whilst you set up.

    i am in a smilar position , moving every lesson..........
  17. I have a similar problem; I teach a nice class in one room and an awful class in another part of the school right after. Ten minutes from the end of the nice class,I entrust three pupils to go to the other room to set up. They take the seating plan for the next class and hand out any worksheets or jotters needed switch on the projector and plug in my USB stick. The pupils who do it enjoy the responsibility.

    I do try and get to the other classroom as quickly as possible and having the materials set up does help to contribute to a 'crisp' start.

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