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Establishing Rules and routines on first lesson- Secondary

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by SarahReed, Aug 15, 2012.

  1. SarahReed

    SarahReed New commenter

    Hi Everyone!
    I'm really excted about september now! Just wanted some ideas and advice- I've been informed that I should be firm from the first lesson and that I should go through my rules and expectations on the first lesson with my classes. Aside from reading off my rules from a powerpoint, I can't think of any other exciting ways to do this- Has anyone else got any suggustions or tips??
    Many thanks,

  2. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    Actually, there's a really good teachers' TV video on this (but I can't be bothered to look for it.. sorry..)

    I wouldn't do a "rule presentation" (they've heard it all before, anyway.) Instead, if it's possible in your school, get a starter ready and on the desks, meet the kids at the door, ask them their names, welcome them by name, and ask them to go stand at the back/around the room where you want them to be and if they'd wait quietly, please.

    When they're all in, ask them, by name, to sit in where you want them to sit according to your seating plan. Tell them to try the starter in silence while they're waiting for the others to sit down.

    Then, when they're all sat, thank them for their co-operation. Tell them they're now sitting where you expect them to sit in the future unless you rearrange things and that entering the room quietly and ready to work on the starter is what you expect.

    Then start your lesson.
  3. SarahReed

    SarahReed New commenter

    Thank you this is very useful! I will look for the video on Teachers' TV
  4. I love the points made by everyone so far as well, I need to take these into consideration as well.
    I'd like to add my own, I've witnessed these during my PGCE both as advice given but also as something I've seen on courses.
    My former HoD said to organise the kids into a seating plan as they come in, as it wastes time if you have them waiting at the back and call out 25+ names individually. For this particular case, I had 10 students in this class and a large classroom - which was perfect. I miss them!
    The other suggestion is to display the seating plan on your IWB (if you have one), as it was explained that children are naturally complient, as well as giving them a couple of minutes to organise themselves before you "make an entrance" in the middle of the room.
    I definitely will be doing the Letter of Introduction, as developing a positive working relationship with them and engaging them as people primarily is something that is more important, they are going to be under our supervision for the next 5 years! I had no problem with this on my PGCE, but I didn't really know what my students were interested in on a personal level.
    That's my two pence...
  5. brighton56

    brighton56 Occasional commenter

  6. cupcake1788

    cupcake1788 New commenter

    Hello everyone!

    One of the things I did was start lessons straight away. I think that after the six weeks the students are quite keen for someone to give them some structure. I stuck to three expectations for each class (right from year 7 to year 11) and stuck to them. I focused more on what they could expect from me so it was a positive start to the lesson.
    An activity that I found interesting was 'Hopes and Fears'. I got all students to write down their hopes and fears for the upcoming year in the back of their books. This offers you a good insight in to your classes.
    One thing that I did was let the students sit where they wanted for the first lesson. Now this might seem a bit crazy and is not for the faint-hearted! However, it did allow me to see who DEFINITELY SHOULD NOT sit together which is good if you have no idea of what the students are like in your class.
    If anyone has any questions, I'm more than happy to help! I know what it was like to be an NQT and I remember how I felt this time last year!
  7. At the start of term, after 5 years of teaching, still get them to sit alphabetical order on single desks. It helps with discipline to start with and also helps me to learn their names. Then every half term after that I change my classroom layout every half term to keep them on their toes and in line with what I have planned for that half term.

    As they enter I always say hello, how was you summer etc etc and might point out the odd infringement of school uniform rules just to show that you understand the system.

    I also hand out my starter to them for the lesson as they enter the room and say that they are to start with is straight away so that you have time to get back in the room and get your powerpoint or other resources on the go. As they are doing this activity you can go through the register without calling names as they are in alphabetical order and make a positive start of the lesson.

    In terms of dealing with rules and expectations, I print off a sheet which details them. i go through this after I have done my starter as they are all settled and in a receptive mode to listen to instructions etc etc.

    I keep things very structured and free from too much interactivity for a few lessons so they understand the lay of the land. However, I have been at my current school for 3 years and have quite a good reputation so things are much easier. However, I still employ all the above techniques.

    Always ensure that you know where to send any miscreants, such as HOD or other experienced and respected teacher and that you will be fully supported. For most departments this is quite established and the threat of such a thing is enough of a deterrent for most pupils. My department have told me this as I'm now a head of department.

    And above all when you are continuing with the profession, ensure that you are as consistent as possible as that helps to cement your rules. And also your rules do not have to be the same as the school rules, as those are accepted and usually adhered to by most pupils, or at least they know they exist.

    You could insist on certain manners for volunteering answers, I often use random name generators to avoid any calling our or shouting. It's fun as well as a discipling tool.

    Above all, be enthusiastic, firm, fair and enjoy being in the classroom.

    I wish I was mentoring and NQT this year, but our department is quite secure and no-one is losing.
  8. <font size="2">Sarah </font><font size="2"> The replies have made me chuckle in places (benevolent dictator :) but all seems good advice. I am NQT starting in September also and think the scariest bit is that it is your rules and choices that will set the tone for your classes. The best bit of advice I got last year is to decide what you&rsquo;re comfortable with and go with it. I have tried discussing rules and it worked ok but tends to drag on a bit and pretty much get to the same list you would construct anyway. So I now have one slide that lists about 5 points of rights and responsibilities. I am also trying a printed sheet stuck in their books that states the ground rules in a little bit more detail. I have seen this on teachers TV and can't decide if it&rsquo;s a good idea or not, but have decided to give it a go.</font>
    Good luck

  9. For the first term I would really go for firm approach. Dont go for bossy, but you must appear confident, and organised. Make sure you are 100% clear on the schools behaviour policy. At the end of the day you can go in being an expert in your subject and habe lots of fun activities, but if the kids sense your not 100% sure re policies or that your new to teaching, they will try to challenge you. When the first one does challenge you, you must be confident enough to use the behaviour policy and make a few examples, and set out your stall.
    Make sure in your mind what routines you will have, follow these routines for every lesson i.e. where the kids sit, how the lesson will start, do u want them to line up, hands up etc. It will take about 6 lessons of you being firm and consistent with this to train the class to how you want them.
    Decide what key behaviours you dont want to see and consistently pick on/sanction these. For me I always bang on re uniform, I wont let students speak when I am speaking, students mustnt leave seats without permission.
    I would definitely have a seating plan, and base it probably alphabetical, boy/girl. The kids will ask, moan, but you can say this has been done because the class is new to you and it will help u learn names.
    Be firm fair and consistent. The kids will respect you and buy into you as their teacher.
    When I first started, I didnt do this, I didnt know school behaviour policy, and was told they were lovely and to be nice to them, I got killed for the first 2 weeks, then it took me till Xmas to get it back. For 1 of my year 11 classes I never got them with me the whole year, because they didnt believe in my ability in those first few weeks.
    Hope this helps.
  10. A really helpful thread. I particuarly have to establish my authority with my classes as I struggled with this last year.
    I was thinking of doing ice-breaker tasks to get the kids going on lesson 1 before their topics start the following lesson. However, if this seems a crazy idea then please do tell me so! I can do the letter to their future selves or to me, hopes and fears....any lengthy writing task really.
    The insight about them being ready for structure rings some bells from my school days. I was quite bored by the end of the holidays and ready to be given work to do.
    Hmmm...I will have to think about this. Last thing I need is to lose them all on the first lesson because I let them have fun!

  11. josiejosie

    josiejosie New commenter

    I'm starting my NQT next week and have planned the first lessons with an icebreaker type starter, short rules/expectations discussion then moving on to the topic for the remaining majority of the lesson.

    Think its important to stamp your authority on the class from that first lesson, and show your expectations are high in regards to class work. As my subject (textiles) can be pretty fun anyway I'm expecting the task to be enjoyable for them. I will also be setting homework!

    As you say, a lot of them will be bored from the holidays and all the icebreaker activities they'll do might get a bit dull for them!!
  12. jarndyce

    jarndyce Occasional commenter

    Interesting that a lot of people have said don't overdo the whole "setting rules" thing. I'm inclined to agree - I won't spend more than 5 minutes on that.

    What I will keep doing is having the seating plan on the projector as they enter in silence. For most year groups, the silence will continue for the rest of the lesson as they'll write me an assessed piece - which will also really help me to find out their strengths and weaknesses (perhaps easier for English than other subjects). I also do "My strengths and targets from last year" or something similar, like the Hopes/Fears already mentioned.

    Year 10/11 might benefit from a short talk on the GCSE course - project, talk about, and perhaps hand out your long term plan for the year. They might already have got it in an options booklet or whatever, but seeing you talk about it will make it very clear that, new or not, you know the course back to front and you're in charge. You can link it to expectations - "as you can see, your first controlled assessment is before half term and you'll be covering more than 50% of the course this year".

    I tend to mention one or two 'motivating' examples of students from the year above who have done really well due to hard work and perseverance - eg, one pupil who started off Year 10 with Cs and finished with two As at GCSE.

    I wonder, by the way, what people mean by "icebreaker" activities. I wouldn't, apart from with Year 7s new to the school. You should easily be able to develop a relationship and rapport with students as the weeks go on, and I don't think there is any need to specifically plan activities to try to hasten this.

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