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Need help and tips for managing a large class

Discussion in 'Primary' started by viscoelasticity, Jun 12, 2011.

  1. I've been fortunate in my career so far in that I've never taught a class of more than 21 pupils, and in the last two years I've had just 18.
    The classes I've received have on the whole been very well-motivated and well-behaved. (I teach year 3 by the way.) The small numbers and consequent amount of individual attention given to the children must undoubtedly have played a part in making them so compliant. I've never had a big issue with classroom management, although I know I've had it easy!
    My school changed it's admissions procedures a few years back, so next year, I will be receiving a class of 30.
    I've been to observe them. They are extremely wide-ranging in ability, and very needy. A large proportion of them spend lesson time either trailing the teacher fussing and clamouring for help which they don't really need, or sit daydreaming/mucking about until an adult comes to sit next to them. They just don't seem able to button their minds down to anything, and won't even try without an adult. There was a small group who were on task, but they didn't get a shred of attention because the others were monopolising the teacher.
    The poor teacher just seemed to have too many children to deal with. I hear she is an excellent teacher, but she's still relatively inexperienced- in her 3rd year of teaching- and she's found it really hard to cope with this class, especially after the 'nice' classes that have come before.
    I know that loads of you deal with classes like this one as the norm, so I would be so grateful if anyone has any good ideas to share (routines, seating, organisation- anything!) that might help me get this large, demanding class under control!
    Thanks x
  2. cally1980

    cally1980 Established commenter

    I work with a focus group of 6 for every lesson, rotated around the class - so within a week I should have worked with each group in each lesson (Lit/Maths/Topic - not every curriculum subject). The rest of the children know that they should ask partner, then table before they ask me when im working with a group as we work best when uninterrupted (as reinforced and pointed out to persistent offenders when I work with them). For the last 10 mins before plenary I will then go round and check the progress on other tables. Children who have not produced work in line with their capabilities due to messing around of whatever have to redo the work in their own time and they know this, so generally I don't have children off task. I obv make sure they are all clear on the expectations and understand their task before setting them off to work independently though or it wont work. If work is differentiated with resources to support those who need it it generally works. Of course, it takes practise and at the beginning of the year some in the independent groups would slack off at times but now they tend to get on with it.
  3. 30? pah! try 37 for two years! I taught them from Y3 to end of Y4, and boy, did we have some tricky kids in the mix! From the very bottom, children with medical conditions that meant they had a mental age of 4, to the top- an incredibly gifted child who was working at Y5 levels and above.
    My secret to survival? Routines, routines, routines! Teach them early the boundaries e.g. not getting out of seats, hands up... and be prepared to stick to your guns. Have table monitors who can collect equipment, gather books etc. so you limit the number of kids who are moving around at one time.
    As for keeping up with marking and assessment etc- think about the tasks you assign each day. Avoid having 3 written tasks in the same day! Make use of mini whiteboards and teach children to self assess and mark their own / peers work. Have stickers or stamps for assessment- all my worksheets and instruction cards have the same 3 assessment smilies at the top, so they can always assess their own work.
    Apart from that, good luck!
  4. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

  5. Oh my goodness 37 in a class! That's the size of some small schools round here!!
    And as for 71... bwahaha!
    Thanks for the help, the marking is a good point. I find it hard to get it done at the best of times. Think I shall be investing in a self-assessment stamper!
    Anyone else got any tricks up their sleeve?

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