Improving my teaching

Today's post focuses on one of the areas of my teaching that I'd like to improve as a result of observation feedback. If I'm honest I don't get observed nearly as much as I'd like and ought to be. When I am observed there's always a danger that my position on the SMT will prevent people from being as candid as they ought to be.
The last time I was observed was by @oswestryschool's head of learning support. I'd asked him to come and observe a Y7 class that I'd found somewhat 'lively'. It had been years since I'd taught year 7 and the truth was I was out of practice. Teaching younger age groups requires a very different set of skills:

1. nothing can be taken for granted - they won't, it seems, start a new page, use a sensible pen or find out the date of their own accord
2. transitions need to be micromanaged - especially entrances and exits from the classroom
3. variety and pace - always important - are even more so in order to retain interest throughout and hour long lesson
4. seating plans are vital and need to be stuck to rigidly acceding to a seemingly harmless request to move nearly always ends in tears..
5. routines, routines, routines need to be established and then consistently and firmly reinforced

I thought it rather odd when I saw a matronly old-timer sternly eyeing up her charges as they lined up outside her classroom. In the past any classes I'd ever taught had come straight in and we'd got on with it. But I see what she was doing now, and she was a master at it. Young children need a level of micromanagement that simply isn't necessary higher up the school. I'll be working on these routines as I start back tomorrow. I'm teaching a couple of Year 8 classes this year and I'll be focusing on these basic aspects of my classroom management right from the off.

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