How do we regain the balance in the classroom?

Winter has been a long time coming, and half way through the term. I was very excited to receive my official teacher accreditation card in the mail recently.

Pleased to know that I am now a Proficient teacher with a number. Just another one to remember and add to all the others: TFN, USI, passport number, credit card number, Medicare number, mobile phone number and the list goes on.

Also proof that I have paid my annual subscription and now must remember to register all the professional development that I participate in over the coming years.

Speaking to several colleagues in the staffroom during lunch this week it was interesting to hear the comment: “How well do you know the students in your classes”? Yes, we are half way through the year and I must admit that I do not know every student in my classes as well as I should.

When do we get time to spend a little time chatting and finding out about them? Do we know who is struggling, what is going on in their home life? Has there been a recent marriage break up, has someone close to them recently passed away or is suffering a serious illness? Why are they wearing the wrong uniform and what did they have for breakfast today?

All of these factors have serious impacts on their learning and performance in the classroom.

Teachers are so time poor that we just do not have that time in our daily schedule to find these things out.

Secondary teachers who are teaching several different classes of all levels are at a greater disadvantage as they are driven by the clock to get in, teach the class and then move on to another class.

This can happen six times a day, five days a week. Yes, teachers at all levels need more time – I am sure everyone would agree, but how do we regain the balance in the classroom?

We are driven by more and more administrative tasks, teaching to tests and assessments. We need to give ourselves a few minutes each lesson to get to know our students.

We need less pressure and the ability to encourage learning for enjoyment, simplifying processes and procedures, and making the classroom a more inviting environment by changing the furniture and learning space.

Over the next five weeks I am going to make it my goal to get to know my students a little better and to make every lesson an enjoyable one.

I hope that you too can find the time to do the same. Enjoy the rest of the term and the wonderful brisk mornings and cooler days.

Chris Wilkinson