Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Back to school

Today was the first day back for all South African government schools! As the summer holiday came to an end, many teachers would have spent the last week doing preparation and planning, going into school and organizing classrooms so that when the children arrived today everything was ready and organized.
How did your day go? Was your classroom the caring space you wanted it to be?

The first week of the school year is where you, the teacher, sets the boundaries and the children begin to get to know you and you get to know them. For teaching to be effective and successful a relationship of trust and care needs to be developed with the children.

How do we achieve this? One way is to find out who the children are – get them to introduce themselves and perhaps ask them to tell you something interesting about themselves, for example – what pets do they? How many brothers and sisters are in their family? Or, ask the children to share something that they would like the class to know about them. These little ice-breakers also help us, as teachers, to learn a little more about the children we will be teaching.

Building the trust with your children is partly achieved by involving them in creating the classroom rules. They would also be more inclined to buy into the rules if they helped to created them.
One possible way of doing this is:
·      Divide the class into groups of 4 – 6 children
·      Get the groups to brain storm 5 class rules (give them a limited time)
·      Next step, each group to name and explain their most important rule.
·      Each group gets a turn to share a rule.
·      Once all have shared, ask groups if any rules have been left out that they felt needed to be added
·      Now group the rules.
·      Turn them into positive statements, for example: Don’t say: No cold drinks may be drunk in class Do say: Ours is a cold drink free classroom
·      Make sure that the rules reflect your school’s philosophy.
·      Don’t have to many rules, between and 5 and 10, and keep them simple.
·      The class should take part in all aspects of this process.

For the next lesson / day:
·      Type up the rules.
·      Make a poster to put up into the classroom.
·      Make the children’s copy, at the bottom of the rules add a section for children to sign agreeing to abide by the rules. You should sign it as well on each child’s copy.
·      These rules could be pasted into the child’s homework book. Ask the children to discuss the rules with their parents as well.

May your classroom spirit be caring and considerate for each child you teach! Have a wonderful teaching year!