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BUY THIS TO BEAT HITLER
‘Tom Bennett is the voice of the modern teacher. Everyone involved in education
wants to be the best they can be, to do all that we can for our young people, and
Tom gets ‘us’ as a profession . . . You will be a better teacher if you read this book!’
Stephen Drew, Senior Vice-Principal, Passmores Academy, UK, featured school on Channel 4’s
‘This is a book all teachers need to read, whether they be in training, newly
qualified or experienced. It contains a wealth of golden nuggets for being an
effective and efficient teacher, as well as providing an understanding of the
current context of classroom life. Quite simply, this is one of the best and most
useful books I have read about what we do, and need to do as teachers.’
John d’Abbro, OBE, Head of the New Rush Hall Group, UK and Headteacher on Channel 4’s
Jamie’s Dream School
And who am I to argue with telly’s super-teachers? I’m honoured that Mr Drew, doyenne of implacable intra-school justice, and Bad-boy D’Abbs, have even read it, let alone been kind enough to endorse it.
No cheap shots at educational Aunt Sallies this week; instead a shameless plug for my new book out this week: Teacher- Mastering the Art and Craft of Teaching, which launches on Thursday the 7th June 2012.
In my ‘umble, it’s my best one so far. The first, Behaviour Guru, was a straightforward selection of best tips in classroom whispering; the second, Not Quite a Teacher, was my interpretation of the NQT How-To guide. And now, this, the far-from-difficult third album. I like it because it’s closest in style and heart to my blog work, and a better representation of what I really think about education and the teaching profession.
Are you tired of the deluge of commandments that rain down on you like someone dropped two stone tablets on your toes?
Because as a profession, we’ve had a bit of a hammering lately. No day passes without some educational hard-on passing more and more prescriptive definitions of what we should be doing in the classroom. Sometimes I feel we’ve been boxed into the corner of a painted room. We’re beginning to lose touch with what it means to be a teacher, and not some slavish delivery mechanism for the latest fashionable box-ticking measure. NO MORE. Throw your Ofsted planning guide into the bin and chillax with this. When we think about what we should be doing in the classroom, our first thought should be ‘does this further their educational well-being?’ NOT ‘What would Ofsted think?’ The approval of an external examiner should be an extrinsic concern to our profession. And ironically, if you focus on being a good teacher for its own sake, you’ll find that the other quantitative measures of success are obtained incidentally.
YOU COULD ALWAYS BUY TWO IN CASE YOU LOSE ONE MY GOD CAN YOU IMAGINE HOW AWFUL THAT WOULD BE? BETTER BUY TWO JUST IN CASE
This book is my exploration of what it means to really be a teacher, and how we can improve as teachers. What it isn’t is prescriptive; it doesn’t attempt to tell you what the Platonically ideal teacher is. What is does, is tell you what kind of character traits will make you a better teacher. Rather than tell you what to do, it tells you what teachers should be. It focuses on you, not just on rules to follow. That;s the heart of being a real expert, I think. Teaching requires you to think on your feet and make instant, complex decisions. No guidebook can prepare you fo that. So I’ve created a series of exercises and tasks that you can do in order to push and challenge you as a teacher.
I wanted to write something that I thought really went to the heart of being a teacher, and not just tell you how I do it. I want teachers to realise that there’s no one perfect method to teach, and that anyone who tells you otherwise is mistaking their way for the only way. Discover YOUR way.
I’m very proud of it, and I hope you enjoy it.
Click HERE to buy Teacher
‘This is a deeply thoughtful guide to becoming a better teacher. Bennett’s book
is full of practical wisdom rooted in sound philosophy and long experience.
His use of virtue ethics is a masterstroke, cutting a swathe through the tickbox
and checklist culture so as to reveal the very essence of good teaching:
good character. The ideas and strategies Bennett provides are perfectly
pitched for the busy professional, whatever stage of their career they are in.
All in all, this is a book which gives the reader practical and effective solutions
to the question which everyone in the profession asks themselves: how can I
get better? The answers, ladies and gentlemen, are within.’
Mike Gershon, sociology teacher, King Edward VI School, Bury St Edmunds, UK
Some general behaviour advice for running a classroom. It’s not bloody nuclear physics, incidentally.
- You’re not dealing with rational adults. Many of them will behave selfishly, motivated by whatever gets a laugh, or boredom, or hormones. Rationalising with classes, while laudable, is mostly pointless.
- They initially value their relations with their peers far more than with you. So they would rather look good to their pals than please you.
- They know you don’t know them. Literally; names and faces will be a blur at first. See how long it takes you to realise this: that if you can’t put a name to the misbehaviour, you literally can’t do anything about it, unless you pin them to the floor with tent pegs.
- They’d mostly rather not be sitting at a desk all day, writing about the Tudors or Trigonometry. I don’t blame them.
- What they would like to do is sit talking to their pals, planning cruelty upon their archenemies, and possibly, getting a rise out of the new teacher for kicks.
|Oh for God’s sake.|
- If the class isn’t behaving the way you want, then you’re going to have to bring the rule of law into the room; your law.
- There will probably be a whole school policy on behaviour, outlining punishments you can use, and when you can use them. There should also be a reward system. The students will be familiar with both, so if you use them, then you show that you are an extension of the whole school teaching team, and not some pathetic loner student teacher that they can kick about like a tin can.
- Familiarise yourself with the names of senior teachers in the school responsible for behaviour and general ass-kicking. This might include Heads of Year, Form Tutors, Senior Staff. Don’t invoke their names willy-nilly, or they’ll realise they should be scared of them and not you, but drop them in from time-to-time to show you know who carries the naughty stick at school.
- Tell them what you expect of them, both in behaviour and work; you can do this by a short speech, a hand out, anything that shows them you have rules and you expect them to obey. Even if they disrespect this process, you have made a point.
- If anyone breaks the rules, take their name, give them a warning or a punishment like a detention if it’s serious enough, and inform them of your decision. Do not engage them in conversation on this point. I repeat; do not. The lesson will be ruined by arguments, and it’s demeaning for you to argue with students. Let them huff and puff
- If you set a detention, then DO IT. Be there, for God’s sake.
- Don’t talk over me
- Put your hand up to talk
- Wait for me to allow you to talk
- Treat everyone with manners.
- Be on time
- Bring equipment
- Do all work
|Independent learners, having their needs met.|
|Dewey: ‘I’m so sorry.’|
- Be tough one day and tender the next. Consistency is massively important
- Be Nasty. If you EVER say to the class that they are ‘horrible’ or ‘evil’ or- God forgive me- you ‘hate them’, then you will deservedly be poked with a dozen pointy sticks forever, in Hell
- Blow your stack at them. Shouting will get their attention, maybe even cow them slightly for a minute, but actually, after five minutes they realise, ‘Is that all she’s got?’ and your fury will be revealed as empty, hollow and meaningless. Besides, some of them will find it entertaining. But most importantly, it’s undignified and makes you look like an emotional fool. What would Sean Connery do- apart from shoot them? Imagine someone you respect as an authority figure. How would they conduct themselves?
- ‘Forget’ to turn up for a detention/ meeting/ chat if you are meant to be there. They will realise a terrible thing; that sometimes they can get away with misbehaviour. That’s as bad as never punishing them. Inconsistency will bite you on the ass.
- Turn a blind eye to something you normally punish. Just because you’re having a great/ tiring/ hung over day doesn’t mean YOUR behaviour should be any different to normal. See above re: inconsistency.
- Let them off with misbehaviour because you can’t be bothered to follow up. Do your job.
- Completely forgive their crimes because ‘they were good afterwards’. That means they can misbehave, then get away with it if they act nicely afterwards. Which means they’ll never be good all lesson. Of course, you can still reduce their detention/ prison sentence if they act really well, but never entirely rescind the punishment. There has to be some justice. You are the Law.