It’s the time of year to plan what I’ll do differently in class next year. How can I be a better teacher? What can I do to get the best possible start with my new classes. I’m sure I’ll write more about all those things another time. For now, I’m going to concentrate on that piece of advice I keep reading: let them see your personality. It’s great for building relationships.
This is not something I’m very good at. If you ask pupils about me I think they might know I have kids, I like physics and I read books. It’s like the most dull CV personal statement ever. The keen eyed ones also see the scar from a long term, long gone, lip piercing. I’ve considered this personality issue many times in the past and have always come down on the side of ‘show them nothing. It might be like showing weakness’. But I think I’ve got it wrong.
As I become a more experienced teacher (this is my 6th year in the classroom – 8 years teaching but 2 years out on maternity leave) and the teaching, planning, behaviour, routines etc are all confidently there, I can now focus on things like building relationships. I don’t naively think there’s a secret, easy formula for this, but I think showing some personality could be a good starting point. The teachers I see who seem to have the best relationships with students, and who seem to have the best handle on classroom management, are also the ones who do showing personality well. So it seems to me anyhow!
Here’s a selection of facts about me that may (or may not) help (and this list isn’t an exhaustive one containing all my interests. I don’t think all the radio 4 stuff has any chance of helping here!):
- I watch X Factor. Every year. I’ve never mentioned this to any student ever.
- America’s Next Top Model is my all time favourite series.
- I’ve watched all The Vampire Diaries. Some year 11s last year nearly spoilered a series I hadn’t seen yet. Did I tell them? no, I did not.
- I really like a lot of music.
- I really do love physics
- and reading
- I knit.
- and swear a lot (guessing this one will stay away. Of course it will! but I did start off my teaching career pretending my mum was at the back of the room so I wouldn’t swear. That should be my NQT advice 😀 )
- I like baking.
- I really am not interested in football.
Where’s my problem with this? Mainly, I’m a definite introvert. I don’t readily give information out about myself and I’m not a natural chit chatter. As anyone, who has met me, can tell you! So revealing any of this in a ‘normal’ conversation goes against my natural instincts (9 out of 10 for physicist stereotype in action). Next year, one of my key personal aims is to try and show more of my personality in class. How will I know if this works? I don’t know. But I’ll probably feel uncomfortable if I do this right 😀
P.S. While I was writing this, I read an excellent blog on advice for NQTs. It was inspired by the same tweet that was one of the things that got me thinking about this topic again:
I think the blog contains great advice and is why I am only just thinking much about building relationships now, after the rest of the classroom basics are sorted.
P.P.S. I feel like I’m using my blog as therapy. Posting this post feels like revealing too much! It’s therapy I clearly need 😉