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I want the students and the school to like me.

As teachers we all want to create an atmosphere that encourages, mentors and unites our students in a rich, learning-centred climate. We do have the 'danger zone' to consider. That is the first few weeks of teaching a new class. Your concern during this time is to firmly establish some ground rules. The students need to understand that you are the teacher and as such are in control. You are friendly, but not their friend. They are learning in your classroom. Yes it is your classroom from the moment either you or they walk into it. You have certain routines that they must perform with a minimum of fuss e.g.:- forming groups or pairs when told to, standing up, sitting down, being quiet and listening, asking for permission. They must understand that no routine is optional.

Your job in these first few weeks is to model the ideal behaviour that you expect them to demonstrate, along with a strong emphasis on responsibility and co-operation. Zero tolerance if necessary.

Do not, at this or any stage of your teaching career, relate bad behaviour to a student’s personality. The two are very different indeed and once viewed separately you’ll feel more comfortable in accepting the student but not the behaviour. This positive non-rejection method is an important tool towards being an inclusive teacher.

Can you help me Miss Bishop? My twenty-hour online TEFL certificate didn't prepare me for this!

When I think about all the good teachers I've had the privilege of being taught by, I can honestly say that it is rare that I can actually remember what they taught. I can, however, remember the feelings I had about them when they taught or when I watched them teach. A teacher’s persona is often much more powerful than the most magical lesson!

So remember it's all about the students and first impressions count. As time progresses you can relax your grip as the students are now fully aware of your role and boundaries.![endif]--

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