Are You A Resilient Teacher? by @TeacherToolkit

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Resilient Teacher Stress


Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, and today, he is one of the 'most followed educators'on social media in the world. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of...
Read more about @TeacherToolkit

This is a blog about teacher resilience in the classroom.

“Come and ‘ave a go if you think you’re hard enough!”

Think you’re a ‘tough’ teacher? Even stretch to say you are resilient? Can you last 5 years or more in the classroom?

Well, consider this; do you have enough bravado to consider being deprived of key resources and strategies that you use everyday in the classroom? What’s your number one classroom asset?

traineeteachers Tough Young Teachers Resilient

Image: BBC3

In this blog, there are an abstract and relatively risky set of ideas for you to try in your classroom this term. It’s designed to be *fun* and take the Ofsted-performance pressure away from teaching, and put back a little bit of creativity back into the souls and hearts of all those who teach.

I’ve listed a number of ideas for you to ‘test your strength’.

Quiz yourself by setting yourself and your colleagues some of the following tasks. I bet you can’t complete the list in less than 2 weeks! …

Test your strength ideas: Date: Tick:
1.     *A surprisingly strong idea* My students don’t need any objectives today!
2.     What interactive whiteboard? You won’t see me using one.
3.     Drop all of your class rules for one lesson.
4.     Turn off all the classroom computers!
5.     No paper allowed…
6.     The students will teach the starter activity in each lesson today.
7.     My students will evaluate ‘my’ lesson.
8.     Post-it notes are banned for the week.
9.     Keep your classroom door open ALL day!
10. *Largely, a great idea* No PowerPoint presentations for the entire week!
11. Avoid the following words: Right. Okay. Listen. Now. Quiet. Sssh. Move. Please.
12. Do not use a red or a green pen…
13. Mini-whiteboards. Keep them out of sight.
14. Stand up. Yes, you! You are not allowed to sit down for the entire lesson.
15. Push all the chairs/desks to the outside walls and sit on the floor in a circle.
16. Worksheets. Not today. Not even for the whole week.
17. In this lesson, levels and grades are not to be discussed.
18. Invite 2 teachers into your lesson to observe you completing task 5, 7, 11 or 15.
19. The sink. It’s out of bounds for the day! Do not turn those taps on Art teachers!
20. Plan for your Teaching Assistant to deliver 15 minutes of the lesson.

(Tick off any of the above ideas when achieved)

Teaching Tip:

Do not set any detentions for the entire day. No matter what! Resolve the issues there and then. Avoid The Breakfast Club scenario …

the Breakfast club Detentions Saturday Resilient Teacher

Image: The Breakfast Club

Take it Further:

Why not set a challenge within your department and ask colleagues to complete 3 or 4 suggestions above in just one day? This will guarantee all students walking into your department will be receiving risk-taking lessons for the entire day. Fantastic! Throw out the rule book! Who cares what Ofsted thinks? …

Bonus Idea:

Teach with your hands tied together and keep them lower than your waist! This will encourage you to be more communicative with your voice and face, rather than rely on use of your hands! It may even encourage you to consider your teacher language more thoughtfully? After all, education is all about literacy …

tied hands Resilient Teacher

Image: Bennisinc

Why not photocopy/email this blog and share it with a colleague and have a race to complete all 20 tasks?

You can read more here.


12 thoughts on “Are You A Resilient Teacher? by @TeacherToolkit

  1. Classroom door? My classroom doesn’t even have walls it is a corridor and the third one I have taught in…. if you can teach when all around people are passing through. Does mess up “beginnings” if I don’t get into the class until after the students. No queuing outside and welcoming. Slightly better than the last “corridor” a tiny room which was the only entry to sixth form and an end classroom we introduced the “rule of invisibility” anyone passing through had to be ignored by the class because we couldn’t see them. The first corridor was the only way I could teach a new a-level course with four faithful students we “hung out” in a cloak room with no resources and somehow they all did well.

  2. Earlier this year, I interviewed for a new job. Having been able to support children in getting good or better progress for the last 5 years, I was feeling quite confident. However, sitting in front of the class I was to teach a model lesson with, I realised that it was never going to work for me. Why? Because I didn’t know the children. I didn’t know who would need verbal prompts to stay on task, who wouldn’t have had breakfast, what they were each personally working on or what would be a small, personal step of success for them in this lesson. And the list could go on!

    I recognised that I didn’t need a game, an interactive wb, a TA…. I just needed to know the children well enough so that I could move them on and make every minute of the lesson count for them.

  3. You should try my job. I teach children who are out of School but on register. Not the motivated ( My parents paid for me to tutor you kind) You teach on your feet, lessons go out of the window, I have to engage them on so many levels. I don’t have the luxury of a classroom, the boot of my car is my mobile classroom/toolbox. I teach up to GCSE, use an alternative curriculum and I am very inventive with Entry level work. I love the challenge. I keep playing around with the five min plan to fit in with my lessons. One day i will come up with a format.

  4. Love the concept of testing strengths . I’d like to use as part of a coaching programme I run. Is it possible to download your list in PDF or Word format to save me typing it out?
    Many thanks in anticiaption and for all the inspiration you provide for our community.

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