How can a teacher improve the time they spend with students during registration?
One of the most fulfilling parts of the job outside of my classroom was when I was a form tutor. As a school leader for the past 10 years and as my whole-school responsibilities increased, I had lost this important and enjoyable aspect of my job. However, in September 2016 when we moved to vertical tutoring, I was thankful to be a form tutor once again. It was great for having a closer relationship with 20+ students, but as a school leader and more importantly, it allowed me to understand how school policy impacted on the shop floor.
With all the planning you have to do for all your classes, it can be easy to lose steam as a form tutor during registration and not utilise the time quite as well as you might like. Teachers also get a mixed set of cards. Either they have an opportunity to nurture a group of students for several years, or they inherit another teacher’s class (when moving jobs or when a colleague leaves) and a replacement tutor is needed.
To help you out, regardless of your school context, here are 10 activities you could do in form time.
Hold a tutor group discussion or question time debate. Or you could try the Balloon Debate
2. Plan an assembly
Help organise teams to prepare an assembly, because otherwise you’ll probably end up doing it yourself.
Silent reading and sometimes structured reading group
4. Discuss current events
Watch a documentary, or read the latest news and discuss it in class. You can find tips on how to do that in 4 Tips for Talking to Pupils About Current Affairs
5. Project work
Complete a whole school or year group activity that has been shared with your colleagues. The benefits or project work is spelled out in 5 Reasons To Complete A Project This Term.
6. Do homework
Provide an opportunity for students to complete homework; after all, some students will either not have done it, or do not have the structured and calm environment at home in which to do so. Homework is often a controversial topic – what’s your opinion on the Homework Conundrum?
Hand out letters of praise, rewards, postcards, stickers or chocolates. (Chocolate only at lunch or after PM registration on the way home. Very important!)
Deal with sanctions, have pep talks and remind students of basic expectations and values. And if you have any problems with their behaviour in form term, check out these behaviour management tips.
Silent observation of peer relationships, particularly the vulnerable and unusually quiet
10. Get organised!
Administration: signing planners, collecting slips of paper, handing out letters, handing out more letters, sharing virtual learning environment logins and passwords, arranging meetings with parents, watching or taking part in inter-from competitions. You must be a good at tutor time administration.
And if you need some help with workload management – planning what to do and what not in form, or indeed in general in your job, have a go at using the 5 minute Workload Plan.
You can read 10 Great Form Tutor Tips for more information; this post been adapted from the book, Te@cher Toolkit: Helping You Survive Your First Five Years.