“A poll of 814 teachers, conducted by ATL and published last week, found a third had been hit or kicked by a student in the last academic year.”
When I chat to my students about their behaviour at school, I am always surprised by how often I discover that these little angels can be quite aggressive in the classroom environment.
I get the impression in many cases that teachers are struggling to cope with the need for extra care and attention.
Every situation is different, and despite how it may appear to students sometimes, many, if not most, teachers are able to identify the children who have genuine reasons for their aggressive behaviour, their lack of attention, their inability to do homework. But this understanding does not always translate into enough support for those children.
Teachers are educators first and foremost.
While there appears to be a growing expectation that teachers can make up for the damage that students may suffer from disfunctional family environments, this isn’t always realistic. Schools have recognised this and do try to provide pastoral support, in addition to teachers, where necessary. Schools also work closely with social services to support these children, but again this can never be quite as good for a child as a positive family environment in the first place.
Many children, the majority, fall somewhere in the middle. Some have two working parents, or split their time between two homes, and two families. There is no escape from peer pressure and bullies, now that texting and social networking tools invade their lives through mobile phones and laptops. There is no question that children, and schools, are struggling to handle the consequences of these advances.
Tutoring provides one-to-one attention, both academically and pastorally, that schools are not resourced to provide. A good tutor should hope to be a positive role model, developing a trust with each student that enables the student to feel secure. Only this way can a tutor hope to help the student to grow in confidence and ability.
Having a pencil case stocked with the right tools is a great starting point.
At school, it ensures that valuable learning time, when the teacher is explaining a new method for example, is not wasted whispering to friends, asking to borrow a pen, or a pencil, or a ruler. At home, it ensures that homework is quicker to complete, with fewer delays rooting round the house for bits and pieces.
Essential items that every student should have in their pencil case include:
- 2 pencils (preferably use retractable pencils to avoid the hassle of sharpening)
- 2 pens (one black, one blue – buy rollerballs if possible)
- 1 eraser (Maped are very good quality)
- 1 pencil sharpener (unless the pencils are automatic)
- 1 30cm ruler (shatterproof)
- 1 GCSE level calculator (preferably the Casio FX85GTPlus, or similar)
- 1 protractor (preferably 360 degrees)
- A pair of compasses with suitable pencil
Having the right tools increases confidence, and self-esteem. It reaffirms in each child, the notion that learning, and studying, are important. By starting to take responsibility for bringing the right tools to school, students begin to take responsibility for their own learning.