This is the way I see it:
Teaching is made up of a series of codes that need to be unlocked to ensure survival in the classroom.
The first of these is learning the kids’ names and I think I’ve nearly cracked that one. I don’t know every child’s name, but I feel confident that I can match at least 20% of names to faces in each class. This one should be in the bag by half term (he says naively)
Code #2 however is proving to be far trickier. In short, I need to get the seating sorted out. This will be achieved by trial and error – working out whom should be sitting next to whom, or not for that matter; where to seat the disruptive or weaker kids and finally, which places in the classroom are danger zones – i.e. the parts of the room where mischief will be more prevalent (such as corners or areas that extend beyond my eye-line) and where I should instead sit the kids whom I can trust to get on with their work independently.
I have discovered that putting together a successful seating plan is nothing short of an art-form. I’ve even had to resort to asking other teachers where they seat the same students in their classes. There are so many pitfalls to keep in mind that you need to seat and re-seat the kids until you are absolutely sure you’ve got it right, otherwise they will continue to disrupt/fight/avoid working whilst you watch your lesson turning into a mini-Iraq.
I’ve only discovered two codes so far.
Watch this space.