New Year Teaching Resolutions – Super kids!

Here are my New Year Teaching Resolutions. Comment about what yours will be below.

The first is to find the time to become a daily blogger. It is a really fun activity which focuses my mind and builds up my creativity. My target is to complete this task and blog daily for a complete 365 days non-stop. I’m great at starting online projects but terrible at getting past a certain level before calling it a day and stopping. Every day I make my students journal and so it is only fair to try and do the same.

Another New Year Teaching Resolution I want to get all my class into reading and fully understand comprehension. My aim is to give them very short, focused reading tasks on a daily basis and get them all to the correct level by June. This is trickier than it sounds as my timetable is jam packed. In addition, none of my students have English as a first language and half have some sort of learning disability. But as they say, only by reaching for the stars do you avoid having a mouthful of dirt.

New Year Teaching Resolutions include inside and outside school ideas.

I need to get back into my daily fitness routine. At the moment it is cold and dark at 5.00, when I leave my school. As you can imagine, walking for an hour next to densely packed fancy cars all the way home isn’t something which warms my soul. Bug then again sitting on a bus both ways each day is doing terrible things to my waistline!

I want to find new ways of making a secondary, passive income. I tried to become a world famous Youtuber but it is a lot harder than it looks. It requires total silence in the house and never worked for me. Writing daily on my wonderful Samsung A20 phone is working out a lot better for me.

Everyone should be growing something for personal happiness.

I want to get into my gardening in a lot more serious way. Last year, as I tried to become a world famous Youtuber. I didn’t spend nearly enough time playing in the garden as I made videos. This year I plan to really. Really really get my garden up to scratch, full of flowers and butterflies.

I want to get the work-life balance right. A major aim I have is to write one post a day. Ironically I must also try to resist the temptation to write constantly. My creative passions sometimes overwhelm me. I sometimes get work-life-blogging balance wrong.

Another time management task I want to improve is I I plan to keep on top of all my marking, planning and administrative work. I also need to keep on top of all my teachers’ administrative work. This is rather a tall order, bug I will try my best.

I want to find the time to also complete more online training, develop new links to other schools and meet new people. To improve my role as a school leader, I want to network and market my school (believe it of not, I’m rather reserved in real life and so struggle in these areas).

Getting kids to love maths is just fun for me.

I plan to continue to learn and develop my skills as a primary school mathematics teacher and encourage my kids to get ever more involved in their own learning. My class has three levels of learners and I want them all to become a lot more independent.

As if this wasn’t enough, I would like to also have the time this summer to simply stop. Perhaps watch the flowers grow. I’d like to enjoy doing absolutely nothing. Perhaps a beach holiday and get back into reading lots of kindle books. Maybe even find the time and energy to write a few of my own.

I need to find more time in the evenings to develop my social side. I would love to become more socially active, visit more restaurants, travel and go to the local comedy theatre.

As I have lived in Romania a very long time, I would live to be able to get my citizenship here. This is quite a tricky job as my spoken Romanian is terrible. This because I am too busy on my 101 other dreams to sit down and master the grammar I need to know to do this.

However my much shorter list of New Year Teaching Resolutions is as long as I am healthy, loved, love and have enough money for the occasional treat, I am sure everything else I do will be just fine.

I wish all my readers a really happy, successful year. I look forward to hearing about some of the things you plan for your New Year Teaching Resolutions.

Mistakes New Teachers Make – Top Tips

Mistakes New Teachers Make - Top Tips
You can be great in your own way.

Mistakes are positive – it means you are learning.

Let me tell you about the mistakes new teachers make. I have been teaching since 2000 and I have made every teaching mistake in the book. I have learnt from each one, and I have moved on as a better teacher after each mistake.

Oddly, when I review new teachers working with me, I get to see at least a few of them in other teachers. I use my own experience to guide my fellow teachers along and become better teachers.

Mistakes New Teachers Make – Not Being Hands-On Enough

I have been focusing too much on paper questions. However, this year I have been a convert into much more hands on maths teaching. My kids now have counters, beads and sit on a big carpet and work in groups. This is a complete contrast to when I simply focused on the nuts and bolts of maths and overlooked putting the learnt ideas to practical uses.

The first mistakes new teachers make are over the quality, quantity and frequency of marking. In my early days, I would lead the class, walk around the classroom and we would all pretty much have identical work in our books. If we have identical work and I am overwhelmed with planning… I would focus on fun lessons and planning. A big mistake as pupils need marking. And of course, 39 kids work quickly build up. I now mark regularly, correct all their errors, and send the work home regularly. This let’s parents see exactly where children are on a regular basis.

Another set of mistakes new teachers make are taking assemblies not seriously enough. In many schools I have worked at, a regular class assembly was a key feature of the work, cameras, parents, the works. However a teacher needs to also keep up to date with all their topics, science and curriculum work. The key trick is to pull out from these experiences the skills in drama, public speaking, art for props and general confidence boosting as a reason it is all worthwhile.

Mistakes New Teachers Make – Top Tips – Don’t start an Educational revolution in your first year…

Also believing a single idea will change the world each idea I have had has been based on making the world better for teachers. Some have worked better than others. All worked for a bit before someone had a bigger, better idea than me. A few even resulted me in being threatened with unlimited legal action if I didn’t stop. Ironically that came from an educational charity letting all their products being available for commercial use … and me misunderstanding the small print.

Another set of mistakes new teachers make is to gossip with colleagues about people more powerful than yourselves. You think what you say is being said in jest. In reality you can be certain in every social group there is a true snake in the grass. Your jokes will be repeated directly to them, out of context of course and make you look like a totally disrespectful Jack-ass. Then you will be simply replaced in September for no reason. I agree with this policy however as a negative teacher can poison a school far quicker than a positive teacher can lighten and energise a school. Keep this banter to family and non-teaching folks and definitely off social media.

Your friendly headteacher is not your friend – he can’t afford to be.

The mistake new teachers make is to think your big bosses as your friends. They are not. They are friendly towards you, but only while you are helping the school move in the right direction. That is the difference. They can’t afford to lose objectivity in their judgement over you. If you start moving in a direction which is a detriment to the school, expect no favours. The horrible roles of the headteacher are making sure children respect child safely and protection and also that the quality of the lessons and marking remain high. Why did I say it was horrible? Because this is one of the areas involving a boss being a boss and not a friend and taking actions a friend wouldn’t.

The big mistake I never have made however is that of not trying. Trying and failing is so much more fun that not trying and hence not failing and not learning in the process.

What are your worst mistakes you have made and how did you fix them? What other common mistakes new teachers make should I have listed? Please leave me a comment below.

Stop Thinking Small – The bigger plan the better!

Stop Thinking Small – aim for the stars. Big plans, big dreams. Comment below about your big dreams

Stop thinking small – live with passion.

I have spotted a problem with many teachers. They sweat over the small things and miss out on the big picture.

If I asked you what made your school special? What five values does your follow and uphold? Would the kids be able to agree to this list? The idea is to get the school to think ever bigger… if you have an idea and it works in your classroom, do you scale it up across the school? Can you scale up a dream across your whole community and perhaps link into other schools? This is thinking big.

Stop Thinking Small – Focus On The Whole Teaching Team.

Many schools focus on the problems of just one teacher. Stop thinking small. If the teacher is poor, they might leave. Instead focus on whole school happiness and career development. Rather than focus 95% of thought on one teacher, focus on spending 5 minutes a day catching the rest being good at what they do. And acknowledge your thanks often to them in sincere and honest ways. A friend tried that once with me – he tried too often and it lost its sincerity.

Likewise, don’t focus on a single school policy – focus on the whole package and how they are interlinked and support each other. The five values you think your school possesses should shine out throughout these policies. Likewise, if I were to walk through your school as a visitor, these 5 values should be clearly apparent for all to see in both words and deeds.

Dream Big – Dream Of Being Ever Better!

You should also be thinking about how to turn yourself into an even better teacher. Naturally anyone reading my blog is an awesome teacher just for visiting my site! Stop thinking small, think of really cool, challenging ways to become a better person as well as a better teacher. I am currently doing this by setting myself two challenges – the first is to write a blog post, each and every day, regardless of anything else happening in my life. The second is to successfully grow from seed as many different shrubs and trees as I can in one year. I have always, like most people given up a project within a month of two, and only ever bought trees and shrubs as wooden sticks with roots.

The problem being with people who think small, their life achievements will always be small. They will settle for second-best. Ford, the chap who invented the car production line, said whatever you think, you will become. So I’m now telling you to stop thinking small and start dreaming big. Dreams and lot of hard work (with a touch of luck) happen every day. You need to learn to enjoy them before moving onto ever bigger dreams or you will never be happy. Happiness will always be one project away and it will kill you.

Teach Your Kids To Deam Big!

It is equally important to teach your class, regardless of age, to stop thinking small. They must be big, bold and challenging in all they do. If children think small, they will never discover their true potential. They will never discover that taking risks opens up whole new areas to them. As recommended by the author of the Elephant in the classroom, your class should be given big, exciting whole-class maths challenges. Everyone in the class solves part of the problem.

Likewise, when people talk about solving the climate crisis, tell them to stop thinking small. Here is a funny thing. If we all focus on personal ways of reducing our carbon footprints, nothing will be solved. The real perpetrators such as the oil and food industry will continue without thinking. The transport industry is reliant on huge takers, belching out tons of dirty carbon clouds. They will twist the problem onto you. They will make you feel that you didn’t do enough to stop the crisis. By thinking big, governments could change the world. They won”t. They could.

Answer these three questions and life gets easier…

By thinking big and making major changes, you could build up your perfect school of the future. You could become a school which does everything you dreamed of. There could be flipped learning, a fully integrated curriculum, based around topics kids want to learn. It could become a slow learning school which really digs deep into the pools of learning. However, for all this to happen, you need to do one simple thing. You need to stop thinking small.

Guilt in the classroom – How to deal with it.

Teachers suffer from guilt in the classroom on a daily basis. Comment below on some of your guilty feelings. Guilt just means you are alive and human, everybody suffers from guilt in someway.

How to stop feeling guilty about work

Teachers are generally wonderfully open people. People who put in the extra effort. They tend to meet and deal with societies problems in ways that no other professional does. It is easy for guilt in the classroom to seep into other parts of life. It is easy to feel bad for others when you listen to people suffering extreme home lives. However, teachers must fight the feeling of guilt. You must remember that you are where you are due to the intense effort you put in for years and years to achieve. Remember how you and your family made huge sacrifices to get you through school and university. You have the right to be here. Never forget this simple fact – you earned your place in society and should not feel guilty of living the good life.

Guilt in the classroom – Why did you get the promotion?

The same goes with internal promotions in school. Unless you went out of your way to vindictively wreck a colleagues chances, you were chosen to lead and promote a school area over them. You cannot feel guilty about your success. Your skills and experience won through.

However, guilt in the classroom will continue to knaw at you. You will ruminate over it and this guilt can take over a large part of your free time, as you continue to worry about work related things. There is a simple solution. You need to change your feelings of guilt (a negative feeling which does constantly trigger the stress response), into a question with an answer. So if you are feeling guilty as you don’t spend enough time with you child because you have so much to do. Spin this into a question. How can I make scheduled quality time to play with my kid. Ironically there is a solution a titan of advertising taught me, just say ‘yes’ to everytime your kid wants to play with you. Drop everything. For 10 minutes they are yours.

Saying Yes To Fun And Stop Feeling Guilty

How does your guilt in your personal life affect your day job?

Your guilt in the classroom could be linked to your old love life. For years I felt guilty over how I had treated an ex-girlfriend. I was emotionally immature and young and while she was more emotionally mature and wanted different things from the relationship. She saw me as a life partner, I wasn’t ready for anything like that as I was re-writing up a PhD.

For years I felt guilty that somehow I’d made the wrong choices which was ironical as my life I did and do lead now is fabulous. I went on to meet and marry my perfect woman. However the guilt of the past haunted me for a long while. Eventually we reconnected on Facebook and it turned out my guilty feelings of betrayal were only in my head. She had never viewed me in the same light I had cast myself. She had gone on, met her perfect man who aforex her to bits and has 2 kids. Sometimes the solution to guilt is to go back to the scene of the crime and talk openly about your feelings.

How to deal with the guilty feelings of children.

Children suffer from guilt as well. They wonder why we have everything in life while other kids elsewhere have nothing. The focus on the environment makes children feel guilty. Knowing that if you don’t recycle a bottle, it will float off into the ocean and kill sea life. The solution for their guilt is a slight change in their own life styles. If they live the best life they can and live as environmentally sensitive lives, all will be well. I remind my kids, even in the bible Jesus says there will always be the poor amongst us. I also point out that by studying hard and getting great jobs, they can become part of the solution to any problem they currently feel guilty about.

Zen Den For Feeling Happy And Healthy

Guilt often relates to things you didn’t do. This is the toughest form of regret. It is demanding you should have seen correctly into the future. If I had done this, now the life of my children would be so much better, if I had taught this, my students grades would have been higher etc. It is easy to forget that at the time you did something or didn’t do it for a purpose. It could have been that the Christmas show swallowed up your time, or you were suffering a personal crisis and just didn’t have the time to be perfect in everything you do.

If you purposefully did something wrong and now feel guilty, then fix it!

Guilt in the classroom can come from nasty things you purposefully did to your teaching colleagues and now regret. Confessing now might ease your guilt but would it solve the problem? Just make sure in the future, you avoid being in such circumstances again. Change your professional attitude to people and work. Help them recover lost ground. Start talking nice things about them to senior management. There is little else you can now do.

If you feel guilty about having to report issues with your colleagues such as child protection issues or other work issues which resulted in them being fired, then you can’t feel bad. You had to do your best and while it is unpleasant to do, you have saved others in the process.

Guilt can also come from actions you regret. Again, remember at the time you either didn’t know what would follow or you did it for the best of reasons. For example you might have voted Brexit and now regret it. You may now feel guilty for the impact this will have on your school, your life and the life of your students. Students will simply have to find a different way to working freely across Europe. You used the information you were given, and made a decision on the ‘facts’ you had – don’t feel guilty if the ‘facts’ were inaccurate and you made the ‘wrong’ decision – you cannot change the past . Both campaign groups lied to you in one form or another. And from the information you got, you did the best you could. Remember – you can only do the best you can, with the information at hand.

Guilt is your reaction to getting an answer wrong – it is normal. Everyone shares these feelings.

This is true for any part of your life. You used the information you had to solve a problem. Sometimes the choice you made was wrong. Apparently 50% of choices made by senior leaders prove to be wrong, so you are in good company.

So relax. Enjoy your holidays. You don’t need to feel guilty about anything. Guilt is a negative feeling which you can’t do anything about. Apart from focus on the positive, resolve to help when you can in the future. If you feel guilty about past crimes, go back, reconnect with the original people and see that they don’t hold a grudge against you. If they do, then read my post on forgiving in the classroom and just let it go. Life is too short for guilty feelings.

How do you deal with guilt in the classroom, I would really appreciate it if you could comment below and share your experiences of guilt and how you overcame it.

Rising Star Mathematics Teaching Model

Rising Star Mathematics Teaching Model - Making Maths a lot more fun!
Rising Star Mathematics Teaching Model – Making Maths a lot more fun!

The “>Rising Star Mathematics Teaching Model is a great one to follow in the future. Please comment if you use Rising Stars in the classroom. This is my Rising Star Mathematics review plus this one (which is a more detailed version!)

I have repeatedly read a wonderful book called the Elephant In The Classroom. It highlights the problem the British Education system faces with maths. We are the only nation I know where people not being good at maths as something to be proud of . They explain they never liked learning maths and it was never useful in their lives.

Rising Star Mathematics Teaching Model Organized Into 5 Different Types Of Activities.

Maths does have an image problem. It is too dry and too much drilling. The book explains this does not need to be the case. Maths can be taught through creativity and problem solving. The Rising Star Mathematics Teaching Model agrees with this. There are five types of pages in each chapter.

The first page is the introduction to the topic. Rising Stars Mathematics is all about putting things into a context. It is designed to show your children why what they are learning is important in their daily lives.

The next style of page is the teacher discussion page. Before each set of exercises, there is an introduction to the skills needed to complete the tasks. It is also an excellent reference tool when children want to double check a way of solving a maths question or maths specific vocabulary. It is well laid out, colourful and perfect for my students who are learning English as a second language.

Children then have four tasks per question page to complete, plus extension. They start with some simple repetitive tasks, often with concrete resources such a counting sticks, counters and physical shapes.

Then progressively, the questions move from a basic abstract idea to an applied challenge such as I draw 4 lines, what is the largest number of intersections I can make?

The following type of page is my kids absolute favourite. It is the board games linked to their learning objectives. Each game has 2 variants to try, followed by the students creating and explaining their own games.

The end of the unit “And finally” pages is where the assessments are…. ” . The students independently complete this to assess their understanding. Again the questions are mainly hands-on practical based. The children apply the knowledge they learn in earlier lessons.

Any Maths scheme worth its salt also has an extension and consolidation book.

The scheme extends even further and includes a set of student workbooks they write in. I discovered that if you complete the colourful textbooks in class and set the recommended pages as homework, to be done with their parents, everything can keep pace. It is possible that British native speakers may work faster and complete it all in class. My class has a high percentage of children with learning challenges, some came to me in September with no English but absolutely all love this scheme.

Rising Star Mathematics Teaching Model curriculum comes complete with a teacher handbook. For this course, buying the handbook makes sure you get the absolute maximum out of every lesson. It also contains homework tasks linked to every lesson.

The scheme offers two formats – paper books or online content or both. The additional online resources mean that you can project a copy of the page directly onto the whiteboard and draw over it. It also means you can access more resources linked to the Rising Star Mathematics Teaching Model scheme.

Then comes the whole reason we bought into this scheme. It also has, as and added extra, the half termly (About every 6 weeks) maths tests. These questions link in exactly to the scheme and as long as you maintain their recommended pace all fits together nicely.

Half Termly Maths Tests Let You Know Exactly Where The Children Are.

These “>half termly test books are expensive. I found to my horror, as I borrowed one from the Year 1 class and after using it AND returning it ( honest, guv!), it vanished. The Year 1 teacher is one of these wonderfully tidy and organised teachers. Me on the other hand teach wonderfully but a little more chaotically, so when the finger of blame was pointing, I accepted it. This however helped make everyone else really, really take care of their books! I would keep them in one safe place and sign them in and out… but that is just me.

I would however buy these books from Amazon rather than the publishers website as they seem to be cheaper here. The prices also tend to rise and fall unpredictably on Amazon so if you see one on a decent discount, buy it there and then. Also remember you can use them again for several years to come (until you update your maths scheme again).

However There Is A Free Part – The Wonderful Maths Trackers

The half termly assessment scheme comes complete with a free downloadable spreadsheet from the Rising Stars publishing company. These are openable in excel. These are fabulous. If a kid is on track(mastery), the score goes green. If they are below track, (using the wonderful term “developing mastery”), the colour is red. There is also a setting for the high fliers who are beyond mastery and have an almost perfect score. You simply email your headteacher or senior management team the results in the spreadsheet. They can instantly see what is happening. It also has reports and let’s you know which areas the class was weak at and need more time and support reviewing.

Why Do I Promote These Resources?

I have decided to really push for other schools to get into the Rising Stars scheme as if simply outdoors its competition. We did try the free assessments from White Rose but these don’t match the curriculum. We also used Hamilton maths, a low priced high quality scheme but it has no books, only worksheets, PowerPoint and projected sheets. I personally liked it but it was impossible to keep up with the content… and I was only a Year 2 teacher then.

As you can guess from this post, I can honestly say I fell in love with the Rising Star Mathematics Teaching Model scheme and want to share it rather than simply be selling on a scheme. I do get a small percentage from Amazon for selling these books on my site, and I thought this was better use of my webspace than simply showing Google Adverts, which probably would pay me more.

Please leave a comment and subscribe to this blog. If you already use “>Rising Stars Mathematics, I would really love it if you could also share your experiences on this topic. Write your own Rising Star Mathematics review below!

Growing plants without watering in the classroom.

Growing plants without watering in the classroom. Save time, effort and water.
Growing plants without watering in the classroom.

I have started growing plants without watering them in the classroom please add comments about your plant growing ideas.

I love to grow plants in the classroom However, they normally die a terrible death at weekends and during the holidays because all the soil dries out. Our rooms are set to quite toasty temperatures all year round. This is lovely when coming in from the cold but not so great when growing plants.

Growing plants without watering by setting up a self watering system using string.

Watering with wick method

My first attempt at growing plants without watering failed. I set up two pots with a string down to the floor. The string went into a 5 litre bottle of water and through capillary action, water went up the string and into each pot. In theory, the water went up the string and kept watering the plants. What actually happened was some strings dried out and killed the plants. Other strings seemed to become water Express ways and flood the plants.

Testing homemade self watering pots.

Plan B for growing plants without watering was another internet sensation. You take the water bottle, cut it in half and turn the top half into the bottom half. You fill the bottom half of the cut bottle with water, and in the top half, put string through the upside down next of the bottle, then pack the next with material then fill the top hal with soil.

Self watering system for plants

Then you plant your plants and in theory, the bottom acts as a water reservoir to the top. The plants get endless water and everyone is happy…

A top top is to cover the water storage area in black paper to stop algae growing. The water can also go stagnant and smell. Never a winning idea in a classroom. When it comes to changing the water, you now need to lift up the top, and find a way to balance it on its neck while changing the bottom end.

Using 5 litre water bottles to trap water inside. Mini self contained ecosystems.

My latest solution growing plants without watering is better though far from perfect.

I bought a few packets of sage as I need lots more plants in my own backyard plus at school. They are already growing there and so survive my drought conditions (I don’t water plants due to mainly laziness, plus environmental reasons and the fact all outside water bills are paid communally, and I’m the only one with soil).

It’s in it’s very experimental stage. I worked out that I needed a 100% enclosed system. I discovered the perfect solution. My school has bottled water in every classroom. So we have a constant stream of 5 litre bottles.

My kids had a total ball with six empty 5 litre water bottles and a big bag of compost. We found if you take an empty small water bottle and cut off the end, it makes a great soil funnel.

We filled up the bottles to about 15cm and then I added as much water as I could without flooding it. Then we sprinkled seeds through the bottle spout and screwed the lids down as tight as possible.

The bottles wiil remain left on a warm, sunny windowsill. In 2 weeks time, when we come back, hopefully the seeds will germinate and start growing.

What are the benefits and problems of growing plants in plastic bottles.

The benefits of this system is when the plants start growing, all the water and nutrients they need are there. I am likening it to a model Earth. Nothing more can be added. The plants will add extra oxygen decomposition in the soil will add extra carbon dioxide.

The disadvantages are that as the plants are sealed into a bottle, they can’t add the air in the room. They can’t be touched or smelt.

To get the plants out of the bottles, I will cut open the plastic bottles and transplant the plants. I will do this when they are a lot bigger and more robust in the Spring.

The benefits of homemade mini greenhouses.

If this system works, I plan to go into full plant production I want to fully plant up the flower box garden along the fence. I want a sensory garden when some plants are herbs so smell nice in the sun trap garden. Others will be crazy climbers to cover the fence in mini cucumbers.

I want kids to get a passion for gardening and discovering that we can grow simple foods pretty much anywhere.

I read about a man who lived in the city of Colorado who managed to live for a year without buying food. He did however have to use 15 different friends’ gardens to achieve this, growing over 100 different types of plants and eating both deer road kill and go fishing in rivers and lakes.

The amount of time it must have taken him to survive could easily have been balanced out by getting a decent job, shopping like normal and donating most of his salary to good causes. However, this of course would not make as good a story!

I will keep you updated with my latest and greatest teaching ideas.

Forgive And Forget – A key classroom skill

Everyone says to forgive and forget. Comment below with examples about when you forgave and forgot in the classroom. Forgiving simply let’s you lose the negative, and replace it with some more positive.

Forgive and forget and move on with your life journey.

Everyone screws up. Not all the time (in general) but sometimes. These screw ups tend to increase when we are under pressure or trying to pass a deadline. As a headteacher, the unpopular role is to track down scewups and expose them. Followed by resolving them and after making sure the person recognises the issues and will not repeat them, forgive them.

My own career is littered with disasters others have bestowed on me. My first job gave me a wonderfully overpaid contract, then decided I cost too much and made my life hell so I’d leave. As an NQT, it is not hard for a perverse management to fail every lesson somehow.

Other school have insisted I created a company for their tax reasons. When i left, i left with a company which has proven impossible to shut down. I could go on all day… but you get the gist.

Forgiveness in the classroom let’s everyone move forward together.

However, in the classroom, all is totally different. Every day, every kid comes in on a fresh sheet. I put grudges and problems to one side. If the kid decides he or she will take a better tack in class, they are instantly rewarded with praise. Forgiving and forgetting is a part of the school ethos. It is a key lesson all children need to learn.

Children can journal their feelings of upset and how they will resolve the issue and then simply write they forgive that person. The students must learn that everyone, in all walks of life, make mistakes. Everyone needs and deserves forgiveness.

The weird thing they need to learn is a grudge is often very one-sided. Their opponent has probably long forgotten the argument, or is completely and blissfully unaware they had done anything wrong in the first place. The worry doesn’t chew up their soul and insides. Stop tormenting your own soul. Forgive. The best art is you never need if you don’t to..

Forgive And Forget – A key classroom skill you can use and practice daily in the classroom.

We do a daily Jamie ‘Peace out’ in our classroom. It is a wonderful daily 5 to 15 minute journey into mindfulness. She guides the class and helps them sort out their emotions. As she says, all emotions are good, all long as you are watching them from the outside. You need to let go of things which bother you.

Let things go – relax and be happy.

Forgiveness can be over small things or mind numbingly big things. Such as who is responsible for modern climate change? The parents? The grandparents? If they had taken real action earlier, then we would be on a better, safer and environmentally kinder track. Should you blame them? Most of us were wildly ignorant of the forecasts and issues when we were young. The curious part being, regardless of who is to blame, being angry now won’t change the past. Forgiving and moving on together is the only solution.

Parents need to model daily how they accept and resolve mistakes.

Parents need to also actively show their kids forgiveness and model how to .Forgive And Forget. My son smashed every screen of my kindles by mistake. The Kindld Fires seem more unbreakable. But I have always forgiven him. After all, being angry does not bring back a broken screen. And speaking of broken screens, his wrap sheet is very long… 2 lap tops and a desktop to boot.

By teaching forgiveness to my staff, I actively encourage creativity. I was taught one simple thing in life, if you are not failing and screwing up, you are not testing your personal boundaries of achievement or those of your class. Teachers should be allowed a 10 to 25% annual idea failure rate. More than this, and they have not put enough effort into their plan and built in fail-safes. Less than that, and the kids are in a rut, not exploring their academic limits.

Forgive And Forget – A key classroom skill

Stop Beating Youself Up For Past Failings.

Forgiveness should also be applied to oneself. We are our greatest critics. We are the ones who keep score of all our failings, disasters and mishaps. Did you know regret at not doing something is bigger than trying and failing. You also need to (as I frequently have to remind myself) need to remember that all those failings in your life are well spread apart with lots of goodness inbetween. Our brain likes to concertina our failings into one huge lump. Then it looks and feels like you are complete failure. The truth is completely opposite.

Forgiving yourself is the path to a happier future. Mistakes happen. I believe 99% of the problems in your life were not willfully done, they just happened. You need to learn from these mistakes, as I am sure you have and move on.

Regret of the undone is harder to bear than trying and failing. With the done comes experience of how to be better next time.

Likewise stop beating yourself up for things you didn’t do. I often wonder what other versions of my life would have been like. Marrying my first live from college, buying properties just before the boom, throwing caution to the wind and buying Bitcoins early etc. But none of these paths would have led me to you or you to me. I like my path. Every other path would have been different, but I don’t know if it would have been better.

You also need to forgive others. Especially if the wrongs they did happened before you. My youngest brother went down a very dark, alcohol and drug fuelled path. We all expected him dead before 30. But then he met the right woman and found his true path. She forgave his earlier excesses on the understanding they were in the past. Not present. You can do then same.

Forgive And Forget – A key classroom skill which starts with you forgiving yourself.

The first act of forgiveness is to write a letter saying you forgive them or an earlier version of yourself. You don’t need to ever send it if you don’t want to or can’t (such as forgiving a dead person( but you will feel the forgiveness unwrapping the pain and sorrow which is currently suffocating your entire being.

Do it today and you will see the difference immediately. Have a great day. As they say. Every story has a happy ending. If it doesn’t, it just means the story has yet to end.

Random Acts of Kindness in the classroom

Random Acts of Kindness in the classroom, home, beach - anywhere you can.
Random Acts of Kindness in the classroom and anywhere else!

My kids are constantly doing random acts of kindness in the classroom. Please write in the comments section acts of kindness you have seen.

Random Acts of Kindness in the classroom

My kids are without doubt, good kids, every single one of them. They go out their way to be nice to each other. I hold the idea that the primary school class reflects the teacher teaching them.

Children should be encouraged to perform random acts of kindness, every day, and then to journal them. This helps the class in lots of ways. Acts of kindness gel the class together. Journaling what you did and how your friend responded let’s you relive the happy moment and record if for some future time of reading pleasure.

Who should Acts Of Kindness be focused at?


Random acts of kindness in the classroom should play out at all levels, from between teaching staff, staff and children and children to children. I have noticed those teachers who help others the most, get the most help back in the process. For example, today I have a colleague off sick. I will give up my break to cover for him and make sure his class is running well. And to make sure the teacher covering both classes still has some me-time as well. This is what I do to help make our school such a great place. Both the teachers are givers in the system so get the benefits.

I saw wonderful examples of encouraging kindness in the class online. A lot are linked around Christmas time but this should be an important core value in every classroom every day.

How much do Random Acts of Kindness in the classroom cost?

The random acts of kindness in the classroom don’t need to be big or cost anything. All it takes to know that someone has seen you, knows your needs and cares enough to do something.

The acts of kindness I genuinely struggle with are when a teachers act of kindness removes a fundamental responsibility of the parents. These include making sure the kids have eaten a breakfast, are clean and have the basic materials needed to be in a classroom. Food in England is dirt cheap. Any parent who smokes or regularly drinks could equally afford to bring up and feed their kids in a decent way. Teachers shouldn’t be supporting the welfare of their students. By supporting them, they actually discourage parents doing it.

Random Acts of Kindness can be online

If your school promotes acts of kindness, it starts a trend. Children who are kind to each other and need to journal it, start to actively seek out opportunities to be kind and journal. This then makes them think about the natural environment and protecting this. From this simple start, your school starts to focus on promoting and teaching values.

By getting into teaching and sharing random acts of kindness, these can become a part of a child’s character. But only if these values are also in the home. A child’s family life will be a much bigger influence on them than you. But who knows, your seed of kindness may find a nook of human kindness in an otherwise uninspiring, rocky situation.

Be a tigger and bounce your kids into a happier way of living today. Also explore these lovely act of kindness cards – I bought some and love them. Also the catching them being kind cards.

Combatting Teacher Tiredness – Teaching Tips

Combatting Teacher Tiredness - Teaching Tips
Teacher Tiredness will affect you and your health.

Teacher tiredness is rampant. Are you tired? Please comment below I have only 8 children in my class. Only 8. Parents think I live an easy life. However, my 8 are all non-native speakers, 50% have learning disabilities of one sort or another. And I invest all my time in getting the best results out of each of them.

I am tired. Teaching is tiring. Curiously if I retire at 60, I will live until about 80 as a teacher. If I retire at 65, on average I am dead at 67… or some I was told… I could however live for a long longer . For this reason, I take avoiding tiredness very, very seriously.

I have my step counter on day in and day out. Just like everyone else, I know that I have to keep fit if I want to fight tiredness and keep the pounds off me. Being overweight just makes you more tired.

I also know walking has a magical effect of separating work from home. So this is another bonus. I admit that at the moment, I am busing it both ways as I have my end of term assessments to mark and have in on time.

Teacher tiredness means you need more sleep.

I also make sure I sleep well. My phone goes off early and I don’t look at it again. It lives in the kitchen. Latest research shows that cutting blud light in the evenings doesn’t help with sleep. Not using a phone and letting your brain just wander does.

Having open communication at work helps to reduce stress and teacher tiredness. I make sure all I need to say has been emailed so no-one forgets or misinterprets a plan. I also let people know when they do well or screw up. As headteacher, screw ups bug me as my rold is keeping the school going in the right direction.

Tiredness also comes if teachers don’t get the right work-life balance. Timetables can be squeezed to such an extent that they cease to be fun to do. I am personally for slow learning. This means deep and interactive learning rather than superficial learning. It is learning which is fun for the teachers to teach and engaging enough for the students to remember.

Tiredness all comes from poor health. I have read magnesium supplements work wonders. I tried evening primrose oil and it has a kick like a mule. You feel great. If was the slowly developing man breasts (evening primrose oil has the precursors needs for your body to make oestrogen). I’m currently on a dry months in terms of beer which is good for the body but I do miss my occasional pint.

A good way to beat tiredness is regular sex.

Weirdly, I have read that developing a good, regular sex life does wonders for tiredness. Indeed the effects are long lasting. It’s a case of just getting and keeping in the swing of things. Sometimes you need to actively make space for such things. Date nights etc.

Finding something you are passionate about helps fight teacher tiredness. Becoming a daily bus blogger has made a difference to me. Knowing one day I will hit it big, keeps me going. I am the Del Boy of the teaching industry. It is a bit of a running joke that this time next year I will have cracked the system and can retire as a writer… it has been as long as I have been a teacher… and still I am convinced one day it will come together. Optimism rules over all evidence in my life.

Make sure you enjoy your holidays and weekends.

Also making sure your holidays are kept as 100% holidays is key. This will provide you will more time to recover, energize and think of new teaching ideas. My best ideas come to me when I am not in the classroom. They come when I am walking, or playing with a new gadget or sleeping. My sleeping ideas are the craziest and slipperiest to catch hold of when I wake up. I have often convinced myself I’ve sorted all the environmental problems in an amazing way. These include make all plastic drinking bottles into Lego shapes so I can use them to directly build new homes or fancy greenhouses. etc.

Likewise enjoy your weekends and long summer evenings – school and work can wait. If you think teaching is too hard in your country, become an international teacher. Many UK teachers leave to work in sunnier climes and very few return to a life in the UK state system. I know won’t be.

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Positive Emotional Intelligence In The Classroom

Positive Emotional Intelligence In The Classroom
Positive Emotional Intelligence In The Classroom

How are your Emotional Intelligence skills in the classroom? Leave a comment below about your successful strategies.

You are in full control of your classroom. Your personality will be reflected in your children and their work. If you are a calm, organised person, your whole class will reflect this. If you lack meaningful control in your life, your children will be also much tougher to control.

They watch you like a hawk for 8 hours a day and pick up on your mood. They then reflect that mood back onto you with either a positive or a negative feedback loop kicking into place.

What is the 12 truths in life?

Your children’s mood reflects your own. You need to change this from beyond the classroom. The first step should be to make sure you have a good work – life balance. This includes getting plenty of sleep and relaxing moments. When you get stressed, your pheromones waft around the classroom. These are picked up and acted on by your kids. While they can’t explain it, they too will feel your stress and anxiety and not fo their best. This of course makes you feel even more stressed. Their attention and grades drop, your performance reviews drop… and so on and so on.

What is the alternative? Slow schooling. This is where you stop, take a step back and try to teach in a completely different way. The first actions are the simplest. Stop and look around your classroom. How much of your room is full of clutter, worksheets and general junk? Every day, devote just 10 minutes to a daily tidy and declutter.

Make sure everything in your whole room has a place and that everyone, including you, knows where this place is. The books must not be under desks but on the shelves. This makes marking simple.

Then focus on the walls. What do the walls tell you about your class? Are the displays something your kids are proud of? Is it recent or just handcrafted, ignored wall paper? Take down anything older than a month and replace it with fresh materials, current learning and ideas. Also remember more is less. I use to have my walls covered in words and found restricting displays to the display boards made them more effective.

Positive Emotional Intelligence In The Classroom Starts With You

Then look at yourself. How do you approach life? Does it support your positive emotional intelligence in the classroom? Are you a happy soul? If not, why not? Change what you can. Iv you don’t like the current management, find a different school. You can be sure, if you are a miserable pain in the butt, the chances are the school is already making their own private enquires about replacing you at the end of the year.

Next clamp down on favouritism. Your top pupils and lowest achievers probably such up 75% of your time. This leaves the vast majority of children underserved and ignored. You also need to focus on their well being. Make them the centre of your world for a bit.

The next key trick is to smile. Even if you don’t feel like it. Happy teachers make happy classrooms in a fabulous postive feedback. If you pretend to smile, your body gets confused and actually does produce more happiness hormones. Also a happy teacher is reflected in a happy classroom.

Blogging and Journalling will make you a better person.

Start blogging and journaling to support your positive Emotional Intelligence In The Classroom. Every day kids should be writing down all their feelings. This releases their pressure valve. Get them to write 3 things a say they are grateful for. They will start to actively look for these to write about. When you write about things which make you happy, you relive that moment. You feel happy all over again.

If you are at a total loss about what to blog about, like I use to be, you should search for daily blogging prompts. I have 365 lined up from WordPress. I read it then think about its underlying message. Then I think how I could take this message and repeat it in a classroom context. It has made such a difference to my day. I am now a fabulously productive “Bus blogger”. I just sit and write each day, every day on my daily commute. It has taken my thoughts away from the upcoming day and into another world.

Why do I do it? It guides me away from thinking about how to deal with problems with teachers whose actions lead to my involvement and onto more professional thoughts. It doesn’t matter where you are in your teaching career, we all have things to share. Even the newest, freshest teacher should be blogging and sharing their teaching ideas and moments. I even check out Instagram for more ways of becoming a better teacher.

Why should start blogging today?

Likewise, your blogging should be getting to the heart of you. Making money should only come later. When you have a voice people listen to, then you can change the world.

Teach your kids there are things they can change and things they can’t. For example, my wonderful niece spends her life freaking out about climate change and plotting radical action. It doesn’t make her happy. What does make kids happy is to simply live the life you believe in. My kids today will become gardeners. The idea is simply because I want to get my seedlings off my garden growing well and early. I have however seen that we use a lot of water bottles in school and so today we will build self contained ecosystems with the kids screwed tight on so no water can escape and see if plants grow. It will make them happy to watch. And costs nothing more than a bag of compost and some seeds.

So think about happiness. Think of simple ways happiness becomes part of your ethos. And random acts of kindness to your day and all will be well and your kids will bloom.