One of my favourite things to do is pop in on my tutor group. I like to check that they are meeting the high standards we as a school set for them, I also ask them to say “good morning” as they arrive and “thank you” as they exit. I check how they move around the corridor and once in the lesson I try to catch them getting it right. 

There is a massive advantage to doing this- it also means I get to see other teachers teach. Today I popped in on my colleague Ben Crockett. What struck me most was his speed at building relationships, he seemed to have names down almost immediately and he quickly got to grips with their personalities. It was a joy to see. He made a point of getting the pronunciation right on the more difficult names and dealt with all of the class with a great fairness. 

He started his time with them by helping them to achieve excellence. The first piece of work in their books will be a standard to beat. In helping them achieve this excellence he asked them to recall last years learning, which credit to their previous teacher was excellent, and then helped them structure a response that will most definitely build their confidence. 

The other thing that struck me was how often he praised. When subject specific language was used Ben was there to praise them, and when they remembered their previous learning Ben was there to praise them. 

Furthermore, he dropped extra terminology and knowledge; reframed incorrect answers with additional information and wasn’t afraid to repeat difficult content for those with lower Georgraphy starting points.

I was only in half the lesson, I could write more but we would t want Ben getting a big head! 

Perhaps some amongst you will see nothing remarkable here, but my tutor group were worried about having Ben. They’d only seen him running Geography detentions, and were unsure as to how the lesson would go. All anxiety dispensed in one lesson. They came to see me afterwards: pleased as punch. From this basis Ben can now challenge them to aim higher, more importantly, I feel, he can deal with behaviour from a solid foundation built on respect.