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Are you a dissatisfied teacher? You’re not alone

Almost every day I read or hear of upset, stress and unhappiness amongst teachers and support staff.  They work in EVERY part of the education sector, so it isn't a reflection on any particular age group of learners.

It saddens me to know that these hard-working educators are stifling their creativity and (probably) not reaching the high levels of enjoyment in their career which they deserve.

Over the weekend I read an article in the TES  and which was uploaded to Facebook with many comments.  If that doesn't resonate with you, nothing will.

Last year, after discussion with a number of people who wanted to explore what life would be like post-teaching, many explained to me that they would like to know more about replicating my own training business.  In other words, become an independent freelance trainer.

So I ran a quick challenge over 8 days - "Concept to Course" - which was designed to focus the mind to see which courses...

An ADHD agony – fidgeting in class

Luke was feeling fidgety. He knew there were 2 more hours to get through, and it was hot in class and because of his ADHD he was already wriggling and squirming.  His leg had started jiggling and the rhythm was pleasing to his active brain, calming it a little bit.

He tried to retain some control, but he just couldn’t stop himself from twiddling with his lanyard. Flip, flip, twizzle it went.  Over and over again.  “Ahh, that’s better” he thought.

But his teacher saw this and told him to stop, which he did.

15 long minutes later the lanyard was out again. This time, it was snatched out of his hand and he was left wondering what his Plan B would be.

At this moment, Luke started to slip away mentally from this class.


Research has shown that people who display signs of ADHD can concentrate better when they’re allowed to fidget.

You need a tough skin

Teach and juggle behaviour?

Sometimes I ponder on certain circumstances which occur in class, and many times my thoughts wander off “what would I have done?”

It’s hard to think on your feet, to teach AND juggle behaviour – but it’s what we have to do, right?  After all, if you get the behaviour in check the teaching becomes easier.

So why is it that for some people it is pretty obvious how to manage low level disruption, yet for others it’s just impossible?

In fact, I’d go as far as to say that I regularly observe some adult responses that send a student onto the trajectory to orbit in nano-seconds.  Nobody wants, needs or likes this.

I call this ‘parental mode’.  I believe it stems from a fixed mindset about how we expect our students to behave, and then take the view that the student has directly attacked us when things don’t go well.

And...

25% need a Plan B

25% of teachers are leaving!

Last year, whilst speaking at several conferences, I met a large number of teachers who were just beginning their careers.   I loved their passion, ambition and positivity.

Those I met who have been working in the education system for a while were not quite so enamoured, and that includes Further Education.

In fact headline figures from the 2016 workforce census highlights a worrying trend that a quarter of teachers are leaving the profession within 3 years of joining it.  These statistics do not include FE lecturers, but I know it would show a similar story.

This means that there is a constant demand for new staff, trained teams, specialisms and an understanding of SEN in the mainstream classroom.

But worse than that, there are many highly trained educators looking for a new career!

A number of articles written in 2016 outlined teacher despair:

“I just want to do what I love without all the...

Behaviour – don’t mix up negative reinforcement with punishment

Behaviour in class

Skinner’s operant conditioning – positive and negative reinforcement – comes into play in many areas of our lives. Often without us even realising it!

Negative reinforcement is behaviour which is strengthened by stopping, removing or avoiding an undesirable or unfavourable outcome.

But to make this work in your classroom, consistency is the key. Recognise your own behaviour, do you sometimes negatively reinforce?

What’s the difference between punishment and negative reinforcement?
One mistake is when you confuse negative reinforcement with punishment. I’ve had many conversations with teachers who say they are ‘powerless’ because detentions and sanctions don’t always work.  But this is punishment, NOT negative reinforcement.

Negative reinforcement has several strands. It can involve a negative situation which strengthens a behaviour, or it might be that you pre-empt a negative by putting a plan in place to reduce the impact of...

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