Cracking the Hard Class

As a relief teacher, I’ve come across many tough and extremely challenging classes, taught by graduate and experienced teachers alike. Walking into, and taking control of the ‘hard class’ is one of the greatest challenges of my job, and I have learnt that there is no “one size fits all” approach. These classes are hard […]

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Responding to Student Anger

Anger is a confronting emotion for classroom teachers and students alike. Early intervention, a sensitive response, and teaching of anger-management strategies are critical to successful interventions. When a student gets angry, they can become aggressive or violent, and sometimes flee the situation. Each individual’s anger-response is different, and it is imperative that teachers know the […]

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A Focus on the Teacher’s Attitude, Actions & Management Approach

The classroom teacher’s attitude, demonstrated through their words, actions, body language and management approach, is the most significant factor in successfully working with challenging students. My father taught me that “when dealing with people’s problems, you need to lift the bandaid to understand why they behave as they do”. I believe teachers can play an […]

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The Importance of Active Listening

To build positive relationships with your challenging students, teachers need to demonstrate an active interest in their lives, really listening to their thoughts, opinions, interests and silences. You may only spend a few minutes talking to a student, but actively listening to them for those few minutes helps to build trust and mutual respect. The […]

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Get involved with Breakfast / Lunchtime Clubs & Activities

Starting out as a relief teacher in early 2009, I was surprised to receive a student’s invitation to visit the morning Breakfast Club. What I found even more surprising was that this particular student was a member of the infamous “Room 15”, a troubled Year 6/7 class about which I had heard no end of […]

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Relief Teaching: Chalk & Small Talk!

Becoming an Effective Relief Teacher In my first year of teaching, I have learnt that effective relief teachers: Work to develop positive relationships with students and staff Demonstrate sound classroom management skills, and Have a repertoire of instructional strategies and relief fill-in activities In my experience, the development of strong relationships has underpinned my survival […]

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Small Talk: “From little things, big things grow”

As a relief teacher, I am often seen wandering aimlessly around school playgrounds and ovals; playing games (football, hand-tennis, soccer), fostering good-natured AFL (Australian Rules Football) rivalries, and simply chatting with students. Many teachers are surprised to find that I do this in my own time (i.e. not on duty), yet it has proved to […]

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