I was talking to a teacher this week and he was telling me stories of how exciting it had been to see a student teacher working with his class. It was that fresh enthusiasm and excitement new teachers can have towards experimenting with the variety of things that can be done in a classroom. The point he was making was how in the short number of years he had been teaching he had to admit that he had narrowed the variety of experiences in his classroom down to a set of activities that ensured the class were calm / quiet, and kept busy with their individual copies of the issued task.
From the outside, his classroom looked like a well-meaning, focused, orderly affair and would tick the core requirements of the job. This quiet and orderly environment had also become the classroom norm for the students. The teacher highlighted that issuing individual ‘busy work’ and/or teaching the whole class from the front were the easy parts of the job and other forms of activity meant more workload.
This chat coincided with an encouragement I had offered to all of the teachers in my school to look at the…