I didn’t open my laptop for 2 weeks. Here’s what I learnt…

Recently I went to NYC on a holiday. Now, this was lifetime dream, dream come true, once in a lifetime kind of thing. I’m not new to travelling. I have lived overseas, London specifically, spent weekends in Paris and weeks relaxing in Thailand and backpacking Egypt. What I have found though, as I get older, travelling is still easy, but switching off is not.

I have become accustomed to packing for all kinds of ‘what if I feel like doing work’ moods I may encounter while on holiday, which is by far very different from my minimal, throw it in the bag, backpacking days. This means I take with me my laptop, tablet, kindle, phone with all the apps, notepads, journal, coloured pens, a few highlighters, even post-it notes!

This is great right? It means I am prepared to read, write, study, make notes, plan, brainstorm, send an email, all of it, whenever I like. Actually, it is not so great. This also means I am continually staring at reminders of the work ‘I should be doing’. You see, whilst I think I am prepared for the opportunity to do work if it arises, what I realised I was unconsciously doing was putting pressure on myself to do work when I really should be on holiday. See, not so great.

We all know there is reason for actually having a holiday, you get to relax, see new things, be with people you love, sleep in, go on adventures, eat great food and sometimes do nothing, but if your laptop is always there in the corner, looking at you and giving you gentle reminders that work still exists, your ability to be fully on holiday may be interrupted more than you think. The glance out of the corner of your eye, seeing it as you walk past, opening it only to tap on a few keys, all this does is increase the pressure you are putting on yourself to do work, and this is not a holiday at all! This was me, every holiday for the last few years.

You see, there is a difference between being on a holiday physically, and being on a holiday mentally. All teachers need a mental holiday as much as they need a physical holiday, you and I included.

The week before I went to NYC I got sick, incredibly virus-like, couldn’t get off the couch, open my laptop or even speak sick. It was awful. But it was also a sign, I needed a mental holiday as much as I needed a physical holiday. Even though I was physically sick, I knew this was my body’s way of telling me to stop. I was mentally exhausted, I had been working too much, too hard. I knew this because my last few weeks of self-talk had been something like ‘only 2 more weeks to go, you can do it’, ‘hang in there, 8 days left’. Only I couldn’t hang in there. I was done, and my body made sure of it.

During this week I knew I needed to make some changes. The first step was to ensure I would go on my holiday and actually have a holiday, mentally and physically, no laptop. This was actually suggested to me a few days before by my coach, but I just wasn’t ready to hear it. Now though, I was listening.

So, I made the decision. I was going on holiday, no laptop, no work, no email. Only books and a journal. That’s it. That’s all I took.

Now, this was hard for me. Really hard. At the start of my trip, I felt like something was missing, I even panicked a little going through airport security because I couldn’t find it in my bag, only to remember it was safe and sound at home. I felt a little sense of excitement at this moment, I was actually going on a real holiday, no laptop, no work, no email.

Boarding the plane was also a reminder of the lack of laptop, it wasn’t there to protect or lift out as I put my luggage overhead. It was at this moment something strange happened. Sitting down for taking off, I felt my body fill with some sort of sense of sensation, relief, calm, my body was releasing all the tension and stress I had been carrying with me about the fear of not taking my laptop. For the first time in quite a few years, I was going on holiday just for me, to be with my partner, to have fun, laugh, sleep, live, love, no laptop, work or email, and I knew everything was going to be OK.

It was in this moment I realised I had been missing out on so much. The rush, the pressure, the ‘what’s next?’, this is what I had been focusing on. Not the now, the present, the moment. I had been completely missing the now.

It was here I made a decision, a commitment to myself, give myself more time and space, to be me, to laugh and have fun, to read, to love, to be, to be present. I am not saying this is easy, it surely is a skill, and something I am working on, but without this thought, you are just going through life, and not actually being in it. Awareness is the first step.

Be in your life.

So, did I survive? Yes, I did. Everything was just as I left it when I returned, apart from a few more emails, nothing drastic though, nothing I couldn’t handle, the only thing difference was me. Me. Committing to change my life to be in it, not rushing through it. Being present in the now, knowing what each moment is for, living, loving and being in my life.

I know for some of you this may seem hard, and as I shared, it was for me too, but the thought of missing out on your life is harder. Put your laptop away, make time for you, set time aside to really be present at the moment, build the skill until it is a habit, until it is you.

Need help, I’m here with you. Reach out. Let’s get your life back.

Mention this blog for your free strategy session NOW!  

Person First, Teacher Second.

To our little student we are like celebrities, to our big celebrities we are simply there to serve them, the idea of having a life outside the classroom is simply impossible.

I recall a time early in my teaching career when I was teaching a 1/2 class. It was a Monday Morning, and usual for them to be happy and smiling when they saw me, but on this day one student was beyond the normal level of excitement, He was beaming. He saw form the distance across the playground ad came running over, grinning ear to ear. “Miss Green, Miss Green, Guess What? Guess What?” he shouted. “What is it?” I replied thinking he had some big exciting news, “I saw you at the shops on the weekend”, ‘You did?” I asked, “what was I doing?”, “You were buying your groceries” he shared with everyone around him. “Well I do get hungry” I replied.

In this moment it occurred to me, that for this student it hadn’t occurred to him that I might be doing something like buying groceries, that I might have to do other things or that I even leave the school grounds. Our little students especially have a perception that we live and breathe school to the point where I have even been asked where I sleep at night while a student looks around the classroom for my bed.

So how is that we are supposed to reduce the pressure on our selves when even our little people think we only ever exist at school?

Teachers are people too. In fact teachers are people first.

You are a person, before you are a teacher.

This is why you need to put you first, why you must take care of you, make time for you and  schedule you into your day along with your students, family and everything else.

The issue lies when we are faced with so many external pressures which expect us to simply be teachers only. To live and breathe teaching, to be on email 24/7, to have parent meeting at 7am or 7pm because they work during the day, to pack a lunch each day as there is no way you can leave school to pop out and get something, to make appointments and deal with things like the bank and doctors after school and weekends because making appointments during the day is just not an option. Every decision is made with you the teacher in mind.

But what about you the person?

This is where you need to do some work. You need to know you as a person; who you are, what your values and beliefs are, what you like to do when you are not wearing your teacher hat. Teaching is a big part of your life, but there are other big parts of you too that also deserve your time and energy.

Time to shine not just as a teacher, but as a person too.

5 things to do on school holidays so you actually get a holiday, and get your work done too!

Holidays are nearly here, we have been waiting for this, counting down even, yet the holidays as we know will be gone before we even lift those books to mark into the house.

Making a plan for holidays is as essential as planning your day, if not holidays end and you feel like you need another holiday just to get everything done.

So can you make sure you get the most out of your holidays, feel rested but also like you have achieved what you intended?

Here are my 10 tips for making the most out of holidays:

  1. Make a list (actually 2)

Holidays are about 2 things; relaxing and getting stuff done. The best way to ensure you get both of these things done is to make a list of everything you want to achieve. Why 2 lists? One for school related stuff and one for home/life-related stuff. If it is not on the list, it most likely won’t happen, or will loom over you when you are trying to relax and enjoy your time off.

 

  1. Plan out when the stuff on the list will happen. This is a simple case of ‘plan to fail, fail to plan’. I find there are two ways people approach this; either it is getting the list stuff done in the first few days and taking the rest of the time to relax, or relaxing first and using the last few days of holidays to get stuff done. There are also a small few who like to do something each day; maybe first thing in the morning or last thing at night when everyone else is asleep. For me, I like to have holidays all to myself so I work hard the week before school ends and once I finish up on the last day I am done. This is purely a decision you have to make for you and how you best work.

 

  1. Schedule the items on your list. It’s one thing to have a plan and know morning you are going to do something, or you have 3 days before you are off on a cruise so you must get everything done, but without a schedule, you are leaving most of it to chance and from my experience, this just doesn’t work
  2. You need a schedule for what you will do when, and this needs to be done in advance. Break the time you have into 30minute chunks and schedule in exactly what to do when, This way when you get started you know exactly what you are doing and you don’t have to worry about what to do once you start. No schedule is a recipe for procrastination and a great way to get distracted and end up doing nothing. Once you have your schedule you will be sure to be ticking things off your list.
  1. Add time to relax and take time off to your schedule. It is easy to think we have plenty of time in holidays to relax and recharge, but it can easily happen that holidays are gone and we haven’t really stopped at all. Plan in time for time off. It is that easy.

 

  1. Decide what you will do for self-care and relaxing. It is easy to say you want to do it, and even set aside time for it, but if you don’t know what you are doing, it is likely you will end up doing nothing or even worse, school work or housework because you just don’t know what to do and you can’t sit still! So what do you want to do? A holiday or short break somewhere, read a book, get a massage, learn a new skill or take up a craft (I love time for macramé). It doesn’t matter what it is, but it does matter you know what it is, and you put this in your schedule.

 

There you have it, 5 steps to ensuring you get the most out of your holidays, get your school work done, home/life stuff done and also make time for self-care.

 

Whatever you do these holidays, make sure you enjoy them, you deserve it.

Getting things done on time – why deadlines actually help to give you more time!

Deadlines can sometimes be scary. Deadlines put pressure on people. Maybe they make you feel anxious or overwhelmed, maybe a deadline even makes you doubt yourself, and whether or not you can actually do the job.

Not all deadlines, however, are the same.

Deadlines are also a way of making sure something happens.

By putting a deadline in place, it can increase our productivity, it can make us more focused and it can ensure that we use our time more wisely.

By having a deadline our thought patterns can shift. A deadline can create urgency around something, it can make it more important, it can become a ‘must do’.

Our life actually has deadlines in it all the time.

A birthday is a deadline. A birthday is a point in time which you must meet if you want to wish that person happy birthday, if you want to give them a gift, make them feel special and show that you care. A birthday is a deadline you can’t miss. You can’t put someone else’s birthday off you, can’t change the date and you can’t get to it later, it is a deadline that you have to meet. Paying off a holiday is also a deadline. If you don’t make the payment, you don’t go on holiday. Now we all love holidays, so the urgency around making sure that we pay for the holiday is a very important deadline.

Why is it that we can adhere to some deadlines in our life but not others? And why is it that some things have deadlines and others don’t?

Deadlines have actually changed how I see the simple tasks in my life. Planning, report writing, writing my logs, scheduling my FB posts; I give each of these things a deadline. By putting in my own deadline, I am saying to myself, that I commit to getting this done by a certain point in time.

This is important. It shows I value my work, it shows I value my own time and it shows I value the tasks I need to complete.

Now some people find this really hard to deal with, I even get questions about why I structure my day in such a tight, routine way. But this all comes down to one thing, productivity. By having deadlines in place, I allow myself to be productive, and when I’m productive it means that I get things done, and when I get things done it means I have more time to do the things I love.

Deadlines and productivity for me at all about freedom. Essentially we are all aiming for some sort of freedom, whether we realise it or not. Freedom means we have time to do what we love, we have time to spend with our loved ones, time to read, time to go on more holidays and have more adventures, time for more variety in our life and time to be more relaxed and happy. Ultimately this is what we are all aiming for. It is part of achieving work-life balance.

Deadlines are a reflection of excellence. By meeting deadlines it shows that you have a high standard around yourself, who you are, how you carry yourself and how you act. It’s not about saying that you value necessarily the task or the work at hand, it says that you value your time, you value yourself and you value what you give.
So if you struggle with time, if you struggle with deadlines, if you struggle with productivity or if you struggle with getting things done, I suggest you start introducing deadlines along the way, even for the small tasks. Try introducing deadlines for marking, try introducing deadlines for putting up a display, try introducing deadlines for when you want to have all your lunches made for the week, when you want the washing to be done, or deadlines for when you finish working each night or being on social media.

If this sounds like something you would like to implement, take advantage of my 20-minute FREE strategy session and we can talk about how to improve the deadlines and productivity in your life. PM or email me to book in your time now.

5 things to implement on your first week back!

5 things to Implement on your first week back!

So you are back. Holiday mode is off and school mode is back on. You have swapped late nights for laminating, sleep ins for staff meetings and pool parties for planning. The summer holidays are officially over!

By now you have most likely started to get your school mode up and going, your students are either with you, or arriving in the next few days, you have your name labels printed, door display up and the pots ready to be filled with pencils. The new year buzz and excitement is around you, you can feel it, but so is something else…

It is this time of year we get confused about our emotions; excited for our new class, mew responsibilities and new things to teach but also scared, doubtful, worried, our head fills with thoughts we just can’t escape…

‘Will I be good enough for these students?’

‘ Will my students learn?’

‘Will the parents like me?’

‘Will I have enough time for each of them?’

‘Will I have enough time for myself and my family?’

‘How much work will I have to do on the weekend?’

All of these thoughts are normal, we all have them, but what you need to understand is that none of this needs to be true, these are just thoughts designed by your ego to keep you safe. Safe is good. But change means getting a little uncomfortable, going into the unknown, trying new things, and new things can be hard, which is why we like things to be the same and the ego is around to keep us safe.

However, if you want change, if you want things to be different or you want to just know you are improving, you have to try new things. And what better time is there than now?

The start of the year is perfect for starting new ways of doing things, that’s why so many people start the year with new years resolutions or goals; fresh year, fresh start.

So this year, I challenge you to implement some new things which I can honestly have honestly helped me to make better use of my time, get more done and reduce the stress I have felt.

5 things to Implement on your first week back!

  1. Routine

If you ever read, hear or listen to anything about successful people ad how they manage to achieve so much they always talk about establishing and sticking to a routine. Routine is great for so many reasons, it ensures you maximise time by having set things to do, you don’t waste time wondering what to do with the time you have, and your brain loves it. Routine means predictability, safety and no surprises, which means you brain is ready before you even start, and productivity is up.

  1. Establish a home time

Home time. The bell rings, all the students run out the door with their bags over their shoulders and you breathe a sigh of relief thinking: ‘Now I can get to work’. Your to-do list is long, you have parents to call and a meeting to go to. Home time for you is a long way off…

Home time though is really important, not just so you can go and be with your family, but so you can switch off, breathe easy and again, it’s routine. Before you eye roll and think it just isn’t possible, there is one more piece of advice I have. Before going home, make sure you have everything ready for tomorrow; resources made, photocopied and organised, day planned out and things ready to go. Everything else can wait, and you can go home.

  1. Make the most of the little bits of time you have – they add up

Time – the one thing we all want more of. Only, time really is plentiful, it is just how we use it that makes a difference. I often hear teachers say they don’t have enough time, that they haven’t had any time during the day to do anything. Yet, we always seem to have time for a coffee break, a chat in the playground or a visit to a colleague in the afternoon. Now I am not saying we shouldn’t do these things. All of these things are important, and you should do them every now and then, but do you need to do all 3 every day?

There are hidden bits of time here which you can use to the quick and easy jobs; have your coffee while marking homework, cut out resources over lunch with colleagues or use the afternoon conversation as a chance to get together and do some marking or change a display. All the little moments add up.

  1. Mindfulness and gratitude are a must

I work alot with teachers on mindfulness and gratitude. Whist they are common words at the moment and we talk about them to our students, pausing and applying them to ourselves isn’t as easy… But, both of these things are proven to help with stress, overwhelm and burnout; all things which teachers talk about.

I highly recommend using a gratitude journal or jar with your class and personally, writing 5 things a day you are grateful for, or adding notes to the jar as a class and reading them at the end of the year. Mindfulness is also a must to help with calming your mind, pausing and even getting to sleep; meditation apps (there are heaps), or videos on YouTube are great to use as a class or before bed. A great way to calm the mind and finally be at ease. Both of these things will have ripples into the following days and weeks (if done consistently) and make a huge benefit to how you and your students feel.

  1. Build relationships with EVERYONE

Schools are busy people; colleagues, staff, office people, parents, students… There are so many small communities in one. Building relationships with each group is key, that doesn’t mean everyone, but I would work on developing relationships with those who you are going to be connected to a lot throughout the year. Smile, ask questions, be polite, all these things are free but go along way. Before asking the office staff to do something for you, say hello and ask how they are, contact all your parents telling them something good about their child by the end of week 3, take time out of the first week to just chat to your students and really take an interest in them – all of these things are simple yet very affective and will set you up for the year ahead.

These 5 things are from my own personal first week back to school check list, I trust that by implementing these you will set yourself up for a successful 2019!

Your well-being starts with you!

Here’s the thing, no-one owns your wellbeing except you!

No one can tell you when to stop and take a break, when to make changes so things are easier or when to leave work earlier to go and do some yoga; all of this is decided by you.

Sure, others (even me), can make suggestions, give tips and advice, or give you something to read, but the decision to engage with it lies with you, no-one else. 

So why is it you are looking for someone else to make your life easier, more calm, less overwhelmed?

It’s not up to the school, the education department you work for or your principal to ‘fix’ what is wrong with teaching, workload and how you manage your time, this really sits with you.

As I said, all anyone else can do is give you the tools, advice or tips on how, but it is up to you to take the first step, to engage in it, to really take action and begin to implement these things into your life.

A one off yoga class instead of a staff meeting is not going to eternally fix your feeling of overwhelm, a meeting free week is not going to mean you will all of a sudden be on top of your work, and having regular holidays away from school is not all you need for work/life balance.

Real change, change that is sustainable and lasts longer than the yoga class is up to you, it is hard, and it is at first a lot of work, but it is work that changes and impacts your life in the way you want it to, and only you can do this.

So why is it we look to others to ‘fix’ all these things? We are teachers, we know that no matter how much information we give our students, unless they do something with it, action it, the learning is wasted.

When we are teaching something new, we don’t just do one lesson and expect our students to grasp it and understand, so why should we expect the one yoga class or cancelled meeting to solve all our stress and overwhelm. It won’t. It doesn’t. When we want our students to learn something new we teach, and teach, and teach again, then we have them apply it in multiple ways, over and over, and this is what we should do too.

Learning how to do life, how to have better work/life balance, how to manage our stress, overwhelm and time has to be learnt, it’s not easily fixed, but can be done.

So what is it you need help with? What area of life do you need to improve? What is it you want more of? To have this what needs to change?

Ask yourself these questions? Ask yourself what you can do? What change can you make now?

The power to any change starts with you.

If you are stuck for answers or need some help, let me know. This is what I do.

Amy Green – The Teachers’ Coach

Get your classroom organised in 2019

For those who know me well, you would know I am a fan of being organised. In fact, it is also something I teach and work with many teachers on.

If you don’t have an organised classroom, or office, or desk, you can constantly feel in a mess! And when you are in a mess at school your whole life suffers.

One of this biggest thing that can get in your way of your day going smoothly is being organised. Bits of paper spread across your desk, piles of student books on the floor, documents saved on your computer but you never know where to find them – this is all adding to the chaos of your day, and can so easily be fixed!

So, with 2018 coming to an end, yes you can pretty much forget it existed, those papers, books and files are done with, but let’s not repeat that same thing for 2019, it’s time to get organised. Here a my top 5 tips for organising your classroom so you can then organise you!

 

  1. Organising student work and assessment:  

Purchase an expandable file, label each tab with a students name and filing is now made easy.

Kmart has these beauties in a range of lovely colours and for only $6.00

https://www.kmart.com.au/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/SearchDisplay?searchTerm=expandable+file&categoryId=&storeId=10701&catalogId=10102&langId=-1&pageSize=30&beginIndex=0&sType=SimpleSearch&resultCatEntryType=2&showResultsPage=true&searchSource=Q&pageView=

  1. A space for rubbers, paper lips and those small bits and pieces

Next time you are in Woolworths, grab yourself one or two of their ice cube trays. They are great for storing the small items you and your students can never seem to find; paper clips, erasers, your marking stamp…

Keep this on your desk and you and your students know where to find things and where to return them.

https://www.woolworths.com.au/shop/productdetails/521895/?istCompanyId=909b5da6-e33c-4de8-a6e2-0861c4cbcd86&istItemId=-xtaimrimar&istBid=t&&cmpid=smsm:ds:GOOGLE:Woolies_SmartShopping_Home+%26+Outdoor:PRODUCT_GROUP&gclid=CjwKCAiAl7PgBRBWEiwAzFhmmsR_PFwgSQ3gBzVx64uaDBtUF6Grr_le65Cud13XUocgK1v9XPLa2RoCJsEQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

 

  1. Desktop clutter

Nothing drives me more insane than messy desks. Pencil pots, rulers and scrap bits of paper can often be seen covering classroom tables at the end of the day, but not any more. This great item from Ikea can serve as a place for all your desktop needs to be stored while you sleep soundly. At then end of each day have students remove all desk items and neatly arrange here and no longer will you have to spend time after school picking  up  the stary pencils, paper or tiny pieces of eraser.

 

https://www.ikea.com/au/en/catalog/products/70333977/

 

4.       Students Mailbox

Student items, messages and notes can be second behind the desk clutter. Try using one of these show racks as individual pouches for student belongings. You can use them for notes to go home, homework or even a place to encourage students to write kind messages to each other. It’s also a great way to keep track of who did and didn’t take their homework home!

 

https://www.amazon.com.au/MISSLO-Pockets-Organizer-Hanging-Storage/dp/B00N2G2UOI

 

2.       Get a good diary

Of course, a good teacher diary is essential to be able to plan your days, lessons and self. The Teachers’ Coach Diary for 2019 is a must have. You can plan lessons and your day, but also plan for you by setting goals, practicing gratitude and recording your top must do’s and like to do’s for the day.

Download your free sample or purchase here:2019-teacher-diary

http://www.theteacherscoach.com.au/organisation  

  

Humpday (Wednesday) Top Tips (How to use Humpday to get the most out of your week and enjoy your weekend!)

Humpday (Wednesday) Top Tips

(How to use Humpday to get the most out of your week and enjoy your weekend!)

To most teachers, Wednesday is known as Humpday. It’s the middle of the week, the day where Friday is on the horizon and the countdown is on! I get it – Wednesday is definitely a sign Friday is coming.

Wednesday though can certainly play some tricks on us mentally if we don’t use it to our advantage. Wednesday can see teachers excited for the weekend; planning their weekend adventures (and you should be). Wednesday can mean getting excited, counting down until 3pm Friday and watching the next two days fly by.

Wednesday though is a reminder the week is almost over and that a new week is coming up. This is where you really need to focus.

Once Wednesday comes it is easy just to focus on the weekend, and not pay attention to what’s coming – this is why, when Friday arrives, you can find yourself in a flap about what still needs to be done and how another weekend is going to be taken up doing school work and not the things you had planned.

So when Wednesday arrives, instead of focusing on the weekend and what you are going to do, take some time to also focus on what needs to be done before the weekend, before Monday. By doing this, you are giving yourself time to get all your jobs done before the weekend, then when the weekend comes, you can really enjoy it, stress and work free!

Here’s how to make Humpday Wednesday work for you:

1.       Make a list of everything you need to do before Monday.

2.       Choose the ones you are happy to do on the weekend (If any – I try not to), and leave them to the side.

3.       Look at the rest of your week and find the times you have available to get work done – think before and after school and lunch times too.

4.       Schedule in the other tasks you need to do into the available time slots. 

5.       If you have spare time, schedule in the weekend stuff too.

6.       Get the work done!

7.       Plan your weekend 😊

By doing this, you are making sure you are using your times productively AND giving yourself plenty of time on the weekend to do what you love without the doom and gloom of work tasks following you home!

It’s not that I’m lucky. It’s not that I’m just a ‘good teacher’. It’s not ‘easy for me’.

Earlier today a colleague asked me why my partner and I are ‘so efficient’; ‘You are both so effective at what you do…’ she said. As much as this was a nice compliment, it did get me thinking…

You see my partner is a teacher too, and both he and I love what we do, and I guess most would say we do it well. We are always well planned, have our books marked, know our students and content to teach. We do these things consistently, plus more, and we know that some other teachers find this challenging to managing.

Now having been a teacher myself, also means I know the internal dialogue of a teacher, the corridor chit-chat, and the staffroom gossip.

We all know those teahcers who are ‘just good at teaching’, who are ‘always lucky like that’ or who ‘have it easy’… But do they? Is that really true?

When my colleague asked me our trick I was a bit stumped, (it’s hard to answer without sounding too cocky), so I just rattled off a few things about being organised and using time well…

But to be honest, this question has stuck with me and really allowed me to explore why we are, and I am, efficient and effective at teaching. What I discovered was, it’s certainly not a ‘trick’, it’s not ‘luck’ and it’s we don’t ‘have it easy’.

What we do, how we do it, and the reason behind our efficiency and effectiveness comes down to our thinking and mindset. So here it is…

25 ways to becoming an ‘Effective and Efficient Teacher’

Let’s talk about displays…

classroom

Let’s talk displays…

So as we start a new year, get excited about our new students and plan to have the best classroom ever it’s easy to get distracted from what displays are really for.

Already this year I have been in a number of classrooms, seen evidence in the print room and noticed a few photos on my news feed of classrooms that really are ‘pretty’.

But pretty? Really?

Is that what we are going for?

The Pinterest pretty classroom? The matching lettering all neatly cut out? The double mounted, colour printed posters on every wall classroom?

Just why do we feel the push, the need, the force to have these impeccable displays?

Too often displays are all about the teacher…

NEWSFLASH – displays are not an opportunity for you to show your artistic ability, practice your interior design skills or perfect your poster making and laminating skills.

It’s been shown that displays actually don’t have much impact on learning at all .. Unless they are specific, relevant and the students actually use them.

So let’s talk about that.

Displays should be relevant:
Relevant to what you are teaching, the skills the students are learning and what you are looking for to see if they are learning (think assessment).

They should be interactive:
Students need to be able to use displays, go to them to check if what they are doing is right or to see how they can improve their work.

They should be created by: Students need to have ownership of the displays. They need to be part of putting them together, they need to have input.

So take a look around your classroom. Are you displays relevant, interactive and created with students? Or are they a demonstration or your inner Picasso?