Being a successful form tutor when it’s ‘not your thing’
Many teachers will currently be pondering, with varying senses of excitement and dread, the arrival of their new forms in September. With most secondary schools now providing substantial transition programmes, it is likely that you may have met your new recruits multiple times by now, and have a relatively detailed understanding of their talents, backgrounds and foibles. But all that being said, if you don’t consider yourself to be a particularly ‘pastoral person’, how can you hit the ground running and make their, and your, start to the year as positive as possible?
Top tips and lessons learned:
1) Forget your old form - They may have brought you inordinate joy, tears, frustration. They may have left without a word or in a shower of petals from the bouquets they lined up on your desk. Most likely, they were somewhere in between. Whatever you thought of them, however much you miss them, save those memories for your time. With your new class in front of you, try to give them your full and unrivalled attention as they set about the daunting task of navigating secondary school. Weep for your old form in private.
2) Be positive with parents - These are the people you may be calling in the future with all sorts of...news. Most parents will be more nervous than their children at the start of year, especially if this is their first child going through the school. Set aside some time each week at the start of term (Friday afternoon can be a good time to make a positive start to your weekend) and drop two or three parents an email with a positive you noticed that week or simply some reassurance. For you, it will take two or three minutes; for them, it will serve as a solid platform when you undoubtedly need their support in the future.
3) Take an interest - Learn about their hobbies, their families, their fascinations. Even if your PSHEE programme allows for this in a structured fashion, take the time to engage in some informal chatter too. They will always appreciate that you take an interest and it can work wonders as a starting point when you need to convince them to see things your way!