It’s 8.30 in the morning, the bell has gone and a huge groan goes up from every tutor in the staffroom. It’s like when the alarm goes off in the morning and all you keep thinking is 5 more minutes, please just 5 more minutes. At school that 5 minutes could be so that you can finish your cup of coffee or tea, complete that photocopying or just finish a conversation. Nevertheless you pick up and head into the fray with list of things you need to get done in the short time that you have with your form.
There are probably things that you are required to do or follow in Tutor time such as checking homework diaries, collecting absence notes, dealing with any behavioural issues that have occurred and a million and one other things. Also you may have a weekly timetable that you have to follow which could include literacy, numeracy and assemblies for instance.
This doesn’t mean that your tutorials have to be boring or a death by worksheets exercise, it can be fun, challenging and allow for the form to bond as well as allow for the true characters of the students to come through. It can also help those students who are more reticent to take active roles in class to become more confident.
Just because a tutorial is fun and full of active learning doesn’t mean that it has to take hours of planning. It can take a little time for the students to get used to the routine but once they do they will know what to expect each morning in tutor time as well as maybe even looking forward to it. By adding a little competition to the mix you can get even the most reluctant of students involved and this will then give you some time to do all those little jobs a tutor needs to do first thing in the morning.
To make tutorial time effective, fun and easy to organise, it’s important to have a routine. This also helps when the dreaded OFSTED inspection rolls around.
Having a routine in place also helps the students to become more independent and take more control of the time and there for give you time to complete the Tutor tasks you need to do.
It may take a little time for the students to get used to it, but once they do, they will begin to take control. By adding the element of competition they will actively want to take part. The competition could be between different groups in the class or between different classes in the year group.
I have used all of the activities I post with my own form. I currently work in a school with vertical tutoring and these activities have proven to be just as effective in a vertical or horizontal tutor system.