Teach First

Developing lesson entrance routines

How do new teachers develop during their first year in the classroom? We've visited Sam Bower’s Year 7 geography class twice this year to answer this question better. On our second visit, we were struck by the way Sam (’15, London) has refined his entrance routines, preparing students for success by helping them settle into learning quickly and calmly. This blog and video compares the beginning of both the autumn and the spring lessons, showing some of the changes Sam has made and the impact they have had.

  • In spring, students enter a classroom which is far better organised for them. Sam has prepared by setting out atlases and glues, and a student is distributing paper. This allows the class to go straight to their seats, without the distraction of finding their books. It also means that Sam can concentrate on students rather than materials once, scanning the room rather than moving atlases once the lesson has started.
  • Sam positions himself carefully at the threshold of the classroom during our second visit, able to see students in the corridor and in the classroom. In the autumn Sam alternated between the inside and the outside of the classroom, but in the spring he stands still, exuding calm confidence. Sam is able to keep an eye on the corridor while also scanning inside the classroom, ensuring those who have entered go straight to their seats without talking.
  • Sam gives clear, concise and calm instructions, which are easy to follow. In the spring, Sam chooses to get the group settled first, in contrast to the autumn, when he focuses on an individual student first, keeping others waiting. His tone remains calm and firm when he is asking students to amend their behaviour.

Sam’s organisation, positioning and confident clarity contribute to the underlying changes in the classroom between autumn and spring: students enter more swiftly and more calmly, and consequently begin learning far more quickly.

Sam’s December mentor meeting can be seen here.