History Teaching by @PDonald81

Name: Paul Donald
Twitter:  @pdonald81
Sector:  Secondary
Subject: History
Position: Deputy Head
5 Bits of Advice About: Teaching history

  1. Make sure you really, really know your stuff. If you do, planning is easy.
  2. Students can’t watch Blackadder, Days That Shook the World or anything else for that matter and take notes. It doesn’t work.
  3. Invest in a decent classroom library for your A Level groups to use. Start with texts from your uni courses.
  4. Stay away from ‘fun activities’ in textbooks/worksheets. Just make sure they have really detailed knowledge.
  5. Love what you teach. It’s infectious and irresistible to kids when you do.

2 thoughts on “History Teaching by @PDonald81

  1. misty1515

    I’m 15 years in to teaching but I remember all too well my NQT year and it really wasn’t pretty.

    Your first point is valid but it really depends on your work load. In my NQT year I was asked to teach History (my subject) from Year 7-AS level and then English and RE at KS3. History was reasonably well resourced but the other two were a disgrace. No resources, no assistance provided and no schemes of work and all that on top of really bad behaviour from the kids (see oldandrew’s blog to get the idea).

    Working in those conditions meant I didn’t have the time to get reading done in order to ‘really, really know your stuff’ and I was very conscious of that. I was run ragged, utterly exhausted. I felt set up to fail as an NQT by the management team including HoDs. I have since seen this happen elsewhere and again I think it is down to poor management or managers who are far removed from the reality of full time classroom teaching and don’t think about the impact of their decisions.

    As you can probably tell I am still slightly bitter about this (!) and the fact you are a deputy head caught my eye. I don’t mean to suggest that you would fall in to the same category as the management described above but it is sometimes worth being reminded of the experience of people on the end of SMT decisions and of course to bear in mind that NQTs are probably going to be too timid (like I was) to say anything about unreasonable working conditions.


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