Why it’s Essential to Spring Clean Your Teaching Repertoire

Spring has officially sprung, and while that means warmer days and new blossoms, it also means it’s March. For many teachers, March is the hump day of the academic year, when we’re already exhausted and summer break seems so far away! One way to revitalise yourself and your class is to spring clean your teaching repertoire.

‘How do you spring clean a teaching repertoire?’ you may ask. Well, just like anything else it’s about getting rid of the old to make space for the new. It’s easy to fall into a routine and to become comfortable with activities you know work. However, constantly repeating the same material can make it stale. If you’ve lost your enthusiasm for an activity it’s going to be hard for you to enthuse your class. Ask yourself these three questions to make sure your ideas are as fresh as the daisies now sprouting out of the earth.

1. How many times did I use this activity in the last term/semester?

If you’ve lost count, it was too many. If you don’t remember using it at all, you may have found your solution. In the drama classroom, I can often find myself sticking with my students’ favourite drama games and can quickly forget about old favourites. Even having activities on a rotation can help keep both you and your students enthused about them. Just like a favourite song that you overplay and ruin for yourself, activities can definitely be overused.

2. Can I update this activity?

Sit down and think about what’s new with your class. What do they like? Is there anything happening that’s affecting them? Are they looking forward to something? Can you make this activity relevant to any of those things? Simply changing the focus or theme of an activity can revitalise it for your class. My group started getting fed up with Beans after we played it for the gazillionth time, but I wasn’t ready to let go of such an effective energiser! Given their obsession with Star Wars at the time I was inspired to invent Space Beans. I knew what actions I needed (eg. get on the floor, get off the floor, jump, slow down) to balance their energy and by simply assigning new instruction words to each action we created a whole new game!

3. Am I still learning?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, nothing is more valuable for a teacher than continuing to learn! You need to keep yourself engaged with your subject and constantly add to your repertoire. Every new thing you learn could lead to a new idea or a new activity. Every new activity you seek out could inspire you to learn something else. The more you know, the more you can teach. Luckily, we’re here churning out new activities for you to use! We got you.

‘It’s time for a spring cleaning of your thoughts, it’s time to stop to just existing it’s time to start living.’ – Steve Maraboli

Rebecca is the founder and chief executive officer of Silly Fish Learning Ltd. She is a children's playwright with a vast and varied career in education, primarily teaching drama and English.

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