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The Symphony of Routine: Harmonising Habit 2 with the Heartbeat of Our Classroom

Mark Nichols - English Subject Lead @ The Avanti Grange Secondary School | Inspiring Student Success


This week, as I delved deeper into the practice of beginning and ending lessons with calm and familiar routines, a revelation unfolded: Habit 2 of the Avanti Habits of Great Teaching does not stand alone. It is intricately linked with Habit 1, building positive relationships, serving as the cornerstone upon which all other habits rest. The routines we establish and the daily dynamics within our classroom are more than just structures; they are the very foundation of the relationships we nurture with our students.

 

The Ritual of Morning Preparation

My mornings begin with a ritual, a personal routine of arriving early and preparing for the day ahead. While not everyone may share this luxury of time, for me, it's akin to standing atop a surfboard, skilfully navigating the educational waves of the term. It is that time on the board where I climb back on, (as I am currently), and restabilise myself for the day ahead. This personal discipline mirrors the structure I aim to provide for my students. If I am anchored by routine, so too are they, equipped to ride the undulating waves of learning with confidence and grace. In this sense, routines are the skeleton of our lessons, but they embody a significance that transcends the classroom's four walls. They are a model, a microcosm of the discipline, and mindfulness we hope to instil in our students. By exemplifying the power and benefits of routine, we offer our students more than knowledge; we gift them a framework for navigating the complexities of life.

 

Dynamic Routine: The Balance of Consistency and Variety

One of the biggest areas of routine for me are the resources used for learning, both in terms of hardcopies printed and the PPT’s used to deliver content. In my classroom, resources are meticulously prepped, presented in a familiar yet ever-evolving format. My PPT’s always follow the same structure, colour scheme, instructional language and provide familiarity to the learning taking place, and if I decide to change something, I talk about it with my classes. The printed resources to offer a place to ground the learning taking place, providing opportunities to both vary the activities we complete and offer opportunities to work on the pace of lesson. Not only that, I quite enjoy the ritualistic routine of printing and prepping said resources with my colleague Elizabeth Carr, where the copier room has almost become a sanctuary of those standing meetings where we discuss the matters of the day and week ahead. This careful balance ensures that our routines are stimulating, far removed from the monotony of drudgery. It's about maintaining a consistent framework within which variety and innovation can thrive, ensuring that every lesson is a unique journey within a familiar landscape.


The Essence of Joy in Routine

Above all though, Joy is the vital component of our classroom ethos. The clarity and predictiveness of our routines breed a collective confidence, enabling every student to feel capable and eager to contribute. When I embody routines with confidence, I not only hold the reins of discourse but also fortify our classroom against the disruptions of low-level behaviours. This isn't merely about control; it's about creating a space where confidence can flourish, and learning becomes a joyful, shared journey. If we can create classrooms full of laughter and joy, whilst at the same time push the boundaries of what can be achieved academically, then we should!

 

As this week comes to a close, I am reminded that the routines we establish are not merely procedural; they are the heartbeats of our classrooms, the rhythms to which our educational symphonies are composed. By intertwining Habit 2 with the foundational principle of building positive relationships, we create an environment where students are not just educated but truly flourish.

In every greeting smile, every meticulously prepared resource, and every moment of joy shared, we lay the bricks of a pathway that leads our students beyond the realms of academia, into a future where they can navigate the world with confidence, resilience, and joy.

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