It’s the first day back in September and you are meeting your new tutor group for the year - exciting!
Having your own tutor group can be one of the most enjoyable aspects of teaching. As Ross Mcgill (also known as education blogger, Teacher Toolkit) says “When you do it right your form can be like an extended family”.
Being able to enjoy your role as a tutor depends on cultivating positive relationships with your students, and fulfilling your responsibilities effectively. Below are some suggestions on how you can get to know your tutor group, so that you can better support your students throughout the year.
1. Make the most of fun icebreaker games
In the first few tutor sessions, using ice-breaker games can be a really fun way to help students to get to know each other. Some of our personal favourites include:
The order game: Students order themselves according to their first name (alphabetically), age (youngest to eldest) and height (smallest to tallest) against the clock.
Class scavenger hunt: Students are given a list of different criteria (e.g., who plays football?) and they then go around the room to fill out their sheets with names. The first person to accurately fill their sheet wins!
Two Truths and a Lie: Students volunteer to give two truths and a lie to the class, and everyone must guess which one is the lie. Students absolutely love this!
2. Use seating plans from the very beginning
Using seating plans establishes your authority and allows you to put students’ names to faces quickly, while also preventing any cliques from being formed. By using students’ names from the very start, this will show that you value them as individuals, and that you are invested in getting to know them. Seating plans also create consistency which contributes
towards creating a safe classroom environment.
3. Establish clear routines and expectations
The small habits that you build day in and day out with your students are more powerful than you think! From checking the students’ uniforms every day to taking a register, establishing clear expectations shows that you care, and that the students should care too. Maintaining these routines consistently will contribute towards students’ personal and academic growth more than you realise!
4. Be creative; have dedicated theme days!
In line with the importance of routines, having theme days in form groups help you to learn more about students’ passions and interests. For example, having a news day can enable students to gain a greater understanding of their wider world, while a literacy day which focuses on a text about a key role model can help students to gain new perspectives on success.
All theme days encourage students to have a discussion and ask questions about life beyond the school bubble. Schedule these in for the same days each week; students love them!
5. Establish links with home
Creating connections with home is incredibly important to support students’ personal growth and academic progression. As a form tutor, you are likely the parent/carer’s main contact for any pastoral or academic issues – so it is crucial that a positive relationship is established from the very start! As you will be seeing the students every day at school, you are also more likely to notice if a student does not seem themselves, so having those connections with home can support with getting to the root of any problems.
Equally, don’t forget those positive phone calls; these can give the students’ a real boost. Progress (no matter how small) deserves to be celebrated!
Jess Asher is a MFL Teacher and a second-year Graduate Trainee on the Teach First programme.
Are you looking for more ideas to get to know your tutor group? Our FREE teacher resources and icebreaker games are a quick and easy way for you to learn more about your students.
To find out more about how our programmes can support your students’ wellbeing, please visit our School Programmes page.