Routinely routine.

Just a really quick post!

This year, I am teaching 5 classes with students I have never taught before. So in effect I have the real chance to ‘reinvent’ my teaching, my attitude, my promises, my consequences, my follow ups. Therefore I used this as my very first lesson for each of my classes. It has worked a treat! I refer back to what they said about how they learn and they revel in the fact I have asked for their opinions and use them…

The next step to my lessons has been using the word routine, a lot!

I have written about some difficulties our students face daily here, I have also been exploring the principles of routines with mental health, safety and comfort in mind for most of these students.

I have been stating clearly what I expect the routine to be for the beginning of my lessons. I ask the students to come in, sit down, take their jackets off, put their bags under the tables. To take out their pens and planners. Then to get out their book and start the DNA- (do now activity) on the board. THEN, read. Read what we did last lesson.

This must become a routine.

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I go through it with them. I have put this up on the board to remind them. This means, the start of my lesson is organised, its formal, its welcoming, with me standing by the door, greeting them with their names and an occasional tap on the back/shoulder. It allows for recall, for them to remember what we covered, it tells them whether their notes from last lesson were effective, it shows students that lessons are linked. They will know, they will be clear that the routine is stuck to and any detraction from it, will affect my behaviour towards them. I.E me saying firmly (and loudly) to remember the routine.

The next routine is during the lessons. (Check out my What I Do posts too.) I am a stickler for presentation. However, I do not expect all books/writing/diagrams and notes to be immaculate. Nevertheless, I do expect every student to TRY HARD to be. So, the routine is to underline off old work. Write a date, title and C/W (classwork.) And, it is to ensure they always write in full sentences. The routine is to leave space for any unfinished task. I constantly remind students of the class blog; (for example). I remind them work should be completed if incomplete using this tool.

The routine before the end of the lesson is to go and get a highlighter and highlight key points, important areas and make their work a revision tool. I routinely remind students that their books will become their revision guides. They are NOT simply workbooks. The routine is to ensure that they understand any specialist language we have used in the lesson and to ensure these words are recorded in the back of their books.

I also ensure there is a clear routine with homework. The homework set must be written in the students planner. They can if they wish, also add it to their phones, take a photo of it and so on, but, it must in the first instance be recorded in their planners.

Why do I do it?

(It doesn’t create boredom or monotony!)

  • To eliminate any power struggle. If students are clear what is expected. Every lesson, every time. This makes it a lot easier.
  • Reduction in any unforeseen changes, reduces stress, anxiety and allows for great cooperation.
  • The routines allow for less dependence on the teacher and more independence.
  • Allows for me to be more consistent.
  • Helps the students develop self discipline and helps remove learned helplessness.
  • Reduces stress and mental strain for me!

So… what routines do you have? Are you ensuring students are clear about expectations within your lessons?

For me, so far, so good.





  1. I posted a short article about this topic here as this is a focus in my school this year, the idea being to claw back valuable teaching time by using basic classroom routines. Sue commented on my post here highlighting the need to make sure our routines are worthwhile which is a good word of caution. I like the ‘Do Now’ activity and the reading over the work from the last lesson to set context for what is about to come in the lesson.

  2. Interesting to read, Amjad.

    Do you find that some of your routines evolve over time or, having once established one, do you always make sure you firmly stick to it? I think the tension between flexibility and consistency can be challenging sometimes.

    By the way, have just watched ‘The Ron Clark Story’!

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