Alex Riley and rookies Joseph and Ophelia find out exactly what it takes to make it in the world of teaching. Can they keep control of pupils with no outside help?
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-We push our rookies hard. They see the good...
-How cool is this?
..and the downright astonishing.
We give them glamour...
show them excitement...
get their hands dirty...
put them under pressure...
..make them laugh...
all so they can experience their dream jobs.
Today, two rookies will be stretched to their limits
in the testing world of teaching,
as we go All Over The Workplace!
Perhaps you'd like to say that again so the whole class can hear.
I'm not angry...I'm disappointed.
If someone doesn't own up, I'm going to punish the whole class.
Honestly, there's a lot more to teaching
than just rolling out some well worn phrases.
But it does seem like quite a cushy job.
Long holidays, short days and getting to spend your days
with lots of wonderful children.
But speak to a teacher and they'll tell a different story.
Our first rookie believes teaching is definitely for her.
Meet ten-year-old Ophelia from London.
She has a novel way of practising teaching.
At home, I like to teach imaginary children,
but I actually call them the names of the people in my class.
Usually my mum and dad are there just watching, and thinking,
"What is she doing?" I never notice,
it's just like I'm sucked into the world of teaching.
Stepping up to the whiteboard, eight-year-old Joseph
is from West Lothian.
Younger brother Daniel is his guinea pig, testing his teaching skills.
I really want to be a teacher,
because I like teaching my brother
and I like teaching other people,
as well, at school.
I'd be a fun teacher, but if people were misbehaving or
something, I would deal with that.
Firm, but fair.
We're whisking Joseph and Ophelia off
to Scotland's capital city, Edinburgh,
which comes complete with its very own castle.
Right, Joseph and Ophelia, apparently you want to be teachers.
What kind of teachers?
-Primary school teacher.
I want to be an English teacher at secondary school.
Was there a moment when you decided that
being a teacher was the career for you?
Not really, I think it was quite gradual,
because I got a lot of good teachers.
OK, and they inspired you to want to become a teacher?
When I was younger I just liked, sort of,
telling people what to do and I wanted to help them,
but then I realised that I could actually make something out of it,
so then I wanted to be a teacher from that.
I think I would like the actual bossing people around bit
because I like bossing my brother and sister around a lot.
Really? You both seem to have got lots of potential,
but let's find out what your mum and dad think about
your teacherly ambitions.
Ophelia's sort of an old-fashioned mould of teacher, I'd say.
She comes down pretty hard on any misbehaviour
or people not paying attention.
Quite a lot of the time, invisible children are in trouble.
They get put on the sad face, they get a yellow card warning.
It's all very serious.
-Joseph likes discipline.
He knows what he's trying to do
and he likes the class to behave and to listen.
Yeah, he doesn't stand for any mischief.
I think if there's potentially some slightly unruly pupils in the class,
that will be a new thing for him to deal with.
Joseph, your dad reckons that you might find it a bit tricky
dealing with naughty pupils.
How do you deal with them?
Well, first of all, you just stop and then they'll think,
"Why is the teacher stopping? Have they..."
What if they're making so much noise they've not even noticed
you were talking in the first place?
Well, then click your fingers at them, that will do it.
Ophelia, your parents seem to think you might be a bit too strict.
-Are you a bit bossy?
-Do you like it when teachers are bossy to you?
Oh, you like it when they tell you off
and they're really strict and bossy?
Well, I don't get told off.
Now, your first assignment is all about getting people interested.
Come on, then, let's go.
Greg Foot knows all about getting people interested -
that's what he does as a science presenter.
He loves to share his passion for the subject.
He's going to show Joseph and Ophelia how to attract attention
by teaching them some science experiments
for them to try out on the public.
And the key to be successful at it
is to attract an audience and then keep them.
That's why it's really important for teaching,
because, to be a great teacher, you've got to be able to catch
someone's attention and then keep their attention.
So what would your three top tips be
for grabbing people's attention and keeping it?
OK, number one, make it relevant to the people
that you're trying to capture the attention of.
You've got to make them want to learn
or want to listen to what you're saying.
Number two is start simple and build it up.
The third one is enjoy it and be confident,
because enjoyment is infectious.
Greg's trio of tips is...
You want your audience to learn, so make it count.
When giving complex information, begin with the easy stuff,
then build it up.
Enjoying yourself is infectious, so pass it on.
First up, Greg is going to show Joseph how to make a balloon kebab.
He'd better be listening closely
so he can explain how it works to members of the public.
Oh, it's through! Good man.
Oh, so close!
The key here is to carefully push the kebab stick
through the knot of the balloon and then through the top.
This works because there's more rubber in these areas,
and this stops it from bursting.
You can even use lip balm on the tip of the stick
to make the trick easier.
Ophelia's first trick...
the impossible egg squash.
Believe it or not,
it's impossible to squash an egg in the palm of your hand.
It's the shape of it. You know on a bridge, you have an arch shape,
so that heavy things can go over the top of the bridge
and it shares all the force out?
So whenever you squeeze it, all that force is shared out
over the whole of the egg and it's just not possible.
Next up for Joseph is the Stroop test.
Here, you need to read the words on the page.
That bit's easy.
But when you're asked to read the colour of the words,
rather than the text,
it usually takes much longer because your brain is tricked into
processing the word before its colour.
Lastly, Greg shows Ophelia a trick involving two interlocking books.
If you imagine this is a book and this is a book,
I've kind of gone, page, page, page, page, page, page, all right?
When the books are interlocked like this,
the friction between the hundreds of pages is so great
that they're impossible to pull apart.
Let's hope Joseph and Ophelia have understood those explanations
and the science behind the tricks.
The force is shared out all across the egg...
Good teachers need to be able to teach difficult concepts
while keeping it interesting and simple enough to understand.
Keeping the attention of the punters on the streets of Edinburgh
will be their first challenge on their teaching journey.
Wait outside the principal's office, boy!
Around 30 years ago, discipline was incredibly severe.
Teachers were legally allowed to whack pupils with canes
In Victorian times,
naughty youngsters were forced to sit in the coal hole -
literally where the school's coal was stored.
Filthy or what!
Unfortunate children who didn't do well could be publicly humiliated.
They were made to wear pointed dunce's caps
and stand in the corner.
Victorians believed children all learned at the same speed,
and those who didn't were simply misbehaving.
Left-handed kids were even punished and forced to use their right hand.
Mind you, this was all if you were lucky enough to go to school.
It wasn't compulsory to go to school until the law changed in 1880,
the year before Alex was born!
Before that, many children had to work as chimney sweeps
or in coal mines.
The challenge is to try and get your stick...
Time for Joseph and Ophelia to try out
their attention-grabbing techniques on the streets of Edinburgh.
He's going to try it. Go on, Eddie, that's it, push it through.
Oh! So close.
Lost her attention a little bit, now it's time jump in and go,
"Guys, I'm going to show you this".
So I'll show you actually how to do it.
-Yes, good man.
-Very good, very good.
So that's the same as what you did.
Tell them why it needs to go out that bit.
So this bit is also thicker rubber.
-A little twist.
-It's gone straight through.
-Look at that.
-Go on, don't be frightened of it.
The reason why it's not cracking is because the egg is such...
it's got a 3-D arch, which is a shape,
so that means when you squeeze it,
the force is shared around it equally,
so it doesn't crack because there's so much force.
-Does anybody have a ring on?
Greg's got something up his sleeve.
No breakages from the kids,
but the extra force added to a specific area of the egg shell
from Mum's ring has broken the egg.
Change of scenery, and time for some more teaching tips from Greg.
Don't just set them the challenge, then do it, and then leave it,
just keep the energy going.
Yeah. Come on, you're not pulling hard enough.
That's not hard! Harder!
-You've glued it!
-No, we've not glued it.
We've just interlocked the pages.
The reason it's so hard
is because the friction of the two books together
is making it harder for you to pull.
If it was two pages,
you'd be able to pull it apart easily,
but because of the friction is times by 300, then it's...
-It's really hard.
-It's really much more difficult.
-Black, yellow, red, orange...
Your brain recognises the words before it recognises the colours.
So you're going to get all confused
when you try to get the colours of the words.
All I need you to do is try and poke it right through the middle
so that it doesn't pop.
-Oh, he's got halfway through.
This is the bit that's really struggling.
-Ooh, so close!
The best thing about the assignment
is actually talking to people and getting to do the tricks.
I think there were a few things we could have improved,
but all in all, I think it went really well.
Joseph, you have so much energy and enthusiasm - that is brilliant,
that will make you a fantastic, passionate teacher.
My main bit of feedback would be make more eye contact
with the people you're talking to,
you really need that to make that connection.
Ophelia, it was so great to see you grow in confidence during the task,
but try to make sure you're hitting the right level.
Sometimes you were giving too much detail to a younger audience,
so that's really important, pitch it at the right level.
What's up, everybody, it's your friend Al Jackson and I'm here with
the three top tips for becoming an outstanding teacher.
First tip, my favourite tip, have fun.
Teaching doesn't have to be boring, so find something to spice it up.
Number two, and this is important,
it's OK to be cool with your students.
The third tip, and I wish somebody had told me this
when I first started teaching,
don't be afraid to admit that you're wrong or you don't know something.
If somebody asks you a question and you don't know the answer,
don't lie or make something up, say,
"Hold on, let's look it up together".
Don't be afraid to always be learning.
OK, rookies, now that we've found out
how good you are at engaging an audience,
I think it's about time you got stuck into doing some teaching.
We've found a primary school who's quite happy
to let you loose on some of their pupils.
Meet teacher Natalie White.
Natalie teaches in a different way.
She does it all outdoors,
using the natural surroundings as a teaching aid.
She believes that children are more likely to remember what they've
learned if they're in a different environment,
where their senses are heightened.
"Outside" to you and me!
It's top tip time.
You need to be able to talk to the pupils and help them to learn,
so communicating is really, really, really important.
The second thing is that you need to be very creative,
so you need to think out of the box,
because you can plan the best lessons, but they always change.
And the other thing is, you have to have real passion,
so you really must want to teach.
Natalie's top tips are...
Talking to the pupils in a way that will help them learn is important.
Think differently. Lastly...
Make sure you want to teach and make it exciting and fun.
So what have you got in store for us?
We're going to do a lesson, we've got a P1 class,
and we're going to go up in the woods
and we're going to teach them some maths and literacy. Is that OK?
Ophelia and Joseph must each plan a lesson
for the class Natalie has arranged for them.
Ophelia is covering literacy, and Joseph is tackling maths.
First things first, they need to have a lesson plan.
Each lesson a teacher creates has three parts.
Firstly, the objectives -
that's what the teacher needs the pupils to learn from the lesson.
Next, teaching -
how the teacher's going to run the lesson
to get the information across to the class.
And third, evaluation.
The teacher devises a way of checking that the information given
has been learned.
So, for your one, Joe, when we're thinking about size,
we might decide to say to the pupils,
"Can you tell me which stick is the tallest stick?"
Hang on, I've got this. It's that one.
It is! Fantastic.
OK? So, you understand the evaluation thing?
We need to come up with something like that.
It's back to the classroom
and time for the rookies to plan their lessons.
Remember, when planning a lesson,
they need to think about what they're trying to teach,
how they're going to teach it,
and how they're going to test if their pupils have learnt
and understood their lessons.
These are my three top tips for anybody aspiring to be a teacher.
Firstly, you have to like children, obviously,
because you're going to spend so much time with them.
You're going to spend more time with the children
than you are with your family.
Second top tip,
you have to be dedicated and you have to be committed.
It requires you to do some work when you're at home or in the holidays,
and unless you enjoy it, that bit is going to be a surprise.
Thirdly, let's make learning fun, because if learning's fun,
the children will engage, they'll be motivated,
they'll do their best work ever, they'll make great progress,
and you're just going to be a great teacher if that's how you do it.
Teaching is THE best job in the world.
The rookies have prepared their lessons, and it's crunch time now.
They're about to teach a class for the very first time now.
Of course, because Natalie's involved, they're doing it outside.
So, today we're going to be doing some literacy,
and we're going to be creating characters.
On the trees, you see there's things like these branches sticking out
and they can sort of look like faces?
I want you to make, like, leaves,
and add those to make them look like a big character face.
And remember, your character must have a name, a place where it lives,
and something it really likes to do.
OK, and you must all know the answer to those three questions.
That's a lot of twigs.
Yeah, well done.
Ophelia is first into action.
She's asked the class to create characters
that could be used in a story.
Are you in charge of noses?
Shall we try that? Shall we try that as a nose?
Her class are beavering away,
searching for twigs and leaves that they'll use
to create their characters' faces.
Looking for another arm.
What do you think your character could be called?
The whole class seem to be hard at work.
Well, most of them, anyway.
Everyone go back to your team, OK?
Time for the evaluation part of Ophelia's lesson.
And, Paul. Where does it live?
Archie, what does it really like to do?
-Ewan, what's your character called?
-Tommy? Yeah, and, Lisa?
What does it really like to do?
Well, he really likes to go steal the money.
He likes to steal money?!
Oh, no! That's not very good.
And, Kyron, where does it live?
In a jungle?
Well done, everybody. They're really, really good.
I really like them all. Well done.
Joseph is next, with his maths-related lesson
bringing weight and length into focus.
This side, look for things that are really heavy, OK?
-Do you think you would push it?
-You can't even lift it!
There's no shortage of enthusiasm, but is Joseph staying focused, too?
Are you doing the long one, or are you doing the heavy one?
The long one.
One minute! One minute!
It all seems very straightforward on paper,
but when you get out and into the woods with the kids,
it's really chaotic.
OK, everybody, come back, come back!
Now, everybody, hold your things up that you found.
Now we're going to take a picture with all your things.
One big picture with everybody's things.
From smallest to biggest...
-And the heavy things from the lightest to heavy.
Joseph has forgotten part three of his lesson plan - the evaluation.
Teachers need to check that the information from the lesson
has been learned and understood.
So, rank them from smallest in this group, to the longest one.
And in this group, I want them in order from the lightest
to the heaviest, OK? The lightest to the heaviest.
Now Joseph is back on track, and the ordered sticks and logs prove that
the pupils have understood the lesson.
It was quite difficult when people weren't listening.
I think it went quite well,
though I think we could have done a few things better,
like trying to find strategies to help the people
that were kind of struggling.
When someone was, like, listening to you and responding really well,
that was my favourite part.
A few of them did misbehave and it's quite hard to deal with that.
Ophelia, I think you did really, really well.
You were really encouraging.
You went round and gave them some feedback
and said, "You could try this, or do that."
You probably needed a louder voice, so you start
to speak a bit louder,
and pull some questions out of children
and that would draw out some more conversation
and ideas out of the pupils.
Joseph kept the pupils on task.
He directed them well with really clear instructions.
He told them they had one minute to go, and children need that,
to keep them on task.
Try to keep to the plan so that, at the end,
you kind of forgot to do about the evaluation,
so you have to try and keep to the prompt.
Well, you've learnt how to engage an audience
and you've learnt how to be creative with your teaching resources.
So I think it's about time we put the whole thing together.
What you're going to be doing is teaching a whole class
a whole lesson,
completely on your own, without any mentor to help you,
and I'm not even going to be in the room with you.
Oh! Wait, what?!
Hang on a minute, we're running out of time.
We've got to get cracking. Let's go!
The rookies' next mentor is Gillian Brodie.
She's been a teacher for 11 years
and has a wealth of experience to
pass on to Joseph and Ophelia. It's top tip time.
First tip is effective communication.
Teachers need to be good at sending information but also receiving it.
They need to be good listeners.
My second tip is, you've got to be organised.
If they're not organised, the children will know.
My third and final tip is demonstrating passion and enthusiasm
in everything you teach and in all aspects of school life
will transform you from being a good teacher into a great teacher.
Gillian's top tips are...
Teachers need to be good at giving and receiving information.
Teachers must plan everything from resources to time and behaviour.
This makes learning more fun and interesting.
I would advise you to sing one line first,
and then they will sing it back to you.
And if anyone misbehaves, OK, or they're not listening to you,
highlight the children who are listening to you,
and praise them, and hopefully that will trigger something
and they'll think, "Oh, I'd better stop."
-Great stuff. Will we go and meet the class now?
Joseph and Ophelia will be taking a primary one and two class today,
and because they're new to the school,
it's vital that they know all the names,
so name stickers will help them with that.
The rookies will be teaching their new class a song with actions.
By the end of the lesson, their class need to know it
because they will be performing it in front of a packed assembly hall.
Now it's off to start the lesson.
So, we're going to start off by singing it, line by line.
We want you to sing it back to us, OK?
-They forgot to introduce themselves.
They haven't introduced themselves, no.
# Five little speckled frogs... #
Can you do that?
-# Five little speckled frogs... #
-I think you can do better than that.
Try and disturb the class that's right next door.
Yeah, but don't shout.
-# Five little speckled frogs...#
That was loud! Put your hand up if you know the song?
Prior knowledge. They should have done that at the start.
But they're doing it now.
# Four little speckled frogs... #
-Four GREEN speckled frogs.
Now there are four green speckled frogs.
Oh, they're conflicting.
Some debate over the lyrics there.
-Would you like to do it with the music?
They should have just said, "We're going to do it with the music."
Just... Oh, no.
-No, too complicated.
They're sounding a bit more like a football crowd.
As the lesson continues, not everyone appears to
-be paying attention.
-He's doing a guitar solo.
Rocking it out.
When we're doing "Five little..."
His voice has got a lot louder.
Very much, yes, just realised.
When we're doing "Five little speckled frogs", I'd like...
Ophelia doesn't need to be there.
-She should be over helping Joseph now.
She's panicking. You can tell.
She's definitely just lost focus.
No, no, just that group at the front.
Gillian needs to step in to get this back on track,
as the rookies have started to lose the class.
This is just, I know, it's very difficult, isn't it?
So we'll start with... # Five little
# speckled frogs... #
And then you can go... # Sat on a speckled log...
# Eating some most delicious spuds.
# Yum, yum! #
Gillian has tried to steer the rookies back on track,
and now they only have a few more minutes to finish their lesson.
But as soon as she's left the hall, chaos seems to have resumed.
I'd like you to sing as well as do the actions.
The school has gathered in the assembly hall.
It's time for the big performance.
Good afternoon. I'm Joseph, and this is Ophelia.
We've been teaching primary one, two today,
and we taught them a song,
and they'd like to share that song with you.
Will the pupils have learned any of the song?
Here we go. Remember to tell your pupils to stand up, rookies!
# Five little speckled frogs
# Sat on a speckled log
# Eating some most delicious spuds
# Yum, yum!... #
Good encouragement from the sidelines, rookies.
THEY CONTINUE SINGING
First part, nobody was listening to us at all.
I think being on my own with the class was quite difficult
because I'd never done it before, but I think I enjoyed it
because that's what it would have to be like.
It was quite realistic.
It was quite hard because they misbehaved a lot.
I was quite proud, because I, like,
taught them a whole new song and the whole routine.
So I really enjoyed seeing them at the end.
My favourite part of the assignment was actually
seeing them doing it on stage.
Joseph, I was really pleased you used some of
the behaviour management strategies that we had discussed today.
You just now need to make sure you use those consistently and,
also, the use of positive praise
will help the children with their behaviour.
Ophelia, I was really pleased that you approached your lesson with lots
of energy and enthusiasm.
But, now, you need to make sure that you stay in that level of energy and
enthusiasm so the children will gain a valuable and positive learning
The rookies have had a reality check.
Teaching ain't that easy.
They've learned to grab attention and keep it,
put a creative spin on teaching in the environment and, finally,
had a taste of being on their own with a class,
and just how difficult that can be.
Joseph, if you channel that energy and enthusiasm and you learn to make
that connection with your eyes to the person you're talking to,
I think you're going to make an amazing teacher.
I think you will make it as a teacher and you would be really
great teaching a subject that you clearly love, which is maths.
So, good luck with that.
Just focus on keeping to the lesson
and knowing what you're meant to be teaching would be perfect.
Joseph, you'll make a fantastic teacher.
You just need to make sure that you remain focused and calm.
Ophelia, I think if you make sure you're pitching your content
at the right level for your audience,
and you keep that confidence up,
you're going to be a brilliant teacher.
Ophelia, I think you will do really well as a primary teacher.
I think you were really great.
You spoke at their level and you were nice and creative.
If we could just work on that louder voice and maybe a bit of drama.
Children love it if you're animated and move around a lot.
Ophelia, I think you will make a fantastic teacher.
With behaviour management, you will learn through experience,
and you just have to make sure that you're organised.
So, Joseph, do you still want to be schoolteacher?
Even more? Ophelia, do you want to be a schoolteacher?
Knowing what you actually have to do sort of made it more of an ambition,
You just want to do those things and then teach other people.
-I think actually trying it out really helped,
because now I know what I'm going to do in, like, ten years' time.
You know what you're letting yourself in for, now.
Oh, is that the bell?
Time to go home. Oh, sorry, not for you guys.
-You've got all those books to mark!
Does a school classroom hold an appeal for you or fill you full of horror? Join Alex Riley and rookies Joseph and Ophelia as they find out exactly what it takes to make it in the world of teaching. Science expert Greg Foot puts them through their paces, testing their ability to hold people's attention by trying out some science tricks on the general public.
They take a class for a lesson with a difference, teaching literacy and numeracy not in a classroom, but in the woods near their school. Finally, they are left alone with a class as they attempt to teach them a song to perform at the school assembly. This is the nitty gritty of teaching, as Joseph and Ophelia must keep control of the group with no outside help.