The old adage tell us that “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”.
This week I have penned a new thought, “the way to a child’s heart is through star charts and football“.
My school has only recently introduced the idea of after-school clubs and in a moment of weakness, fuelled by a drained bank account, I agreed to run a club every afternoon. Unfortunately only a very tiny percent of the children in my clubs are in my actual class and, as such, a lot of winning over needed to happen.
For the younger children, the game was fairly easy – a simple star chart, multicoloured stars and promises of gifts untold. For every good answer, best behaviour or quickest game-winner, a star in the colour of choice is added to the chart; the child with the most stars at the end of term is promised a gift. Simple, ageless and yet still highly effective.
For the older children, eyes roll at the thought of star let alone a documented chart of good behaviour. Instead, I have chartered a term-long project centred on football – the favourite sport of the average British child. It might not be as effective as stars for incentivising good behaviour but it certainly has seen a few more smiles directed my way instead of middle fingers!
It’s tough making friends as a teacher in primary school, but it is possible. A few tricks, a friendly smile and a little bit of creative thinking helps to ensure that each hour after-school session passes by without too many incidents.