September is in full flow. Classes are back and teachers are already getting stuck into helping the children in their class make great progress. Summer seems so far away, particularly as the mornings and afternoons have begun to get darker very swiftly.
As swiftly as the autumn has swept in, the crazy summer on EduTwitter seems to have dissipated. I seemed to have missed the full extent but there was allsorts – insults, jibes, ‘discussions’ between primary and secondary colleagues, the everlasting trad/prog debate and even uproar over a classroom view. But now term has begun all seems to have settled back into a quiet swing of excellent classroom ideas, wellbeing advice and professional support.
One topic that surfaced every now and again was the debate on classroom displays. The debate was this: what is an acceptable amount of time to be spending on classroom displays?
I love a good-looking display as much as the next person. I do see their value. However, if I could avoid doing any task in my classroom, keeping maintained, up-to-date and engaging classroom displays would be it! The task that I would shirk first. Forget marking, risk assessment filling…anything! As such, these debates intrigued me. Some teachers put the opinion forward that spending a large amount of time on classroom displays is a waste of time. Others would argue that if this how teachers want to spend their spare time then what’s the problem? Others then argue back that we can’t fight the battle against an increasing workload when some put more hours into a task like classroom displays than is necessary. If they do it then what’s the problem with asking others to do it?
As I reflected on this I wondered if there was a difference on the time spent on this area of preparing the learning environment between primary and secondary teachers. Twitter polls are not the be all and end all of teacher opinion, but an interesting pattern did emerge:
As can be seen in the above polls, there are some interesting comparisons.
A similar proportion of primary and secondary teachers do not spend 4 days or more on classroom displays.
There is a much wider spread of responses within the primary sector.
70% of secondary teachers spend a day or less on displays compared to 44% of primary teachers.
There will be a number of reasons for this:
- I imagine a huge reason is that secondary teachers do not have a set class or generally a set classroom (please correct me if I am wrong secondary colleagues).
- As primary colleagues, we teach younger children. Therefore, maybe some feel younger children may need more vibrant displays perhaps?
If anyone has any others thoughts on this difference would love to hear them!
Ironically on the same day that I posted this poll, an article Jamie Thom in the Guardian online addressed some thoughts I had been considering. The article can be read here: https://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/teacher-blog/2017/sep/01/how-to-be-a-minimalist-teacher?CMP=share_btn_tw
Have a look – it covers a lot of thoughts I had. Happy October 🙂