Whether you're teaching in the UK or teaching abroad, it is always handy to hear from other teachers about ways to make your life - and your job - easier. Whether it's tips for making the classroom more organised, advice on improving communication with parents, guidance on making school trips easier, or ways to decorate your displays, other teachers are a vast source of inspiration and advice.
Here are some seriously smart and effective teaching hacks that we have heard about during our time working in teacher recruitment:
1. Add QR codes to letters
When you are communicating with parents, add a QR code to your letters so your contact details can be easily retrieved. This can be especially important if the letter is about a school trip or residential stay, in which having your details will be important. You can easily create a QR code using a QR code generator online - there are several to choose from, including qrstuff.com, qr-code-generator.com and goqr.me.
2. Display inspirational quotes
Putting inspirational quotes around the room is a great way to motivate your students. You can use these as cheap wall hangings to decorate your classroom, and they're not hard to make. Either print some off from Pinterest or Google, or head to recitethis.com to make your own from a range of chic templates. Once printed, all you need to do is laminate them.
3. Assign group or class names
When your students are working in groups, or in order to make it easier when working as a large class, add a coloured sticker to the group or class table. This helps them feel like they're part of a team, but also makes it easier for you as you can simply refer to them by colour. For example, if you have a table with a pink dot, you can ask the pink team to present to the class or to bring their work to the front.
4. Back your boards in cloths and sheets
Backing your bulletin boards can be time-consuming, especially given how easily paper can snag. All you need, however, is a cheap plastic table cloth, which you can add to the wall instead. Not only do they come with really nice patterns, but they're very durable and hardwearing. You can find them in plenty of the bargain stores. Another option is to use a flat sheet from a bed, which gives a fabric texture to the wall. This is good if you don't necessarily want it to look glossy.
5. Attach velcro to your pens
If you're fed up of always losing your marker pens, attach velcro to the pens and to your whiteboard so you can stick them back when done. It's also best to put the pen with the tip facing downwards, as this helps to increase their lifespan.