The best lesson I have taught so far was part of a series of lessons on circle theorems and the equation of a circle. The lesson was with a top set year 10 class on finding the equation of a perpendicular line.

I was making sure that the class had this skill down before we moved on to finding the tangent to a circle at a particular point.

I used several diagnostic questions at the start of the lesson to make sure they remembered how to find the equation of a line and what perpendicular meant. After a quick recap of the standard equation and what the letters mean, we were ready to learn something new.

One of my subject specific targets from my previous lesson was to make the answers to the questions at the start of my worksheet nice numbers. This was due to the fact that last lesson a lot of the answers to my questions had fractional answers, this added to much strain on their working memory. Later on, in the question set it was great to have fractional answers as this interleaves the fraction work so that they are practising that too. However, at the start it is too much they need to gain fluency in finding the perpendicular line.

Today’s lesson went much smoother after a couple of examples on the board, the pupils got to work answering the questions. We checked the first few on the board after 5 minutes and it seemed like almost everyone was getting it. One girl who had been struggling over the past few lessons excitedly said that she gets it now! I gave her a thumbs up and she gave one back. This little exchange made all the lesson planning, fiddling with GeoGebra and PowerPoint editing well worth it!

The little interactions with pupils like them saying “Hi Sir/Miss” in the corridor or remembering something you mentioned ages ago are often what make my day or at least turn it around if it wasn’t going well.

Despite this being my best lesson reflecting on it there is still loads I would change. I might have plotted some perpendicular lines on the board or written pairs of perpendicular lines and seen if pupils could spot the link between the gradients themselves. There were times when I spoke over people who were still talking, and I overran slightly. So still a lot of work to do but I’m hopeful that I have a long career as a teacher ahead of me.

By Ewan Murray

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