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Tactics for Effective Outcome Management

Mastering the Enigma of Learning: 6 Simple Tricks for Relief Teachers

March 25, 20244 min read

Ah, the enigma of student motivation! Have you ever noticed the surge of enthusiasm in kids when they sniff out an upcoming test? It's remarkable! But flip the scenario -- enter the relief teacher -- and suddenly the little scholars realise their performances might not influence their grades, and voilà! They assume what you teach is just a prelude, something their usual teacher will rehash later. The motivation to learn and excel? Poof! Gone with the wind. 

But fret not, dear relief teacher, for even though your tenure may be fleeting and your role in their academic journey indirect, you wield the power to leave an indelible mark on their educational adventure!  

Wondering how? It's time to assert your presence (figuratively, of course) and convey the message loud and clear: your teaching is more than a mere intermission. You're here to enrich, enlighten, engage, and celebrate achievements, no matter how short your stint is.  

Eager for insight on how to unlock this puzzle of passion for learning and cultivate a thriving academic atmosphere? Read on to discover six ingenious strategies to mastermind this quest within your classroom's four walls... 

1. Gamify students' understanding  

A quick way to check for understanding which is surprisingly effective is the five finger score. 

It is only a simple test and by no means an objective measure. 

At an important juncture in the lesson, ask the kids to indicate, using their fingers, (5 being the highest and best score to 1 being the lowest score) what they think about a particular concept. 

For example, during a math lesson you ask the kids, “Indicate how well you understand the formula for the area of a circle?” Kids will put up their fingers from 1 to 5. 

If you see lots of 5s, you are home and hosed. You scored another victory, you educational marvel, you! 

2. Dive deeper: "Explain it to me"  

Never accept a nod of assent as understanding.  

Swap places with the student. Even sit in their chair. Let the student take the front of the classroom and ask her, “Explain it to me again!” 

3. Dear Mum, today I learned...  

A great way to end the day on a positive.

The students write a letter to their parents (or significant adult in their life) and outline what they did during the day (or week) that you were there. 

You might need to make a judgement call about whether or not you need to proof these pieces of work. 

The students could then place the note in the envelope and drop it in their mailbox at home for their parent or carer to find. 

4. Illustrate THEN and NOW  

Embrace the transformative power of visualisation.  

Encourage students to illustrate their current understanding before and after lessons. Witnessing the evolution of their comprehension can ignite a sense of pride and accomplishment. 

This one is based on the BEFOE and AFTER scenario. 

Outcome management Tactic: Draw a picture of you now

5. Set the standards bar high  

Students will produce work to the standard you accept. Only accept a high standard of work. 

Early in your first day with your class, set the standard of work you will accept by asking, "Is that the best work you can produce?" 

If the answer is "No", then respond with, "Well, if it's not good enough for you, then it's not good enough for me. How about you have another go and show your classmates AND ME your best work." 

If the answer is "Yes", respond with, "Let me help you improve. Use a sharper pencil, write more clearly, use a ruler for your lines..." as appropriate 

6. Validate learning with a "Ticket to leave"  

Just before the bell is due to go give all children two tickets. 

Before the students leave the room they must hand over two tickets, on which they have recorded two things they NOW know about the lesson they just had. Proof that you have valued-added to their day. 


Incorporate these strategies into your relief teaching toolkit and watch as your classroom transforms into a thriving hub of learning and growth.

Want to learn all 50 tips and tricks to improve your teaching? Check out
👉 50 Effective Teaching Strategies for Casual Teachers
a FREE eBook download dedicated to relief teachers.

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