Whilst writing my last post, I've been doing some training for Accelerated Literacy and our school has been madly preparing for its annual Gala Night. As a consequence, my classes have had a couple of casual teachers and quite a lot of the students have been out of class preparing for various jobs related to the performance.
On coming back to my Year 9 class the other day, I was a bit dismayed about the low number of students but having fielded the usual "Can we not do anything as only half the class is here?" with my usual "No, you've got too much work to do!", the remainder of the class knuckled down and set to it. All of the students were actively and visibly working.
There was a little off-task discussion and the occasional game being played but on the whole I spent the lesson doing exactly what I felt I should be doing: wandering around the room; marking off completed work; checking a student's understanding when I could see that they had made a few mistakes in an exercise; helping students clarify questions and writing examples for single students or small groups.
After two lessons, I've seen the majority of students' books; awarded a stack of badges on Edmodo for completed exercises; talked a few students around to my way of managing the classroom and observed a busy and productive classroom.
Well chuffed! :D