In my first couple of years of teaching I never had a class timetable displayed for students. Then I had a student who really needed one to reduce his anxiety levels. Without knowing what was coming up next in the day, he would become worried and spend too much of his cognitive energy thinking about what might happen. As I usually teacher older students, I decided to display a daily timetable for all students to see rather than single this student out. It worked a treat; no one knew it was meant just for him and it really helped reduce his anxiety levels.
But what I didn’t expect was how much the other students (and me!) came to rely on it. If I ever forgot to update it from the previous day, they would ask to me to change it from the moment they walked in the door. After a while, the students asked me to remove the label for each lesson as the day went on. They seemed to get a sense of achievement when each task was completed. As the year went on, they were able to get the timetable ready for me each morning and I would simply check it and let them know if there where any changes to be made.
When I really thought about why this made such a difference to so many students it wasn’t so hard to see why. When I have a professional learning day or course, I find it really tricky to stay focused if I don’t know what’s coming up next. When I am handed a schedule or timetable for the day’s events, it allows me to relax and mentally prepare for the day ahead. I guess the students are exactly the same! So, now I haven’t gone a single year without a class timetable on display for all of my class to see. Click on the image below to see the one I use in my own classroom: