My students like things exact. They like structure, they like routine and they like me to say what I mean.
So when I say something will happen at a particular time I have to be clear. If I say in five minutes, then at exactly five minutes and one second someone will point out that I am late.
It can be infuriating and it can drive me crazy, but maybe that says more about my inability to stick to a particular time, than it does about my students. I have to take a moment and realise that my students are not doing it to be annoying, they are not trying to look smart and they are not trying to make me look bad. They are doing it because to them it matters. I said five minutes so I should take five minutes. I should say what I mean and stick to it.
So next time a ‘we’ll do it in five minutes’ is about to roll off your tongue, take a moment and think. Do I really mean five minutes? Or do I mean when I’ve finished what I’m doing? And if it’s the latter, say that. Say what you mean, and do it; to someone in your room that accuracy may just matter. And that’s about as easy as differentiation can get…