Having volunteer professionals come into the classroom can be a rewarding experience for everyone concerned. But it can be daunting, too.
In the second part of this two-part series for teaching staff, our Lawyers in Schools team has ten tips to help things run smoothly on the day of the session.
Part two: in the classroom
Ask the visitors to arrive early so that you can give them a tour of essential parts of the school building that they will need, like the loos and the staff room.
Make sure you set the scene in the classroom.
This means warning the children that they will have a visitor and explaining why they’re there.
Introduce the visitor to the students.
Remind the students how you expect them to treat guests and how you expect them to behave during the session.
Many visitors will have not been in a classroom for years and might not have any experience of working with young people, so it can be intimidating for them.
It’s likely they will have had little or no training in the classroom. As the educational expert, you’ll need to be on hand to fully support them with class management.
Equally: don’t feel intimidated by the visitors.
This is your chance to ask them questions and clarify your knowledge about their specialist area.
Try and give a five minute warning before the end of the session.
In our experience, visitors will keep talking, and students will keep asking them questions, until you stop them! When time is up, announce that the session has finished and ask everyone to pack up. Remember to thank the visitors and the students.
After the session, arrange for the visitors to be led back down to reception.
This is a good time to ask how they found the experience and whether they have any questions or concerns. Do you have any questions or concerns that you’d like to discuss?
Arrange a full review meeting for a later date.
Here, both parties can share what did and didn’t work well – what they enjoyed and what could be improved.
If you are asked to complete any evaluation forms, do try and complete them fully and quickly, as they will be used to show the impact of the programme and why it should continue.
If you will be working with the visitors again, arrange provisional dates for contact to make arrangements.
When will you know next year’s timetable? Will you still be the person to contact? If not, who will be – and can you arrange a hand-over meeting?