Take a step inside to enjoy green display boards and drawers bulging with surprises and order – where every student understands expectations

A teacher in a modern science classroom looking out of a window at a wildflower meadow

Source: © Delilah Renshaw

Rose likes to enrich learning by teaching some lessons in the wildflower meadow next to her lab

Meet Rose Tobeck, from Frederick Gent School in South Normanton, Derbyshire. She teaches all year groups science with a chemistry focus, so triple chemistry groups as well as combined – from excited and inquisitive year 7s to year 11s preparing for exams and their next opportunities. Rose has been teaching for about five years, which means the first form she taught in year 7 are now in the middle of their GCSEs.

Rose is a chemistry specialist, but teaches science (biology, chemistry and physics) at key stages 3 and 4. Plus, she is a form tutor so frequently teaches PSHE. It’s a constant journey of discovery with all her students, regardless of the subject.

What’s your favourite thing in your lab?

Firstly, tables that move. This has given me lots of creative flexibility in my teaching meaning I can move the tables into pods for improved group work. Sometimes, I move them out of the way so students can theatrically model processes such as rock formation. 

A modern science classroom

Source: © Delilah Renshaw

Rose thinks it must be fate that’s led her to her green classroom

Another great thing is that my classroom opens onto a wildflower meadow. This was established 10 years ago and our site manager takes such good care of it. At the start of spring and summer, I get the delight of watching the flowers bloom and grow. Ecology is an important part of our curriculum, so I can take the year 8s outside to practise using quadrats as the biodiversity is perfect. Final thing, my classroom is green, which I love. I think it’s fate as I was given green boxes when I first started teaching and now I’m in the green room.

What would you love to add to your classroom?

The room was refurbished in 2019 so it is a great teaching space and my favourite classroom so far. I have all the latest equipment with a fantastic sound system so I couldn’t ask for more … apart from a lifetime supply of whiteboard pens. I seem to put them down and they vanish!

Is there something you’re particularly proud of?

My homework boards. We’ve moved to online homework so I always set an online quiz with my 11–14 students. I also print out quizzes for the entire half term, so students have no excuses for not doing them. And I’m always in my classroom, so students know if they need a copy, they can just take one.

I try to remove any barriers to learning so I keep my desk’s top drawer full of equipment for those students who need to borrow something (whatever they need). My second drawer is a little different. I like to think of it as my treasure chest, which is full of prizes, for something extra special for a really good answer or a student who has gone above and beyond.

How do you manage your classroom?

A draw of a desk containing exam papers and lollipops

Source: © Delilah Renshaw

Open Rose’s drawer and you’re in for a sweet surprise

I treat all my rooms with love and care, so my students know not to leave a mess. They’re expected to pick up after themselves – simple rules I have at home that I apply in the classroom. So my lab is tidy, my experiments are always neatly packed away and my students know how to handle themselves. 

This expectation sets my students at ease – it’s a happy, calm environment. I care and expect that they care too. Some go the extra mile to show they do – I have paper flowers from a previous year 11, and they sit with my splints in my Ofsted mug on my desk. Also, I have quotes from my year 8s explaining their favourite science lesson (one gets me chuckling every time I read it).

I show I care, and they show they care, too.