Friday, 25 July 2014

What have I learnt in my first year in teaching?


So my first year in teaching has come to a close and this post is an opportunity to reflect on the lessons learnt and recall some of the key experiences that I have had.

Lesson 1 - There is a lot of work to cover

The amount of time I took over the first topic in maths was unnecessary and I quickly learnt to keep things moving. This is where effective mid term and long term planning come into play and I hope to plan more effectively over the long term next year.

Lesson 2 - Christmas is chaos

I didn't notice during my PGCE because I had a year 3/4 class who had to learn some songs to support year 5/6 but little else. Last Christmas I had to try and get every learner up on stage saying a line, dancing, singing and by the end of it I felt like Andrew Lloyd Webber! A fantastic experience and lots of good learning opportunities but my plan's were ripped to shreds with the Christmas related activities being completed.

Lesson 3 - The MEP is hard work (really hard!)

I think everyone who started the Masters in Educational Practice was under no illusion that it would be a lot of work however the amount of time that you need to devote to it is greater than expected. It is key to manage your time effectively and prioritise however the content has generally been interesting and the professional development is good.

Lesson 4 - Join a union

Although I joined all the unions during my PGCE I saw them as sort of an insurance policy in case things go wrong. This is not the case they are so much more giving members an opportunity to discuss and bring to the media and governments attention issues in education. They are also a great source of professional development and networking. The ATL conference I attended over the Easter holidays was a great learning experience and gave me the opportunity to talk about pay on stage in front of at least 200 other teachers and teaching staff!

Lesson 5 - The summer term is not a breeze!

My previous experience of summer has involved sports day's, trips out and playing rounder's in the sunshine. Although all of that happened again and was as always great fun this year I also had reports to write! These took at least 30 minutes each for 29 learners and seemed to hang around for ages as we added in attendance and results from the LNF tests. I enjoyed writing the reports it just took a long, long time to complete!

Friday, 11 July 2014

What is the value of learner centred behaviour management?

Last Friday we sat all the learners in KS2 down and asked them to think of all the problems that they faced in the school day. Lots of them mentioned that they felt unsafe on the yard and that they felt as though they were often being called names and hurt be each other. We then asked the learners to come up with a number of solutions to their problems. The solutions suggested included a new approach to problems on the yard, a ban on play fighting and a new thoughts box (where learners can post happy or negative thoughts knowing that the staff will read them). The important thing was that these solutions were suggested by the learners themselves and therefore they have ownership over them. It is their responsibility to put these into practice and monitor them.

After the first week of this intervention it is difficult to tell how well the new strategies are working. Certainly there have been no major incidences this week however the idea is not to tackle major incidences but to improve overall behaviour of all learners.

Your thoughts on this approach to behaviour management are much appreciated.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Can I teach an outstanding lesson every day?

Can I teach an outstanding lesson every day?

A little while ago an experienced teacher mentioned to be what may be a trade secret..."try and teach one outstanding lesson every day and the rest will fall into place". Recently I have been trying to incorparate this idea into my planning making sure the learners make progress in every lesson but also doing my best to teach one lesson every day I am proud off.

This week's lessons have included at one end of the scale a successful maths lesson where learners showed high levels of engagement in a well differentiated outdoor lesson learning about angles. To a science lesson today where the starter didn't really take off and although the learners did make progress I wasn't proud of the overall learning that took place.

Twitter is a good way of posting ideas down and getting excited about one lesson a day (yes we should be excited about every lesson but is that possible...) and posting about what I am looking forward to in the school day. 

I hope to teach more outstanding lessons next week!