Nic Ponsford

Nic Ponsford

Nicole is the digital leader of @WomenEd, leader of @WomenEd_Tech and founder of @gendercharter. Previously, she was an award-winning AST in Media and New Technologies. Nicole is passionate about gender equality being the ‘new normal’.

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It’s been a while since Nicole Ponsford switched sides and handed in her teaching badge. Since then, she’s become acutely aware of the challenges presented by working with her former peers, and finds that not enough non-educators know enough about presenting to teachers. Here, she gives her top 10 pieces of advice on teaching the teachers.

My role has changed. From being a non-descript member amongst the staff audience, it is now me who is at the front of the hall when it comes to teacher training sessions. I always try to remember my place as a guest and consider what I look like from the back of the room (who said back of a bus?!) and sound like to Mr Cynical Teacher with his arms folded and his lips pursed (and that’s before I have turned the computer on or given out leaflets). Sigh. It is hard work, but when the light-bulbs start twinkling, you really feel that you can give yourself a “self-5”. One of my favourite things is to help teachers find their passion for learning again, but they do make you work for it.

Having accumulated plentiful experience in both the classroom and the education-based private sector, Nicole Ponsford considers how teachers can make the most of the current education sector.

How can you be an outstanding teacher in 2014, against strikes, changing school forms and new curriculums? How can you be, and why would you want to be, outstanding all of the time? I have been graded at this level several times in my profession, but I started teaching well over a decade a go. I suppose my question is… since leaving the classroom in 2011, would I be ‘outstanding’ today and what would I change?

As a school improvement coach and consultant, my heart always goes out to teachers ‘in the field’. I know of the pressures – I have been there – but feel that there is more of an edge in 2014 than there was at the start of the Millennium. Today, there seems to be a shift in morale in schools as a result of the changes in education – politically, digitally and as a professional generally. I don’t recall ever really feeling a huge impact of outside forces, nor watched the news to find out what I would be teaching in September.

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