Think back to a wonderful holiday or even a weekend away, where you are in beautiful surroundings, in great company and doing things that you love. Yet remember that feeling in the pit of your stomach on the last few days as you realise this experience is coming to an end, and that work looms just a few days ahead. That’s the same feeling many students will feel if they’ve had a great holiday… but it will manifest itself differently and in more complex ways if they’ve had a bad one.
Workload, Ofsted, new initiatives, new specifications, changes to external tests, child poverty, mental health issues - it’s enough to make even the hardiest of teachers question whether or not teaching is a career with any longevity. It’s no surprise that there’s a recruitment crisis and even less of a surprise that there’s a retainment crisis. I’ve been teaching for thirteen years and I have no intention of stopping, though I admit the thought has crossed my mind, and I’ve even gone so far as to search for a job outside of education. There’s a lot that keeps me in the classroom, and there’s a lot that I do outside of it that keeps me teaching.
Code Club, a not-for-profit organisation and part of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, has launched its teacher-volunteer recruitment campaign. This initiative aims to increase the number of teachers involved with leading after school Code Clubs in Primary schools across the UK, and will be will be held across both social channels and a comprehensive email marketing campaign.
Friday 1st July will see High 5 a Teacher Day, a new event celebrating top teaching practices. A Twitter-held holiday, #High5aTeacherDay will ask teachers, school staff, pupils and parents to high-five a teacher / teachers, and explaining what makes their high-fivees special. Those taking part are encouraged to include a video or (well-timed) photo to show off the occasion.
Gamification is essentially about turning all manner of activities into games or competitive activities. Teachers routinely make learning into a game to motivate and interest their students, and so I thought that it might be interesting to take this to the next step and use it with members of staff.
Withington Girls School in Manchester have addressed ambitions of improving their pupils’ written work by undertaking a bespoke inset day. The session, based around the theme of Supporting the Needs of Advanced Learners of EAL, was run by Beaumont Training & Consultancy Ltd and concentrated on how inferences constitute a problem for EAL (English as an additional language) pupils. It also addressed the question of whether or not the school’s teachers should think that it is only the EAL pupils who struggle with texts in this way.
An engaged student will demonstrate four traits when learning: they’ll stick with a problem, they engage fully, they experiment on their own, they return to the problem if necessary. So how do you make classrooms come alive with thriving, engaged learners? Perhaps look to the world of popular rap and icons like Jay Z, Kanye West and Pharrell Williams.
As a mother myself, I like to know what’s going on at my children’s schools and be informed of any changes they are making ahead of when it happens. It’s important to have a positive relationship with the school; after all, it’s also beneficial for them to gain feedback that they may not have taken into consideration beforehand.
This time last year, I was in your shoes; a 23-year-old, fresh-faced former trainee teacher who was jumping onto the relentless treadmill that is the NQT year. Last August, I made a vow to myself: to provide the students in my care with the best education I can provide, but to not completely surrender my life to my career. In this article, I hope to share some of the tricks I deployed in order to help me keep calm and soldier on through my NQT year, hopefully for you to plunder.
These days, as often seen on Twitter, there seems to be examples of great CPD going on all over the place. Inset is delivered by teachers expressly for teachers, TeachMeets are organised and carried out by colleagues all over the country for other like-minded staff keen who go to learn from each other and take home great ideas.