Lee Parkinson is a prominent voice in the British education community. Known through his Twitter (@ICT_MrP) and blog (mrparkinsonict.blogspot.co.uk), Lee shares a huge amount of ideas and inspiration with peers far-and-wide. He’s a Primary teacher based in Manchester, and spends the rest of his time being an author, trainer and family man. His most recent book is entitled ‘15+ Ideas For The Emoji Keyboard In The Classroom’.
As professionals within the educational sector we all strive to improve our game. It is not uncommon to find our teaching staff, as well as administrative and support staff, venturing into roles within pastoral care. They may take up these incredibly important roles alongside their primary role in a climate where pastoral support has become an ever-increasing growth area. In my youth, this role would have been tackled by the school nurse, but now many schools have full-time teams managing the demands of modern day schooling.
Learning how to become a teacher is just like learning how to drive a car. This is because when you learn to drive a car someone is always with you. Once you pass your test you are on your own, and this analogy is very similar to teaching, whereby once you pass the course you have been studying the door closes and you are now the teacher. When this happens you are given full responsibility for a class, and you are therefore accountable for both their learning and progress.
In the first part of this series, I described how through the 11+ system I was sent to a Secondary Modern school. The glass ceiling that it represented comes into play again as I discover my options in the 4th year (Y10). “Think like a learner” is a good maxim for those involved in teaching or guiding learners. Empathy could go a long way to reducing the trauma of school.
“Effective leadership coaching can happen on the dance floor of conversation.” -
John G. Agno
There are many definitions of leadership. Some highlight the importance of highly-developed professional skills and knowledge; others dwell on the importance of personal skills. A number of researchers state that leadership begins with the character of leaders, their emotional intelligence, self-awareness, personal values and beliefs. As Will Ryan (2003) pointed out: “If You Scratch a Good Head…You Find a Moral Purpose.” Other researchers rightly state that without a clear operational strategy or a strong strategic plan of how to communicate and achieve goals and create vision, success is not possible.
My dream of teaching abroad in some capacity started at the age of 17, if not earlier, as I sat in an assembly watching images of school pupils in Africa and seeing how little they had. The speaker showed children talking about how much they wanted to go to school, teachers talking about doing their best and enjoying teaching the children, but knowing that they hadn’t had sufficient training to be able to help their pupils more.
Take a look at part 1 of Jude's journey here.
Visit - “Better to see something once than to hear about it a thousand times.” – Asian proverb
The opportunity to be in China for a block of time, and the chance to learn and discover new places, meant that any freedom we had for rest or recreation was largely taken up with maximising every moment to go somewhere or to absorb the culture. While there were the planned visits to the Great Wall, The Temple of Heaven, The Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and the Summer Palace, there were other opportunities to take the metro to some of the absolutely wonderful markets and ornate temples.
A few months ago, I spent some time with a few newly-appointed senior leaders, all assistant headteachers who had recently been extremely effective in middle leadership. None of them could be described as shy or retiring, yet having already proven themselves, they had now lost confidence and fallen foul of the dreaded ‘imposter syndrome’. A few days later, I was in a room full of educators at a conference who related their very similar feelings. It is much talked about, isn’t it? We all of us have probably been there at some point in our careers and it certainly isn’t picky about which gender it chooses to afflict.
“You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so…get on your way!” – Dr Seuss
The opportunity to be immersed in the language and culture of another country provides a valuable opportunity for increasing cultural awareness first-hand, interacting with native speakers and developing new perspectives. A little over a year ago, I left Scotland to spend two full weeks in China with a group of Scottish teachers. Our group was composed of Primary and Secondary teachers. We were all heading to the Beijing Language and Culture University to learn Mandarin, enhance our understanding of Chinese culture and gain new ideas we could bring back to our own work contexts.