Tuesday, 27 December 2011

The future

After 30 years of teaching - a whole range of subjects - but mainly a whole range of personalities -a great deal of soul searching and many conversations with my long suffering but very supportive husband - I've decided that next year is the one where I go freelance!
My work will be a range of photography (already have several wedding bookings and a regular studio slot) and education - thanks to the ever enthusiastic role model @hywel_roberts!
I'm excited and scared in equal measures. I have ideas for books, designs for cards....a buzz in my head but most of all I have crossed fingers. Here's to 2012. Your advice and suggestions would be most welcome!

Saturday, 19 November 2011

10 things about change

'A change is as good as a rest'  OR 'A person who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new'

Well which is it to be? After 18 years of teaching at the same secondary school I gained a new position still as an AST but teaching photography in a school near by. The last ten weeks have been some of the most challenging of my teaching career - what have I learnt?
1.To be more sympathetic to NQTs and new staff because I now remember what it feels like!
2. You have to earn respect and it takes time.
3. No two schools have anything like the same admin systems and you need eternal patience and ingenuity to work them out.
4. Staff are the same in every school - you have explorers, tourists and saboteurs everywhere - find the explorers and work with them.
5.The support staff are your best friends (the site staff took pity on me and gave me the lift code on week 6 of me struggling up 3 flights of stairs hour or so!)
6. Be true to your values, the kids will try you out because you are new - they will come to understand why you are doing what you are - so that they can learn.
7.Keep your sense of humour - accept smaller steps of progress than maybe you are used to - it's still progress.
8. Chocolate is the answer (what was the question??)
9.Ask for help and advice if you need it - you are never too old to learn.
10.If all else fails- resign and go freelance!

Thank you to everyone who has supported me!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Behaviour for Learning

Am I missing something here…?
I logged on to my computer this morning before school to check my e mails as I normally do. The one from TES connect said ‘Advice and resources to help you deal with low-level disruption in the classroom’. I had 5 minutes before assembly so clicked to take a look.
There was a list of classroom rules
Point number 1
‘The teacher is in charge of the room and the class. Any reasonable instruction must be followed’
Err what? I did read the whole list as to be honest I began to think it was a spoof list. I cannot believe that in our enlightened and creative age anyone would see a classroom as the teacher’s domain and territory – all who enter are under my rule. What happened to dialogue? Teamwork isn’t just between pupils surely it’s our classroom and we work together?
Point number 6
‘At the beginning of the lesson, students should take their assigned seats, and quickly begin the work given to them’
This is wrong on so many counts! The work given to them? I thought we had agreed that education wasn’t something that is ‘done to you’ you are a participant in it? What happened to the ‘lure’ getting children hooked into their learning, engaging them, making them intrigued and wanting to learn?
Point 9
‘…no one is allowed to walk around the room without permission’
Well I hope you never visit my classroom! I encourage pupils to ask one another before me, I’m not the fount of all knowledge! They will happily go and work with other pupils, help out, sit on the floor in groups – whatever makes them comfortable, I know which I would prefer.

The whole list just made me depressed and do you know what…if I was told to do all of these things I think I would misbehave myself!

Friday, 6 May 2011

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Not perfect

The trouble with being an AST is that people expect certain standards and you are not allowed to have an 'off day'. Well yesterday was shocking and even worse it was my fault! I'd had a bad lunchtime duty, gale force winds and hard work followed by two hours with a year 7 class and boy was I irritable. They constantly asked the same questions, didn't think, didn't listen...so I got more irritable and the whole thing fell apart. I worried about this last night but decided to do something about it today. Apologised for being irritable, explained why and played an extract from 'allo allo' where she says 'listen carefully I will say this only one' ..several times!! Explained I would answer a question once only. If they asked a question that I had already answered I would remain silent and it would be up to them to find out themselves - sharpened listening skills after the first couple of times. Questions about can I print, have glue etc etc were just met with a smile. Guess what - they got it...the listening skills improved the low level questions tapered off, and today was a good day!

Sunday, 30 January 2011

The moment

Apologies to whoever it was that posted on Twitter this morning 'no class ever cheered the statement get out your textbooks and turn to..' as I didn't write down your name to credit you with starting me on this train of thought. In Mantle of the Expert work we talk about the 'lure' and how important it is to hook children into their learning. We have to lure children into wanting to know. There are 'moments' when you know you 'have' your pupils. I've heard them called Champagne moments or lightbulb moments but basically you just know when that moment happens. I've been fortunate this week to witness and take part in 3 such moments.
The first was in a lesson about the Huskar mining disaster. I was talking to the children quietly and modelling what must have been going through the head of the man waiting for his son to come out of the mine whilst the others coming out couldn't look at him as they knew he was dead. I paused and looked up - absolute silence and a whole class of 11 year olds waiting to see what would happen next, their understanding deepening all the time.
The second was working with two wonderful colleagues Hywel Roberts & Debbie Kidd both superb practitioners who willingly went into role and had an argument for us. Debbie was the 80 year old Mary that our company was going to get rid of in our revamp of the Eyam Museum --until we got to know her and realised how much she had to offer. Hywel was from Derbyshire council and was going to refuse our tender. Mary made a passionate speech and the class broke into spontaneous applause - a bond forged and understanding of the wisdom that comes with age - barriers broken down and the class responding together.

The third such moment was on Holocaust memorial day - a pile of yr 7 'bodies' in white masks acting out the horror of the holocaust to a silent gym of 300 pupils.

I'm sure you have lots of moments but like the poster on twitter this morning I'm struggling to remember a moment that was caused by page 37 in a text book!

Saturday, 1 January 2011

project 365

I have uploaded image one of my 365 project, as this is hopefully going to take on a life of its own I have set up a new site specifically for this.