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Saturday, 19 December 2015

A tough term so what next?

Boy it's been a tough term! New curriculum, new methods of assessment, new Ofsted framework....
Yet still I love teaching. These are some of my own tips on how to survive the madness that is the education system under the tories.

Love teaching but don't let it define you - remember ultimately it is a job, a job you do to live not a job you live for.

Trust your own instincts - teaching is a job everyone has an opinion about. Just remain true to yourself, your pupils, your setting and your teaching style. Any other way leads to confusion and possible madness. 

Surround yourself with people who share your philosophy on education and avoid the sappers and moaners. Yes it's tough this teaching malarkey but boy it's worth it. Have a moan, a rant and a vent when the going gets tough but then dust yourself off and get back on the metophorical bike and lose yourself in teaching. Our pupils remain the perfect forget all. Who can remain down when faced with your pupils, your school family?

Collaborate with professionals in your school and cluster schools. Sharing knowledge and good practice can only improve things for everyone. 

Take your CPD seriously you deserve the best so seek it out. One great source of CPD is Twiter so set up a professional Twitter account it is full of fellow professionals, articles, blogs, resources and pearls of wisdom but do take care it can drag you down. Read my 'Plea to professional tweeters' blog for some further advice.

Have a go at blogging it is such a good way of reflecting on your teaching, advising others and sharing your views. It can be as detailed or simple as you choose. Remain professional but dont let the blogger snobs tell you how to do it just blog!

Throw open your door and like the old saying 'dance like no one is watching' but this time 'teach like no one is watching.' Teach from your gut and not from a three page lesson plan. Be honest, open and true. Don't be afraid to be observed, be confident in your craft. Let others observe you and you go and observe others you never know you may learn something new. Fear of observation has been brought about by bad management and obviously by Ofsteds continual moving of the goal posts. Take back control of your teaching and throw caution to the wind. You do a good job day after day so when observed do what you do, be confident in your abilities. I can guarantee being observed by your peers and observing your peers will help you realise that actually you are 'good' at this teaching thing. Remember it's the learning that counts not you on a unicycle juggling whilst wearing a red nose. 

Good luck and keep fighting the good fight! Only two terms to go ...

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Are you with me?

In April 2014, whilst in the grips of the reign of the now infamous Education Minister Mr Gove I wrote a blogpost 'Do We Need a Teaching Revolution.' The original post can be found here

So nearly two years on where are we? What's new in the hood that is Education? Are things better? 

Well things have changed - 
  • Gove is gone! Replaced, but sadly not history, his legacy survives in the much talked about 2014 National Curriculum. 
  • Ofsted have changed the way schools and in particular teaching is judged. The focus is not just on the lesson, it is now about the learning, pupils behaviour, books, displays and professional dialogue. 
  • Sats levels have gone replaced by a new system which is, it is said so much easier for parents to understand and relate to.
So it could seem that all is well, teachers are happy? Sadly this is not the case:
  • It has been a chaotic year with lots of ups and downs. Schools trying to manage  a completely new curriculum with no extra budget to support the changes. 
  • Devising a whole new method of reporting progress without levels has been both confusing and time consuming. 
  • Education remains under constant scrutiny and high on the political agenda.
  • Ofsted still exist and despite reassurances on their new procedures those in education know the judgment has on the whole been made via Raiseonline before the inspectors even set foot in the school. 
  • Teachers are still leaving the profession in droves for a variety of reasons ranging from being overworked and under increasing pressure. 
  • Those teachers who remain in the profession due to their passion for their job and dedication are exhausted and often demoralised. 
However, remain they do, but why? Teaching truly is a brilliant profession, a privilege. After all what could be more rewarding than a job that allows you to directly influence and have an impact upon the minds of children? 

So what happens now? How can we re energise our profession? What can we do to retain teachers? A lot of unanswered questions, non of which are easy to solve but we have to. We not only have a duty of care to our pupils but also a duty to our truly noble profession. As cheesy as it sounds we need to stand shoulder to shoulder and unite! Hands up if your with me!