Reflections and a pledge – #Teacher5aday

This year I jumped on the Teacher5aday bandwagon with some posts about workload, time-saving techniques, things I’m going to stop, change and introduce, and why happiness starts now.

As the year draws to a close, it seems that it’s an apt time for reflection on the year’s successes and things to look forward to in 2017 (that and I have a sneaky feeling I said to Martyn Reah I’d blog… and that was sometime last term – sorry!). Here’s some reflections and a pledge for next year.

New school and new roles

2016 saw me start a new role as an intervention coordinator at a new school, followed by a lead teacher for Y6-8 English. So far, I’m loving the new challenges of teaching a primary group and am looking forward to working even more closely with primary colleagues next year. It’s also making me even more determined to create engaging KS3 material that builds on the excellent work that children do in primary so they can fly and succeed. KS3 has been something I’ve posted about a lot (challenge, engagement,  driving questions for progress, early intervention and why knowledge is empowering) and I’m looking forward to developing my own knowledge of the primary curriculum to support progress at KS3.

WomenEd

As somebody with nowhere near as much experience as others in WomenEd, deciding to be a regional leader was a daunting decision and a year ago I blogged about what WomenEd meant to me.  Through an Unconference, residential and amazing network of talented women, I’ve been challenged (personally and professionally) to be 10% braver and supported in a way that has been instrumental in helping me achieve my new posts and refine my long term goals.  So many times this year I’ve felt grateful for the wonderful ladies who have been there to chat, give advice and bounce ideas off. Working with WomenEd has given me more clarity of personal ambition and goal than anything else since qualifying as a teacher.  Sometimes it can seem that Twitter and maybe education in general becomes a ‘who can shout loudest/work the longest hours’ competition and WomenEd isn’t about that. The message of collaboration and community is something I think education needs more of. WomenEd has reinforced my idea that it is possible to get places by building others up, not through competitive one-up-man(or woman!)-ship. Moving into 2017, I can’t wait to build on some of the connections we’ve made in the North East and work towards developing our amazing network further.

Looking ahead to 2017. A pledge… kind of.

I’m not one for making resolutions just because it’s January. There’s something about making grand pronouncements that’ll be broken by February that seems sort of pointless to me. My aim for 2017 is to keep plugging away slowly on my goals, complete my thesis (justkeepwriting!) and make time for myself, my hobbies and to recharge.

choices

And finally…

goodyear1

Reclaiming KS3: Engagement

In this series of blogposts I’m exploring ways that KS3 can be reclaimed rather than being viewed as a second priority behind KS4/5. To go further, what I’m suggesting is that if schools want to ensure maximum progress gains at KS4, then targeted investment in KS3 is essential.

The three ways that this can be achieved are:

  • Challenge (Read the post here)
  • Engagement
  • Early intervention

Engagement

employee-engagement-survey-staff-surveyThere’s been a lot of discussion about the nature of engagement and relevance in the eduTwittersphere in recent months and it’s clear that these concepts raise a range of issues to be explored.

Sometimes I find that engagement is often tied up in discussions of relevance and self-esteem and many other concepts that shift the focus of learning away from the student and on to the teacher. When engagement becomes synonymous with ‘entertaining’ and ‘fun’, there’s an implication that if there’s an issue with achievement or student behaviour, it can be explained away as ‘the child only behaved that way because they found the lesson boring’. This approach fundamentally undermines teaching staff and excuses poor behaviour. It gives students an opt out and acts as a stick to hit teaching staff with – hardly conducive to developing a high performing team. Positive behaviour for learning should be non-negotiable, regardless how entertaining students find the lesson. In this post, I’ll be exploring why challenge can help foster engagement and how through praise we can promote engagement within an academic environment.

Continue reading “Reclaiming KS3: Engagement”