Monthly Archives: October 2015

First half term: how did I do?

Below is copied text from a post I wrote in the summer. I am going to self assess on each of these targets:

Personal reflection

Balance

The pupils in my classes need me to be rested and calm and collected so that they get the best from me. Therefore, I need to ensure that I sleep well, read for pleasure, exercise and manage my workload. – I am doing reasonably well at this, however I must try not let this slip towards the end of term.

Behaviour management

This has always been the weakest area of my practice and I will be making a concerted effort to improve this. I will be taking the following steps:

Higher initial expectations of behaviour in the classroom – This could definitely be better

A calm and consistent response to disruptive behaviour – Perhaps the target I have met most convincingly and the one I am most proud of – I have stayed calm and controlled even when confronted by some very negative behaviour

Use of SIMS to record sanctions – Getting better

The biggest challenges for me will be to instil higher expectations in my middle ability Year Eleven class and to ensure that I stick to the above routines with them and with my incoming middle ability Year Ten Class. – I have been successful with my year ten but year eleven are proving very tough, probably as I did not start well with them

Marking and Feedback

I am determined that my marking has as much impact as possible. I do not want pupils just to glance at their book simply to check it has been marked. I will therefore ensure that I am consistent with the following:

Pupils instructed to leave significant space for feedback underneath their work – Not met yet

legible, specific, differentiated marking – so that pupils can read and understand both WWW and EBI. – Getting better

Directed Improvement and Reflection Time – I didn’t carry this through last year and I think it is crucial – this can be done with purple pen – Much better and it is having an impact

Peer Assessment – This will be modelled multiple times and will firstly involve highlighting the best line/paragraph in a piece of work and the line/paragraph that needs most improvement, progressing to pupils using specific success criteria in the same way that I would. – Much more work needed on this

Lesson planning

With every lesson I need to ask:

What do I want the class to have learned by the end of this lesson?
(learning objectives/outcomes/learning arrow/all/most/some) – Could be clearer

How can I connect the lesson to previous learning?  (starter/key words) – Starters have been a strength for a while now

How will I check their understanding?  (mini plenary/plenary) – This needs to be more consistent

What are the needs of specific learners in the class and how can I meet them?
(PP/SEN/G&T/what I have learned about them) – Differentiation is a strength.

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The Lords

It is an interesting debate; on the one hand the Lords is an unelected chamber, on the other hand the Tories stated explicitly that working tax credit wouldn’t be cut (Cameron even stood up, Westlife style, to emphasise his point). Also, it will be interesting to find out why the Tories packaged the bill in the way that it did, because, as I understand it, the bill could have been exempted from a vote in the Lords as a strictly financial measure. Instead it was a ‘statutory instrument’, a classification which seems perfectly placed to invite conflict with the Lords. Do the Tories now regret reforms that have lead to a greater number of Labour and Lib Dem peers? I doubt that they have invited this conflict as part of a radical belief in true democracy.

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A bit of a rant.

I posted this Guardian Article to Facebook about Teachers wanting to leave the profession and someone commented that Teachers should be pleased that curriculum reform is now aiming to place the transmission of knowledge at the heart of teaching. I replied with the following:

I can only speak from my perspective, but I don’t think it is curriculum reform that is the problem. I think it is good that we have ditched Of Mice and Men and I am really excited to teach Jekyll and Hyde. However, I think teachers are frustrated for a few reasons. Firstly, I have been teaching for five years and in that time Coursework was changed to Controlled Assessment, reformed and has now been eliminated completely, along with Speaking and Listening (which was changed mid course). Also, the methods by which pupils are assessed at KS3 is constantly under question and review. Finally, the methods by which Teachers are appraised seems constantly under question and review. My colleagues and I want to transmit knowledge, we want to make pupils better at reading, writing, speaking and listening and foster a love and exploration of great literature. Instead of this it feels like we are in a period of great uncertainty where a teacher’s professional ability is measured through endless bureaucracy.

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Something nice.

My NQT observed a colleague of mine in English this week with a behaviour management focus, she was really impressed and I made a point of letting my colleague know this.

‘It’s good to hear something nice for a change’

Was the reply, because as an English Teacher and Head Of Year, that doesn’t happen often. I was really happy to be able to pass on the feedback and it linked in to an idea I have had (which I am sure others have had due to convergence)

The Idea

An email is sent out to staff listing all the main areas of teaching and learning, with perhaps some space for ‘other’. Staff can then voluntarily nominate as many or as few staff as they like that they think are excellent in that area, for example I could nominate my aforementioned colleague for behaviour management. These nominations are then collated.

Teachers with one or two nominations will get an email telling them what they were nominated for. Teachers with several nominations will be asked if they would like to run a CPD session.

I just feel like staff will get something positive said to them and the school might get some decent CPD out of it. 

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