Friday, 13 January 2012

Here we go then


I've been thinking about doing this for a while.  I've had a blog over on LJ for years and years now, and I'll keep that up as much as I ever did, but what I've been missing is a reflective place to publicly put all the teaching gubbins that goes on.  Obviously I've no idea how much of an audience this will find.

So, what this blog is for is for me to record all the different things I'm trying out in my teaching.  After a few years of really not feeling like I was any use, various things have caused me to rethink this.  It means I've started trying a new thing every week or two, and whilst I've been putting them in a paper file, this might also be useful for keeping a record.

A bit about me then.  I've been teaching for eight years, this is number nine, after spending my time after graduation doing medical microbiology research, a post graduate degree in law and ending up in charge of purchasing for a university department.  I did my PGCE at York University - I'd recommend it because there were only 35 or so people on my course; this meant we all got to know each other and the lecturers, and getting in was a bit more taxing than it seems to be at other universities.  I'd thought about teaching science for a while but never felt confident enough. In the end a friend took me to school with him for a day and I realised that if someone told me how to put a lesson together there was every chance I would be able to teach.  I've stayed with teaching because I enjoy it - getting to know and spend time with teenagers is fun, passing on my enthusiasm for science and especially biology, the days are never ever the same. Trust me, I did a desk job, it was mind-numbing.  I've been at the same school for seven years, some people would say this is too long for career advancement, but I've enjoyed building relationships with the pupils over this time, sometimes it's good to have a Reputation.

I think, like a lot of people, my teaching stagnated before this last 18 months or so.  I was taught to teach in a particular way, which I made into more "me" with experience.  I've seen, and mentored, PGCE students and NQTs who do amazing things that are totally new to me yet somehow the up-to-date theories of teaching haven't reached me.

I'm not sure what changed.  Maybe it was someone from the LEA coming in and trying to shake us up. Perhaps it was a colleague who seemed to have discovered a magical thing called AFL, that I recognised was one of the missing pieces from my teaching.  More likely it was laziness on my part, I was getting away with teaching like a lot of people, which was nowhere near what Ofsted seemed to want.

Still, things changed.  This blog is the story of how, and how things are still changing.

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