Some thoughts from a teacher in the early stages of her career. Inspired by all the great edubloggers out there!

Archive for March, 2014

Middle Leaders – The Journey

This is a blog that I have written as part of my NPQML course. The John Burnham opinion piece quoted is provided by the National College and about curriculum development through middle leadership.

From John Burnham’s opinion piece, I feel there are a number of implications for middle leaders, with the first and most important, being that we need to inspire the team we are working with. In this current educational climate, we have all been slightly ‘untethered’ so that we have the ability to roam a little more freely. It is in times such as these, that teams can be divided, aspirations forgotten and purposes lost. I think that my first job as a middle leader is to unite my team with a common goal and remind them about what we are working towards, without getting too distracted by the endless possibilities that such freedom brings.

Once we are all working from the same page, I feel that then is the time for the middle leader to adapt and innovate. As John Burnham states ‘In many ways middle leaders are pivotal to this debate because they are central to ensuring that the political and social aspirations for the curriculum are turned into consistently high-quality practice in schools’. What a frightening but exciting prospect that we are the people in control of keeping all of these things rubbing along! And this is alongside teaching a class and managing the day-to-day minutiae of our jobs… Is anyone else feeling a little David and Goliath at this point?! I feel that in my curriculum area of PE, I have a strong responsibility towards ensuring that all children receive quality PE lessons because of the current obesity problems this country is facing (a social aspiration). Luckily, I am in the fortunate position of having a forward-thinking team with very similar aspirations for the children we work with and together we are creating a vision that does juggle all of these political and social aspirations.

In regards to a middle leader’s subject knowledge, I think it is more important than ever to have a secure understanding of your subject and know about any changes in policies that may have occurred. I try and keep on top of new policies and developments through social media, such as Twitter, and then passing this on to the relevant parties in my school. I do not feel concerned about my own, or my direct teams, subject knowledge but, as always with PE, there are gaps in other colleagues’ knowledge. It is my responsibility as middle leader, to ensure that I pass my knowledge on and encourage professional development whenever possible. With PE being a ‘scary subject’, I think this is going to be my biggest challenge over the next year or so; I need to make staff believe that they can teach PE because they are intellectually equipped to do so.

While reading this opinion piece, it reminded me how much freedom we have to be creative and innovate. I am lucky in that I feel very passionately about my subject and I’m really inspired to encourage the next generation of children into life-long participation. Everywhere I look there seems to be another great idea and another fantastic initiative that I could implement in school and encourage others to join with. I feel like a magpie at times, being constantly distracted by the shiny titbits on offer. This is fine for gathering ideas but I must remember that too much change at once is counter-productive. I am going to keep these ideas in mind as my long-term goals but I’m going to keep my feet on the ground and get the basics right first – good quality teaching, resources and assessment to encourage further engagement from both staff and children. I am very excited to get started on this journey!


Discussion: Would You Recommend Teaching?

Very insightful

Secret Teacher

As a new feature on this blog, I wish to generate an educational topic to discuss on a fortnightly basis. Readers can then feel free to add comments to the discussion at any time and we can gain a general consensus on the issue. To kickstart this process, I would like to ask you: would you recommend teaching?

Last week I was in the company of old friends when we found ourselves discussing our chosen professions. A younger sibling of a friend chose this time to tell me that she was thinking of embarking on a career in education and asked me a simple question; would you recommend teaching? I must admit, I stood looking at her for an awkwardly long time as my face made an expression that suggested I’d bitten a lemon and my eyes looked as though they were searching for the moon on the ceiling before…

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Learning from my mistakes: an English teacher’s blog: We need to talk about Kevin’s work

I really like the thoughts behind this type of marking – how can they get better at one target, if we just continue to bombard them with more?

The Echo Chamber

I find it incredibly funny that English teachers often moan about marking, yet put them in a room for a bit with some other English teachers and the conversation soon enough gets on to marking. Yesterday, I had that exact conversation. We were supposed to be gathering resources and tips in preparation for the AQA Unit 1 exam. Instead, marking featured heavily in the discussion. Furthermore, there are endless blogs about marking, and funnily enough a lot of them seem to be by English teachers. This blog too is about marking.

via Learning from my mistakes: an English teacher’s blog: We need to talk about Kevin’s work.


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How the mighty have fallen

Inspiring words for anyone, regardless of the stage they’re at in their career…

the primary head's blog

It happens to the best of us I suppose. You reach a point where if you allow yourself to stop, take a breath and reflect on the situation you’re in, you immediately feel like climbing under a table, breathing into a brown paper bag and perhaps, should the urge take you, quietly vomiting into a shoe. This is why you shouldn’t stop of course. Just keep on going. Just relentlessly chug away like a demented robot who has overridden its self-destruct button happily busying itself unaware of course that it’s about to burn out.

But, because I am not a robot and neither are you, we all occasionally stop and that can often seem like a huge mistake.

Today, I read a reference someone had written for me, about me, for when I applied for my current job. Now, before you start to worry, I don’t make it a habit of…

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Blogs for the Week Ending 23rd March 2014

This helps keep me updated after a busy week!

The Echo Chamber

This is round up of the best education blogs from the last week. If you are an education blogger on WordPress, please reblog this post. I have been invited to contribute a short feature on the Chalk Talk Podcast identifying the blogpost of the week. Any suggestions gratefully received either in the comments below or on twitter, directed to @oldandrewuk

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Just Getting Started…..

So here it is, my first blog post! I’m trying this out in the hope that I will use my writing to discuss and evaluate my practice and also as a way of documenting my journey through my career.

I am a teacher who works in the East Midlands,UK. I am in my third year of teaching and beginning to take on more and more responsibility within my school setting. I am passionate about PE and about providing children with opportunities that they may not otherwise receive. I will be starting my NPQML soon and this blog will hopefully provide me with some much needed reflection time!

I am in no way trying to compete with the great edubloggers of the Twittersphere! I have been developing my Twitter ‘stalking’ over the past 6 months or so and can’t believe how fabulous this medium is for spreading news and changing opinions. I have read many blog posts which have made me think twice and I hope that maybe, one day, I will also write a post that will make someone else think twice.

I think that is enough rambling for now – hopefully my next post will be much more coherent and actually share something that’s worth saying. Off on the start of an exciting new journey!