I am utterly ashamed of how long it has been since I have muddled through a blog post. I have taken my energies away from work for a bit (above and beyond Summer) and feel that I need to start this year with a babble to mark the end of my NQT and start of ‘proper’ teaching.
How was last year?
Hard. However, the goal posts were different to my PGCE, and the demands were different. Having the hindsight of simply recognising the pattern of behaviour as we enter a new year has been valuable. I have given myself the extra challenge of starting at a new school (I don’t like to make it easy) and with last year containing so many big things on the life front, I feel ready to tackle a new year and push myself in a different way.
As an NQT, I think it is the most manageable and self preserving approach to look at your role in a day-to-day manner, mainly due to time constraints and your head swimming with ideas/nonsense that you think you need to hang on to, and now I can see the value of looking further into peaks and troughs of an academic year. The knowledge of knowing that the Autumn term being the most challenging in my eyes is almost a reassuring element; I can mentally steel myself for the long haul, and know that a) there IS a light at the end and its name is Christmas! And b) the challenges are simply the ones I will set myself.
My confidence as a teacher is ten times of this time last year, and the self assurance that you are able to put things into small people’s brains gives you a real sense of self worth. Of course, you could do that at the start if your NQT- you just didn’t realise that at the time. By you, I mean me. Obviously.
This is essentially a little catharsis before the madness begins; I want to ensure that I have a clear set of goals for what I want to achieve within my teaching practice, and this blog seemed like the perfect place. I am not a person motivated by progression or career development in a TLR sense, but more the expectations that I want to place upon myself and the children that I have the luck to teach. So, here’s goes:
Re design Key Stage 3 assessment.
This is something that I have felt strongly about for a while- I do not feel that we are providing students with a clear, manageable way to assess their own capabilities or development in a language that is understandable to them. I am empathetic to teaching according to pervious APP framework, but I do not feel that it is adequate to giving students any sense of what is expected for them- both at the point that they are at in their educational journey, or to prepare them for GCSE and beyond. It is this that assists to stifle flair at an early point, which I am keen to confront- as I am sure others are also.
Develop independence within secondary education
Students need to understand the concept and value of thinking for themselves, placing themselves mentally in a position to question ideas and develop as individuals that will not only participate in society, but ultimately mould and evolve to change and improve it. In order to do this, they NEED to comprehend that it is ok to think, and that this exists beyond simple the right or the wrong answer.
Preparing children for linear assessment
This is something that makes my brain hurt, and concerns me the most. In a profession that is moving (against my will) towards treating all students the same, irrespective of specific need, attainment and ability to access, I feel that it is only fair that I equip them to do this to the best of their ability. I haven’t quite worked out what that looks like yet.
Bring literacy back
Like sexy, only better Justin. Because literacy is the key to the planet! I want to raise awareness in communities, both educational but with the supporting network that we have available to us as schools, that not only is literacy important but it craves to be celebrated. Poetry is a lost art that gets eyes rolling, and I want to change that reaction. Shakespeare doesn’t get the hand clapping that he deserves in the teenage world. Books are something to be shared and embraced, and the positivity that literacy should receive isn’t yet present to the extent that I want it to be (I have a mega plan for this one but you will have to bear with me whilst I teach/plan/do the other stuff on the list/ renovate a house/ maintain a relationship/ raise a child. Any day now).
Have a profound effect in the education in the country that I live in.
That sounds grand, but again, it’s in progress.
My plans are super sized, but I feel that if you can’t think big, how do you expect the kids to?