After outlining my initial ideas for CPD and subsequently blogging about the thought process behind my concept over Christmas, I wanted to explore this idea in more detail, but also to additionally provide a practical insight as to how I try to implement a VVT approach within my own practice. I did previously touch upon this as I neared the end of my NQT year and am so keen to provide other teachers with the mindset to not only admit that perhaps we do not work at our most effectively sometimes. As a result, because of the nature of the job and the extent of the accountability on our parts (even if this is our own self-expectation alone) this often means that inefficiency results in work leaking into our strive to maintain a work-life balance. We all know that the definition of this balance as teachers can never completely be Mon-Fri 9-5 without an ounce of additionally obligation, but is that reasonable? Should we accept that?
I am in my second year of teaching, having completed my NQT last year and then starting at a new school in September of last year. My NQT year left me a little frazzled and I wanted to work out a way to maintain an approach that had resilience and longevity but did not compromise my enthusiasm. I manage a household, write on a freelance basis in addition to my full-time teaching post. I do not view my role at work as ‘just’ teaching; I have worked hard to write and pilot a variety of resources and practices that will eventually be in a position to work on a whole-school scale. I bore easily! The challenge of teaching means that my job and additional paid projects accommodates for that. I work 8-5/6, Monday to Friday. I do not work in the holidays with the exception of an afternoon the day before to ensure that I know what I am doing the following day. I refuse to take books home.
This isn’t a deliberate, ostentatiously compiled series of statements; it is simply an introduction to the fact that I share the pressures, deadlines and priorities of any teacher, no more and no less. Each role contains its own set of obligations and demands, but with teaching and learning in mind, I wanted to share how I achieve this with other teachers so that instead of shrugging my shoulders when colleagues say, ‘HOW do you do it?’ I am actually providing practical ways that I use that other teachers could apply to their own practice.
As mentioned within my #Nuture1415 post, my mindset for effective planning and delivery within lessons, prioritisation of administration and any additional projects is met with a Value vs Time consideration. Disregard the external demand; what will be of greatest benefit to YOU for the longest period of time? Which skills need to be taught for that particular unit that are a priority for THAT class? What long-term routines can you establish in a straightforward way that can then prove to be priceless in the long run?
After mapping out the different ways that I try to achieve this, I came to the conclusion that it would be beneficial to share @TMLeics. Whilst most educators tend to come to a Teachmeet with a view to improving and developing their own teaching practice with reference to undiscovered resources or alternative methods of delivery, this could combine several aspects of my teaching that within any other format, would have simply been a presentation of ‘stuff I do.’
I don’t want to go into detail (massive spoiler alert for March!) but wanted a bit of a reminder to myself of the ethos behind my meaning; that whilst teaching IS about improving the education of children, we are also working in a very demanding and rapidly adapting climate that requires us to evolve quickly and proactively rather than reactively to the changes currently threatening to drown us within a system to an extent at times. Sometimes being the best teacher you can be is ensuring that you have put yourself at the centre of your priorities rather than the children in the classroom.
Elements of VVT that I will cover @TMLeics on the 17th March (https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/leicester-teachmeet-2015-in-partnership-with-toshiba-additionally-sponsored-by-e-teach-twinkl-tickets-13125997211):
Streamlined marking and feedback
Classroom routines that will work for a long-term, established classroom climate
A box of tricks- literally!
Further challenge and duplicated practice
The point? More time for planning, teaching and the privilege of a teacher in front of students that had more than 6 hours sleep the previous night. That’s the dream, right?