Mrs Humanities

Because I'm married to the job


2 Comments

Mrs Humanities shares… 5 reasons to stay in teaching

mrs humanities shares

Teaching is an incredible job, yet so many of us are leaving or considering leaving the profession. The following post is a counterargument to my recent post on why teachers are leaving the profession. So here goes…

1 // The future needs responsible citizens

Somebody has to teach young people how to care for others, the planet and themselves. It seems that this has fallen on teachers more and more in the current political climate.

Fewer programmes and schemes are developed for young people outside of school to support their social development and greater emphasis is being placed on schools as the source of such knowledge and developments.

Over the past few years I’ve seen increasing numbers of young people engage in politics. The referendum to leave the EU seemed to be the initial introduction many of my former students needed to spark their interest. Since then the change in political powers and the rise of Trumpism and other forms of Nationalism has got the backs up of many students I never would have expected to be so concerned (even though they should be).

We need more young people to be the change they want to see in the world. We need to give them the knowledge and skills to be critical, to analyse and to think for themselves. To take action and to be proactive. I knew very little about the power of protest when I was in high school (yes, that’s what secondary was called in Wales), over the years that has changed with the influence of technology. We need to teach young people how to use activism and technology to change the world for the good, for they will be the future leaders.

If we can support this in schools, think of the world they might have at our age?

2 // Every day is different

I’m sure you’ve seen those cheesy ads for teaching with the sayings ‘no day is the same’ and ‘every day is different’. As cheesy as it is, it really is the truth. I expect one thing out of the day and I get something completely different. I go into a lesson with the plan in my head, inevitably something happens that changes the course of the lesson I had planned out. Students surprise you. They make you laugh. They make you cry. They make you angry and frustrated. They make you happy and joyful. A day never turns out how I might expect.

The old saying ‘variety is the spice of life’ is too true when it comes to teaching. Embrace every day and what it throws at you.

Will other careers give you this much variety on a day-to-day basis?

3 // The “ah I get it” moments

I love that moment when a student struggles and struggles some more, then all of a sudden it falls into place. They get it. They see the big picture and all the puzzle pieces that make it up. They understand. They feel accomplishment. They feel success.

Who doesn’t love those moments? Do you get those in other careers?

4 // Learning is fun

As lame as that sounds, I know I wouldn’t have continued to learn as much if I weren’t a teacher. Being a teacher keeps you learning. It provides the perfect opportunity to continue your professional and subject development.

I originally went into teaching with the aim to get a PGCE qualification in order to return to environmental education. My knowledge development I’m sure would have remained in that sector. Through teaching I’ve developed pedagogical knowledge, geographical knowledge, historical knowledge, computing knowledge and the list goes on…

You never stop learning as a teacher. You’re a learner for life.

5 // You can be a rebel, you can start the rebellion

Too many teachers feel they have little say in the day to day running of the school. True but you can have an impact in your classroom. Every little action is a step along the way. Take a stand. Be brave enough to say no if you feel it won’t benefit your learners.

The more people that stand up, the more noise we make. The more noise we make, the hard it is for leaders not to listen (this seems so applicable to wider society as well as the moment).

Don’t do things just because you feel you have to; unions are there to support you. We are adults, we are educated and we have the right to fight for what we believe in.

That goes to the leaders of schools as well. Stand up to the politicians, the so called “Ofsted want to see” and be brave enough to put your staff and students first.

What would you add to the list?

Mrs Humanities


2 Comments

Mrs Humanities shares… 5 reasons teachers are leaving the profession

mrs humanities sharesThis is a post I’ve had on my mind for a while but haven’t wanted to write but then I decided that actually I would as I’d also do a post to counteract it with 5 reasons to stay in teaching.

We need more teachers; teachers are leaving the profession and few are being replaced. The numbers of teachers in secondary schools has fallen whilst the number of teachers leaving for reasons other than retirement has increased by 34,910 between 2011 and 2016. Yet the number of students is set to increase by 19.4% between 2017 and 2025.

So why are teachers leaving?

The following five reasons are based on my experiences and those of many teachers I have spoken to over the years.

1 // Accountability

Current accountability structures were introduced originally in 1988 as part of the Education Reform Act with the introduction of Ofsted and league tables yet it’s been Gove’s legacy that has had the most significant impact on teacher and school accountability in my opinion.

Accountability is important to maintain sufficient standards of education for all but it’s the way it has been implemented more recently and combined with performance related pay that has impacted teachers the most.

Ofsted and league tables already have a widespread impact on teacher workload, wellbeing and stress. In my first two schools, I feel as though I heard the word Ofsted more than I heard the word student; yet we are in our schools for the benefit of our students. Everything we do should be for them, not for Ofsted, not for the LA, not for the MAT boss making big bucks but for the students in our care. There are many examples from schools across the country whereby strategies have been implemented not for the benefit of students but to tick box in preparation for Ofsted. Strategies that have had little to no benefit for the students; so why were we doing them in the first place? It takes a brave and honourable leader to stand up and say ‘other schools maybe doing it, but we are not because it doesn’t impact on learning’.

But the introduction of performance related pay for something with so many external influences is damming.

In 2013, the DofE released details on how schools will be able to link teachers’ pay to performance allowing them to pay good teachers more. By that September schools had to revise their pay and appraisal policies to outline how pay progression would be linked to teacher’s performance. The advice suggested schools assess teachers’ on their performance in some of the following

  • impact on pupil progress
  • impact on wider outcomes for pupils
  • contribution to improvements in other areas (eg pupils’ behaviour or lesson planning)
  • professional and career development
  • wider contribution to the work of the school, for instance their involvement in school business outside the classroom

For many this meant setting specific targets for pupil progress and specific targets for performance in observations and scrutinises of different kinds.

For me, one of my appraisal targets looked something like this…

PM v2

These targets were set by the school. The lack of autonomy in the PM process for many and the implementation of specific targets, some of which are impossible to achieve due to external factors has massively increased the stress experienced by teachers to perform whilst also leading to a great deal of micro-management in order to help others to meet their targets. It’s been crazy for many, stressful for others and downright impossible for some.

2 // Unnecessary Workload

Resulting from the introduction of greater accountability and new performance management measures, teachers have also been finding their workload increase exponentially over the last 5 years or so. Often the workload has been associated with either doing it to cover ones back or to tick boxes for Ofsted, Mocksted, parents or performance management. Too often workload has increased not a benefit to learners but merely to say it is being done.

Take class profiles for instance; in my first school class profiles were introduced to give to any observers. These outlined the class, their achievement, progress, concerns etc.; imagine doing every term for 12 or more groups of students. I never felt this helped me to improve my students learning; instead just a tick box exercise of justifications.

profiles

In my opinion the unnecessary tasks that distract from the assessing of learning and planning of progress are the biggest distractions to improving education in our schools.

3 // Constant change

Along with unnecessary workload, another major influence on teacher wellbeing and the workload crisis is the impact of constant change. So far, I’ve been through just two governments in my teaching career, yet it feels like many more as a result of the political input into the UK’s education system. Each time there’s a change of Secretary of State for Education there are new policies and changes to implement; that’s 4 to date for me and despite the name change of the role, others have seen many more ‘in charge’ of education in the UK.

Along with changing ministers, comes changing examinations.

I started my teaching career in 2010; just as Gove become the Education Secretary and since then I’ve taught the following GCSE exam specifications

WJEC (1 year)
Edexcel A (1.5 years)
Edexcel B (2.5 years)
AQA IGCSE (1 year)
AQA 1-9 (2 years)

I’ve taught with levels and without levels. I’ve taught with the national curriculum and without it.

I’ve taught in a comprehensive converting to an academy, an academy, a MAT and a free school. All within 6 years. Some of this was chosen change, others were enforced change all of which those increased workload as it wasn’t possible to just ‘transfer’ resources from one situation to another. Each school their own way of doing things; each exam spec was different; each had new implemented strategies that had been noted in another school as good practice and thus we had to implement just in case.

The change to qualifications, curriculum and testing has probably had one of the largest impacts on workload, in my eyes especially for those teachers in schools teaching both GCSE and A-Levels. The introduction of new testing; the removal of levels and new qualifications have meant a lot of change all at once for schools, subjects and teams to implement alongside dwindling resources and money. All of which has increased workload, stress and poor mental health of teachers.

4 // Limited Autonomy and Micro-Management

Tom Rogers shared this on twitter just the other day

A fine example of micro-management and poor leadership. Limited autonomy has a huge impact on teachers; imagine being faced with a school leader that tells you what you can and can’t do in your classroom; that tells you to do things you damn well know will have little to no impact on your students; that tells you to follow me and you’ll be outstanding; that doesn’t let your own way shine through. Imagine how uninspired you’d feel, how your enthusiasm would drain; how ticking boxes to please that person rather than to benefit your students becomes your norm. No thank you.

Yet too many people have experienced this. The list of non-negotiables. The do it this way or take the highway out of here routine. Or worse still the you’re with us or against us, so we’ll put you on PM measures that mean you’ll hate working here and we can soon get rid of you approach. This micro-managing and in some instances, bullying is driving teachers out of the classroom.

We train to teach because we want to teach. We want to give something to our students. We want them to take knowledge away. We want them to develop skills. We want them to be life-long learners. We want them to enjoy and be happy in school and life. If we’re not allowed to do that; our souls become drained. Our happiness withers. Our love for the profession dwindles. We leave.

5 // Societal Opinion

Ever had the kid turn around and say, “my mum says you’re just a teacher, so I don’t have to listen to you’? Thankfully it’s happened just the once; but who has the right to say that? No one is ‘just a….’. We work hard in our jobs, whatever job you do whether a truck driver or dentist, teacher or neurosurgeon you’ve worked hard to get where you are. You’ve put time and effort into your job and/or career. Everybody is worthy.

Just because we’ve chosen to be teachers doesn’t mean we couldn’t have been something else if we wanted to. Teaching is incredible, every day is different, every student is different. We learn as much from the kids as they learn from us; what we learn is just slightly different.

Yet people envisage that we have 13 weeks paid holiday where we go galivanting around the world, sunning ourselves and relaxing. When in reality the majority of us spend much of our time working over the holidays or recuperating after the last slog of several weeks of hard and tiring work.

A recent survey by the Education Support Partnership found that teachers expect to work eight days over the holidays up from six days in in 2013 and that’s just from the 811 surveyed.

I’ve been guilty of working far more days in the summer than 6-8; as I know others have been. Fortunately, I’ve now I’m working in a school that considers workload and have developed my own strategies for reducing my workload meaning I’m sure I can limit my time working to less than 8 days.

Teachers work hard for their students and those that don’t are few and far between. Teaching as a profession needs higher recognition in the UK simple as. Greater recognition for our professional status, greater emphasis on professional development and efforts to retain rather than recruit will help to maintain numbers.

Conclusion

There are so many other reasons teachers are leaving teaching other than those above. What would you add to the discussion? Feel free to leave comments.

// Useful Links

Teacher recruitment and retention in England

Factors affecting teacher retention: qualitative investigation

Teacher workforce statistics and analysis

Teacher Retention and Turnover Research

// Posts from teachers that have left teaching

Why I left teaching – Philip Duncalfe

Why I’m leaving teaching – Annabeth Orton

Mrs Humanities


Leave a comment

Summer Bucket List

A recent survey by YouGov, found that over 43% of the teachers asked found it hard to switch off from work during the holidays. I’m certainly one of those. My mind is in constant thinking mode. But this year I’m determined to have some down time away from education.

For the majority of the break though I will be busy finishing writing the book that I’ve not had time to touch since Easter. So my mind will be in engaged in education but this will be for me rather than my students and school.

Inspired by the Education Support Partnership’s ‘Summer holiday bucket list‘ post, I decided to create my own summer bucket list. It’s short, sweet and straight to the point.

Mrs HumanitiesSumemr Bucket List.png

What’s on yours?

Mrs Humanities


Leave a comment

Mrs Humanities shares… 5 end of year reflection tasks

mrs humanities shares

Personally I think it’s important for students to reflect on their learning journey over the year. By the end they often forget what they covered at the beginning. They’ve forgotten how they felt and how much they didn’t know. It’s nice for them to recognise how far they’ve come over the year.

These are a few strategies I use or have used in the past.

1 // Adventures in…

Write a blurb for a book entitled

A really simple strategy but very much enjoyable for all. Simply students write a blurb for a book entitled ‘Adventures in…’. Students consider where their learning took them and make it sound adventurous.

2 // Knowledge Scale

scale.png

The questions you ask are completely up to you. I like to ask the students where they place themselves at the start of a topic and then at the end. Works well for the end of year as well to get them to reflect on their development of knowledge over the year and how confident they are that they will remember it next year as well.

3 // Tell me more…

tell me more

With this one student’s simply consider what they would have liked to have learnt more about, how a topic could have been improved and if there was anything they felt was missed out of a topic that they would have liked to have covered. A great one for if you want student voice in the development of the curriculum.

4 //  Progress Meter

progress meter

Print out a meter diagram for students self-assess their progress over the year. Encourage students to look through their books to identify where they struggled to start with and where they are now with those particular skills. Often my students don’t realise how far they’ve come until they take the time to think about it.

5 // What helped you the most?

helped.png

I think it’s important for students to understand how they learn and to recognise strategies that help them to progress. Encourage students to reflect on ways in which you have helped and supported them through the year with any struggles the have come across and the strategies implemented to help them overcome these. This information can then be passed on to the next teacher to take them.

How do you get students to reflect on the year? Let us know.

Mrs Humanities


Leave a comment

Mrs Humanities shares… 5 takeaways from this academic year

mrs humanities shares

As I come to the end of my 6th year in teaching, I wanted to reflect on what I’ve learnt this year. I feel like this year, my practice has developed, I’ve managed to balance work and life effectively and I’ve learnt more and more about pedagogy and education politics.

This academic year has seen lots of involvement in conferences and events as well as supporting the work of the Education Support Partnership. It’s been a good year, so here’s a reflection on 5 things I’ve taken away from it.

Note: This is the second (and not as good) version of the post I originally wrote but unfortunately technology did not wish to work and it didn’t save.

1 // If it doesn’t benefit my students, why am I doing it?

I’ve learnt to question everything I do, to consider the benefits it has for my students and thus whether or not to do it. Obviously, I still have to do the things required of me by the school like writing reports and that, but I do question what I’m doing and why in order to make it have the greatest impact possible. When it comes to my own classroom practice, I think I’ve been teaching long enough that I have go-to strategies that I know work and whilst I try the odd new activity or approach I try to keep consistency for my students (and myself) and no longer try too many new things like I probably did in the first few years in order to find what worked and that my students ‘enjoyed’.

Before implementing anything, first consider the impact on students. How will it benefit them?

2 // Differentiation is misunderstood

This one has worried me at times, how differentiation seems to be so misunderstood by many. I’ve had many NQTs and trainees say they’ve been told to show differentiation in lesson observations; things like individual worksheets for each student with their target at the top and work to help them meet that target (crazy I know), having students do different tasks based on their prior attainment, grouping students into high, middle and low and giving them work based on their ability… the list goes on. Not only does it create excessive levels of work for teachers, it limits a student’s progress.

Overtime my understanding of differentiation has developed with research, action and curiosity. I will admit I was guilty of using the ‘spice challenge’ for differentiation in the past, but I never limited which one students could do, so long as it challenged them. It was always their choice. But there have always been the little things too like word lists, scaffold sheets etc. and plenty of choice. Additionally I like to give students independence and responsibility for their learning by making differentiated resources available to all so students can opt to make use if they wish to do so.

We need to remember that differentiation is more than just the task we give students or small adjustments and provisions we make such as coloured overlays or paper, it’s a teacher’s response to learner’s needs and therefore can be planned or unplanned, long term or short term, explicit or subtle.

notice-blog

These days I’ve learnt to teach to the top and differentiation down through the use of scaffolds, feedback and in-class intervention strategies. Appears to be working.

I’m no expert on the matter, but here’s a free CPD resource on it.

3 // Saying no is hard to do, but has to be done

As much as you might not want to say no, learning to say it is vital for your own sanity, health and wellbeing. Teachers (generally speaking) want to do well for their kids, they also want to be good at what they do and that also means we sometimes take on far more than we should. Before my breakdown, I struggled with saying no. Partly due to my desire to succeed, but also partly due to the performance management process.

The performance management process, which for many involves book scrutinises, observations, crazy targets etc. etc. has had a hugely determinantal impact on our ability to say no, both to requests from others and to ourselves.

It’s important that we do though.

In my last school, books had to be marked every 4 lessons. For me that meant marking every night which would take 3-4 hours to do a set. I had between 12-16 classes each year over a two week timetable across the humanities (Geography, History and Opening Minds) as well as ICT. I didn’t want to ‘fail’ book checks so made sure I kept up to date. I even had a marking timetable to keep track. That was unhealthy I realise. I’d stay up to around 9 every school day, just marking books as there was no time in the school day. So that meant my day consisted of wake up, go to work, teach, admin and phone calls, go home, eat, mark, sleep and repeat each day. Where was the life?

marking timetable

Now I’ve learnt to be strict on myself when it comes to a work-life balance. I don’t have kids, so I can stay in school until 5-6pm get all my work done then take nothing or very little home. Usually if I take anything home it’s the last few essays I haven’t finished marking and want to finish, but that’s because I want to not because I feel I must. I’ve never had students complain when their work wasn’t marked for the next lesson, that’s who we do it for so why worry about book checks?

It’s important to be able to set yourself limits and stick to them, but know you can alter them if you need to. Don’t take on too much, if you can’t fit it into your directed time and the hours you opt to work just say sorry, I can’t.

4 // Plan for progress by planning backwards

Planning backwards is a skill I’ve developed over time and involves carefully planning learning not lessons . Ever since I set up the humanities department singlehandedly from scratch at my last school, it’s become one of my most honed skills I reckon. It takes time to be able to look at the bigger picture and work backwards; you need to consider the content, the skills and the development process of both. By doing so, I can plan assessments and feedback throughout the course, year and term. I can see how everything fits and works to develop the best possible learner I can create in a year, over the course and within the 5 or 7 year geographical experience within my department.

It was hard work to begin with, but the one thing it has done is made me a more effective teacher. I’m constantly thinking about the big details and how they relate to the minute day-to-day teaching.

By planning for progress, it has also meant I’ve reduced my workload. With my team, we planned out assessment, feedback and feedforward across each year group across the year to identify the work that will be formatively assessed, the work that will receive feedback and who the feedback will come from.

Assessment outline

Feedback as a result isn’t just the responsibility of the teacher; I train the students from day one to be able to give their own feedback to their peers and to themselves. In the end this helps them to self-regulate and progress effectively.

5 // Being organised is essential

Probably the most under-rated skill in a teacher’s repertoire. Seriously, I’ve become a master organiser since becoming a teacher – possibly to medically diagnostic levels but still it’s a vital skill to have to help limit the stress, particularly of deadlines.

Know the school calendar or at least regularly check it. Take note of upcoming deadlines and organise your time to be able to complete them in time. It reduces stress and anxiety, I promise. It can also help Heads of Departments and your Line Manager, if they don’t have to chased you; making them happier too.

Print resources at the beginning/end of the week ahead. Stops you just ‘adjusting’ lessons in your PPAs so you actually spend time doing things you actually need to do.

Plan your PPAs. Have a definitive, yet realistic list of what you want to complete and aim to do it.

Avoid distraction, when I was stressed I’d always go and do what I didn’t need to do usually lesson planning as it was the one thing I enjoyed. This only made things worse as I’d still have to face the task at some point. Delaying it just it more stressful.

Keep your resources organised. I have folders for each year group on a desk at the front of my room. I keep resources in there when we’ve used them. This means students can always catch up and I have the resources ready for next year. Admittingly I need to organise them as at the moment they are just shoved in there, but I’m waiting for a filing cabinet to become available.

What have your takeaways from the year been? Feel free to share them in the comments.

Mrs Humanities


1 Comment

Mrs Humanities shares… A-Z of Twitter for Teacher CPD

twitter a to z (1)

I’m not entirely sure what spurred this post to be written; usually I have them whirling around in my head for a few days but this morning I woke up early, turned the computer on and out it came. So here’s my A-Z of Twitter for teacher CPD, part encouragement to join twitter, part advice for newbies to twitter.

a – ask
If you ever need resources, ideas or some inspiration for a topic or lesson, all you need to do is ask. There is always at least 1 person willing to share. In addition there are so many knowledgeable people willing to support, guide and offer advice. You just have to be willing to ask.
b – bookmark blogs
There are an incredible number of education bloggers that tweet or tweachers that blog. Finding the time read them all can be hard. I highly recommend making use of a bookmarking app such as pinterest, flipboard, google bookmarks or similar to keep track of them for when you do have downtime to read them.
c – connect
Twitter has been a source of connecting to others during my hardest of times. It stopped me from feeling as alone as I could have. Personally I’ve made some incredible friends as a result of twitter and whilst I may not work directly with people, some feel more like colleagues than online acquaintances. Try it.
d – debate
Now this one can be a challenge. Debates sometimes can lead to arguments on twitter. It’s difficult to put across what you want to say in so few characters and as a result debates can quickly turn into arguments, particularly in the school holidays. But don’t let that put you off. It’s good to have your thinking challenged. You don’t even have to get involved in debates and discussions; being a bystander can be as much of benefit as being involved providing you are willing to listen to all sides of the debate and challenge your own thinking.
e – engage
It’s all well and good signing up to twitter, you can find plenty of inspiration and ideas by merely following people but to get the most out of twitter for your own CPD purposes you need to engage with others, conversations etc. Start by liking a tweet or two, then respond, then share your own resources, links etc.
f – feedback
Provide feedback to those you borrow ideas from, firstly it helps both of you to develop your practice as a result of the reflection process and secondly it feels great to receive feedback on a resource or idea you’ve worked hard at.
g – give
As great as twitter is for borrowing ideas, it needs us all to give as well. If we leave the giving to a small handful of people; ideas run dry, practice stagnates, contempt sets in. For every resource you borrow/steal/magpie etc. give something back whether it be a link to a useful article, offering an idea or giving out a copy of your own resource. We all need to give a little back to those that share profusely.
h – hashtags
Hashtags are great for sorting your tweets, highlighting content of your tweets and most importantly to create a sense of community. Most subjects have their own #Team tag such as #TeamEnglish #TeamGeog and #TeamRE to name a few. As well as hashtags for communities there are plenty of education chats as well. Here’s a link or two to get you started
a) Hashtag list
b) Edu-Chats
i – ignore
Unfortunately you’ll find some educators on twitter believing they are the epitome of what the rest of us should be like; don’t let them fool you. Ignore these behaviours and don’t let them make you feel like you are not worthy of your job title. If you really don’t like what some people have to say or their behaviour, follow the advice you’d give students and report and/or block them.
j – jaded
It’s hard not to become jaded when you see the amount of amazing ideas some people share; you can end up feeling like you are not good enough, that you don’t have any original ideas, that you don’t work hard enough. Don’t worry, you are doing great. Some people (I was once included in this) work too hard, whether a result of personal desires or workplace demands; they also tend to have few responsibilities outside of work and therefore have the time. Do not feel you have to work harder, longer, more creatively etc. Make the most of twitter by borrowing what you can to reduce your own workload, just remember to give back.
k – knock-on effect
What you discover through twitter has a knock-on effect in your classroom and hopefully school. Be sure to share what you find with others. Perhaps highlight a piece of good practice you’ve stolen from twitter with others as part of department/leadership meetings, as a message at the end of emails or through a weekly bulletin.
l – learn
To get the most from Twitter for CPD purposes, you’ll want to ensure you keep an open mind and are willing to explore/discuss new ideas. Allow yourself to keep learning, keep being challenged. Learn from the experience and make the most of the opportunities to update your understanding of pedagogy, teaching and learning and education.
m – magpie
One of my favourite terms picked up from using Twitter has to be to ‘magpie’. In order words, steal, borrow etc. ideas and inspiration from others. I loved it so much I even set up Magpied Pedagogy to try and collate as many of the fantastic ideas out there. It’s even a term I use in the classroom ‘time to magpie’ – students fly around the room stealing ideas from others before returning to their own work and adding to it.
n – network
Twitter provides a great opportunity to network, the opportunity to interact with others from both within and outside the teaching profession, to exchange information, ideas and debate as well as developing professional and/or social contacts.
o – offer
As with engaging with others and sharing your own work it’s also important to offer ideas, advice and resources if possible when others ask. By doing so we reduce each others workload that little bit and help to develop the community of educators; it’s a kind of pay-it-forward scheme.
p – PLN
A PLN is a personal learning network; this being the connections you create with those that help you to develop and learn in a professional (and possibly personal) context. A PLN is about sharing ideas and resources, collaborating and learning.
q – question
There are so many resources and ideas being shared, it’s hard to know what to use sometimes. Ensure you always question the purpose, the application and how applicable is it to your learners. I must admit that initially I tried to use everything I saw and liked; but that lasted all of a few months when I realised a) it was unsustainable b) they weren’t always suitable for my learners/my style. There’s no harm in trying new things, just don’t try everything. Question them to decipher what’s worthwhile for you and your classes.
r – research
I could spend hours on twitter researching particular areas of focus there’s so much out there; I often find it quicker to find research material on twitter than on google. Simply type in the search bar your topic and you’ll find either people involved in the field of study, hashtags or tweets associated. From there I find what’s relevant and take it from there; sometimes it might be taking the name of a university lecturer from the field and then googling them to find their work or even just simply opening a link from a tweet. Also you can easily ask others for pointers on where to find relevant research and information.
s – stand up
Sometimes when we are stuck in a classroom/office for the majority of the day, it’s hard to feel like we are a community of professionals with a voice. Use twitter to stand up for what you believe in. The more noise we make as a collective, the further the message spreads. I personally do a lot on teacher wellbeing, workload and mental health as a result of my own experiences, I know others stand up for LGBT rights, minorities and women in education.
t – tweachers
Once you start tweeting about education and teaching, you officially become part of the community of ‘Tweachers’, I’m afraid there’s no fanfare or certificates but you can take pride in the knowledge that you have joined the ranks of teachers that tweet.
u – Universities
Follow universities on twitter for education and subject specific academic research, articles and links. They are a great source of information to develop you pedagogical and subject knowledge.
v – visits
I know of a number of educators, teachers and school leaders that have organised school visits via twitter. Twitter is useful for connecting to teachers and schools; seeing the good practice out there and creating connections. Make the most of it by creating networks and communities with schools in your area or further afield.
w – wellbeing
Twitter has been my biggest support for managing my own wellbeing. I got involved with #Teacher5aday back in December 2015; it has given me a support network as well as incredible friendships. It’s important to look after your wellbeing (that includes not spending hours on Twitter looking for teaching ideas), allow your twitter friendships to support you to make sure you switch off from work.
x – x-factor teachers
This one can be both positive and negative. You can end up feeling a little z-list with all the great work being shared but remember its social media, regularly users highlight the great stuff in their life rather than the mundane day-to-day. Also look out for those x-factor tweachers, the ones that think they have a noteworthy talent and that everyone should listen or do as they do. It’s not good for you mind or soul. Remember not to compare yourself with them.
y – year-round CPD
Twitter for CPD is year-round, really you can’t get away from it so try to be ‘strict’ with it, otherwise you can constantly be thinking about work. Disconnect from twitter now and then or at least disconnect from the education based conversations, remember you are a human first, a teacher second. But whilst we are on the note of year-round CPD, check out this list of CPD events through out the year from Pete SandersonEdu-Conference National Calendar.
z -ZZZZs….
Too many teachers are burning out. You must look after yourself. Beg, borrow and share resources on twitter; by doing so you reduce your workload and the workload of others (here’s an article I contributed towards on the topic). Avoid burnout by asking for help, ideas and resources; share what you can and make sure you get plenty of ZZZZs (so avoid twitter before bed, it’s too easy to get caught up in something).

What would you add to encourage other teachers to use twitter for CPD?
Your thoughts are welcomed.

Mrs Humanities


1 Comment

Teacher Burnout

This week I shared my experience of burnout and the resulting breakdown I experienced with a journalist from the Observer. He’s written a great article on the issue to raise awareness of the issues schools and their teachers are experiencing.

Please do take a read at https://www.theguardian.com/education/2018/may/13/teacher-burnout-shortages-recruitment-problems-budget-cuts

Feel free to get in touch if you’re going through similar and want to chat.

On a more positive note however, do check out http://www.teacher5adaybuddybox.com for wellbeing fun.

Best wishes,


Leave a comment

Resource – IBDP Geography Case Study Revision Booklets

After the success of the GCSE case study and exam question booklets, I’ve set out making similar resources for my IB students. So far the booklet/s consist of case study template sheets. As more sample papers and exam papers become available I will start adding exam questions to the booklets.

The booklets start by outlining the case studies and examples required by the IB specification.

page 1

And they are then followed by a series of case study template sheets for students to complete as part of the review and revise process.

page 5

page 12

Eventually exam questions will be added for students to apply their knowledge to.

For a copy of the booklets, click the relevant link below.

Paper 1 Option B – Oceans and Coastal Margins
Paper 2 – Unit 1: Changing Population
Paper 2 – Unit 2: Global Climate

In Progress – Whole Course Case Study and Exam Question Booklet

As I complete the others they will be added.

Mrs Humanities


1 Comment

Resource – Human Rights and Education

HR and ed At my previous school I taught Opening Minds which was essentially citizenship, values and RS. One of my favourite units looks at human rights and education.

As I tidied up my hard drive this afternoon, I thought it would be nice to amend the resource booklet a little so PowerPoint weren’t need and share it with you in case it is of interest to any of you.

The booklet starts with a learning matrix outlining to the student the content to be covered.

matrix

Lesson 1 begins by encouraging students to consider what they know and want to know about the topic. Followed by an exploration of the concept on human rights and the declaration of human rights before students sort the human rights in order or importance for them.

lesson 1

Lesson 2 then looks at access to education in the UK since the 1800’s through the creation of a timeline which I previously shared here.lesson 2

Lesson 3 explores classrooms around the world. Students view the images here  and follow it up by completing the table to produce a comparison of education around the world. As part of the comparison students are encouraged to consider the reasons for the differences. Finally students reflect on what they discovered. I’d throw in a video or two as well.

lesson 3lesson 3 a

Lesson 4 students then investigate Malala’s story using a resource from ‘Lessons from Africa’. This lessons involves comprehension; students read the biography and answer the questions.

lesson 4

In lesson 5 and a bit, students watch ‘He Named Me Malala‘. Each time I taught this topic I had to sit at the back of the room with a box of tissues as I always cry!

Finally lesson 6 students play would you rather with a series of statements from the ‘Lessons from Africa’  resources before preparing for a class debate to answer the question…

“Would you rather put your life at risk for something you believe in, or live in safety but without a voice?”

If you think the booklet and resource will be of any use to you, please feel free to download it by clicking the image below.

download here

If you download and use the booklet, do let me know how it goes. Feedback is always welcome.

Best wishes,

Mrs Humanities