Mrs Humanities

Because I'm married to the job.


3 Comments

Mrs Humanities shares… 10 Tweachers to follow in 2019

The great thing about twitter is it has opened my mind, inspired my teaching and introduced me to hundreds of fantastic people, many of whom I would call friends.

The following are some people I would recommend following this year if you don’t already. In no particular order then…

1 // Adrian Bethune. Tweets as @AdrianBethune

Adrian is the author of ‘Wellbeing In The Primary Classroom’, Primary Teacher and creator of teachappy.co.uk. 

I first met Adrian at the Festival of Education, we were both on the Education Support Partnership panel as part of the discussion on wellbeing in schools. We later met again at Pedagoo Hampshire. He’s an inspiring, down to earth person so go follow.

2 // Sarah Larsen. Tweets as@sarahlarsen74 

Sarah has been an influencer in the #feedbackNOTmarking movement. After having taken ideas to her senior leadership team, she’s been able to influence change in her school to reduce workload and improve feedback.

Part-time teacher, full-time mum. Go follow her.

3 // 𝓝𝓲𝓸𝓶𝓲 𝓒𝓡. Tweets as@NiomiColleen

Niomi has so much positivity to share. A new mum and Primary school teacher, I’m sure there will be lots of interesting perspectives coming from her this year especially once she’s back from maternity leave. Until then, adore the many baby photos.

4 // Kim Constable. Tweets as@HecticTeacher

Kim is a wellbeing warrior, cat lover and all round goody. I’ve met Kim a number of times over the course of the last few years and she’s as lovely in person as she is online. If you teach Sociology or PSHE, well your in for a treat; her website HecticTeacher.com has a huge array of resources. Additionally Kim shares resources and ideas relevant for any classroom.

5 // Fearghal O’Nuallain. tweets as@Re_Ferg

Teacher, Geographer and Adventurer. What more could you ask for. You may not get much in the way of teaching resources from him but you get a hell of a lot of inspirational photos, stories and links. I love the break Fearghal creates in my twitter feed from all the ‘Edu debate’. Much appreciation.

6 // Tom Rogers. Tweets as@RogersHistory

History teacher, Tes columnist and Founder of @tmhistoryicons. Tom is a top bloke and one I’m proud to call a friend and colleague. We may not work together in the same school or even country but being part of the #TMIcons team is fantastic. Tom has helped me to open many doors, the first of which was overcoming my lack of confidence and presenting in front of a room full of history teachers at TMHistoryIcons way back in March 2016.

If you follow Tom on Twitter you’ll find lots of tweets saying the things so many of us are thinking but daren’t say aloud. Tom says it for us, we all need people like him fighting for our profession.

7 // Kathryn. Tweets as@Arithmaticks 

Kathryn will be leading #TMMathsIcons, the first #TMIcons event for Maths Teachers. How cool is that? I’m sure there will lots of inspiration posts over the coming year from her.

8 // Natalie Scott. Tweets as@nataliehscott 

Natalie has been quiet throughout 2018, she’s been through some hellish experiences over the course of the last year but she’s back and excited for 2019. Who knows what 2019 will bring for her, but I she’ll be sharing lots of educational inspiration over the coming year. Check out her heart felt blog post on the WomenEd blog here.

9 // Patrick Ottley-O’Connor. Tweets as@ottleyoconnor

Patrick is a leader with heart. He cares about his staff and students, he creates change and posts plenty of positivity. If you enjoy travelling, bonus! He’s guaranteed to inspire with his holiday snaps. Enjoy!

10 // Martyn Reah. Tweets as@MartynReah

If you’re not already following Martyn, why ever not? At times a man of few words, but his enthusiasm and positive nature is contagious. It’s been an absolute pleasure meeting Martyn and becoming part of the #Teacher5aday movement. Without him and it, I probably wouldn’t have made it through the academic year 2014-15. He’s one to follow for wellbeing advice, ideas and inspiration.

Okay that’s my top 10 to follow at the start of 2019. Check them all out on twitter. Many of them have blogs too so be sure to take a read.

Best wishes for 2019.


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,


1 Comment

PedagooHampshire Presentation

Less is More – Strategies to Reduce Workload

At last year’s Pedagoo Hampshire event I presented on Less is More – Marking with a Purpose. Since then there has been progress across the country on reducing teacher workload resulting from marking and feedback and I’m pleased to see so many of the strategies mentioned being used by so many.

 

This year I thought I’d share some strategies I use in the classroom on a day to day basis that help me to manage and reduce my workload as well as approaches I’ve come across from others that might be of use and interest. Overall I aim to discuss the workload issue and offer a few solutions to support you.

I wanted to keep my presentation in the theme of reducing workload in order to improve wellbeing.

Sound of interest? You’ll find me session 3 in the MAIN HALL (yup, you read that right!?!)

Hope to see some of you there.

 


10 Comments

Less is More – Marking with a Purpose

less-is-moreThis weekend I had the pleasure of presenting at #PedagooHampshire16.

What a delight it was.

I was completely blown away by the number of people present in the room when I presented on the topic of Less is More – Marking with a Purpose. Flabbergasted even.

Martyn even posted how it was standing room only…

For someone as introverted as I, this was a majorly proud moment. To be standing in front of so many people presenting on a topic I’m enthused by and be able to speak to a room full of my peers without the disco-leg going was triumphant.

The first time I spoke was at TMHistoryIcons, I loved it but nerves got the better of me that time. This time I felt confident, my confidence grew and grew as more and more people arrived. Marking is clearly a very topical topic.

Anyway I digress, the main emphasis of my presentation was that feedback should not equal marking. Marking should be used to inform planning, but feedback in whatever format is what’s important to help students to progress and reach ‘expected’ outcomes. Marking and providing written feedback should not take over our lives and that there are a range of ways we can assess learning, monitor progress and feedback to students to help them to achieve and still maintain a work-life balance.

I firstly talked through the rational behind the presentation which comes from the Eliminating unnecessary workload around marking from the Independent Teacher Workload Review Group. 

rationale

Next we discussed the issues surrounding marking were.

issues.png

Followed by the argument of quality vs. quantity.

quality vs quanity.png

I led participants into considering what can be done to mark less but make feedback more effective? A few ideas were discussed, particularly dot marking (see below) and school wide policy change. solutions.png

In order to give those that attended the sessions something to go away with I went through a number of ideas for marking, feedback and DIRT. Some you may have seen before, others are new additions to the selection.

dotgridsmatricmttwhole-class

My presentation finished with a look at the 3 pillars of effective marking – Meaningful, Manageable and Motivating. 3 pillars.png

There’s numerous bits I discussed that wasn’t on the slides, such departmental policies rather than whole school policies or the role of feedback in progress and marking in planning, so if you’d like to hear more feel free to get in touch.

Now for what you’re probably  looking for, here’s a copy of my presentation from the weekend. 

Please feel free to use it in CPD sessions and share with colleagues. Let’s promote a shift to #feedbackNOTmarking.

So in line with #pedagoohampshire, the one change I’m going to make is sharing my resources within my school community.

Mrs Humanities

 


4 Comments

#Teacher5adaybuddybox

The end of January saw the introduction of the #teacher5adaybuddybox . It’s been a great success so far with over 70 volunteers.

The best part by far has been seeing the amazing boxes people have sent out, each with a range of things to brighten up the day of their #wellbeing buddy.

Here are some of them so far

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

 

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Even seen a teacher or two enjoying their well deserved treats

And a few sneak peeks to get excited about…

 

I’m truly flabbergasted at the generosity of those taking part. Not only are they spending money on their buddy but they’re spending time thinking about them, connecting with them and volunteering their time and effort on someone that (in most cases) they don’t know in person. Very generous.

The hour or so I spend on a Saturday morning matching people up is definitely worth it, especially when I see the tweets from those that have received their bit of wellbeing snail mail and are truly delighted.

Thank you so much everybody that has sent a #teacher5adaybuddybox so far, I’m incredibly grateful as are your buddies.

Thank YOU (1)

If I’ve missed anyone off that has tweeted a picture of a box they have sent or received, please do let me know I’d hate to miss anyone.

And remember if you’re tweeting about please include #teacher5adaybuddybox so I can add new tweets to the post.

If you’d like to join in, it’s not too late. Read this post to find out more and head here to sign up. 

Again thank you to everyone that has taken part so far, you’re truely awesome!

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js


Leave a comment

#Teacher5aday Wellbeing Buddy Box

buddy box

Update: we now have a #teacher5adaybuddybox dedicated website. Head over to http://teacher5adaybuddybox.wordpress.com to find out more, sign up and to see boxes that have already been gratefully received. 

After mentioning the idea last week, I’ve had a number of comments from people in regard to wanting to get involved. That’s awesome.

So shall we get started?

Who can get involved?

The scheme is open to teachers, educators and other member of school staff that are concerned with improving their wellbeing and the wellbeing of others.

It’s particularly awesome if you still love sending and receiving snail mail and are happy to volunteer.

What’s the idea?

The #teacher5aday wellbeing buddy box sprung to mind after I took part in Perfect Strangers. The theme was winter warmer; I loved that each component of the box was carefully thought out to bring a bit of warmth to their life. It was completely voluntary and it felt good to spend that decision time thinking about what might make this perfect stranger smile.

box

I wondered if we could develop something similar through #teacher5aday – an occasional snail mail surprise to brighten your day.

It’s quite simple. You sign up and get matched with a wellbeing buddy, you make contact with them. Swap addresses. You send each other ‘buddy boxes’ throughout the year. They receive their ‘buddy box’. You make them smile. Easy.  The hardest part is deciding what to send.

First steps

To start with sign up here

What happens once I sign up?

You can sign up anytime but may have to wait for a wellbeing buddy to be available for you to be matched with. Once your buddy has been found you’ll be informed by email/Twitter and you can take it from there.

Swap addresses, send your ‘buddy box’, make each other smile.

How much you spend on your wellbeing buddy is up to you, suggested maximum per box/package would £10 though.

What should go in the Wellbeing Buddy Box?

The ‘buddy box’ can consist of anything from letters of positivity such as ‘open when…’ letters to open throughout the academic year to small gifts like candles, socks etc. to help your buddy look after themselves. Of course a bit of stationary never goes a miss and perhaps something personal just to show you care.

If you wish you can even make your box follow the 5 components of #teacher5aday with something to help your buddy to notice, connect, exercise and learn. Volunteering is covered by sending a buddy box in return.

If you need ideas why not check out Abbie Mann’s Wellbeing Bags for Inspiration or my pinterest board.

When should I send my Wellbeing Buddy Box?

When you send your ‘buddy box’ is up to you. When you sign up you are asked how many you would be willing  to send throughout the year. I will try to match you with someone that is willing to send a similar number as you.

Since we all have those times of year which we find more difficult than others, so when you sign up you’ll also be asked which time of the academic year you would appreciate receiving a buddy box the most; your buddy will be informed of this so they can plan appropriately to help you when you are most likely to need it.

What happens once I recieve my Wellbeing Buddy Box?

Well first of all I’m sure you would like to thank your wellbeing buddy. You can share your posts on twitter with the hashtag #teacher5adaybuddybox.

This is an ongoing process, so make sure you check up on your wellbeing buddy now and then even if you only signed up to send the one wellbeing buddy box. It’s nice to be remembered.

So what are you waiting for? Go and sign up.

Please note…

Remember this is completely voluntary, it is your responsibility to contact your wellbeing buddy and to send out your “buddy box”.  You must cover all costs involved.

This is completely based upon all participants wanting to sign up and take part out of the kindness of their hearts. I’m afraid I nor anyone involved in #teacher5aday can accept responsibility if you do not receive a buddy box in exchange. Therefore please only sign up if you intend to send. Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 


1 Comment

#teacher5aday 2015 Review

With just a few days left of 2015 I thought now would be a good time to reflect upon my personal well being journey, a journey that started thanks to Martyn Reah and #teacher5aday.

My journey started on the 30th December 2014. It began with a blog post. It developed into 5 promises. It continued throughout the year.

Let’s rewind to 30th December 2014

After seeing inspiration on Twitter, whilst being rather anxious about going back to work in the New Year and just downright unhappy about the hours I was working I promised myself the following for 2015:

#connect – say yes more; see friends and family, socialise frequently, connect with other educators. Be less lonely.

#exercise – more adventures outdoors with my Mr Humanities

#notice – notice those I love; stop noticing imperfections in my work

#learn – learn from others

#volunteer – go back to my conservation/environmental roots

How did it go?

Whilst work has remained stressful and work related anxiety has continued, 2015 has enabled my overall sense of happiness to improve and this has been evident in the classroom.

January and February was great, I really got on board with limiting how much time I spent working on weekends to ensure I had every other weekend off (except for the Sunday morning lesson planning). See how it went with the End of January Review.

However March and April didn’t run so smoothly, stress related stomach problems resulted in a hospital trip and a few days off sick. I was on the verge of leaving teaching by this point. But with some focus on myself, a re-focus on my #teacher5aday promises and an invigorating trip to #TMLondon helped me to get back on track and remember what I love about the job.

By the time summer came, my reflections showed a relatively positive journey. On return to school in September I tried to keep this in mind.

If I’m honest the period between October half term to February half term I find the hardest and the run-up to this year’s seasonal celebrations were no different. The one thing that changed however was the fact that I allowed myself to say no. When I was too tired to work in the evening, I stopped, I refused to do it and instead allowed myself to rest. None of us should have to work 6 days a week, 5 of which are 7:30am – 9pm; It’s too long and unsustainable as I’ve learnt. It has meant however that I’ve had to prioritise, planning first, deadlines second, marking if I have time.

Taking part in #teacher5aday this year has given me the confidence to say no, to see it’s okay to look after myself and a chance to connect with other educators across the country – removing the sense of loneliness.

I recently started the discussion on staff and student wellbeing in my school’s first Teaching and Learning newsletter.The same evening a fellow colleague sent me a lovely email in regard to staff wellbeing, it was really nice to be able to open up the pathway for such discussion.

I’m really pleased to have taken part and want others to get involved with wellbeing , it’s made such an impact to 2015. Although I didn’t stick to each promise everyday, just having a wellbeing focus helped me to look after me.

I’m excited for 2016 now, it’s goint to be the year I get out of my comfort zone. Eck!

Hope you have a great new year.


Leave a comment

Week 1 – #Teacher5aday Digital Skill Share Round Up

We’ve had a lovely start to the first week of the #teacher5aday skill share.

I’ve learnt a number of new skills already.

Firstly I kicked off the week with a crafty example, chalkboard storage jars, suitable for the classroom.

paint

Next came a really easy to follow video from @rondelle10_b on how to create a video from PowerPoint. How I’ve never thought of doing this before I don’t know. The video is super easy to follow, so much so I had my student’s use it as part of a classroom activity this week. Next step think of some uses for this. 

powerpoint

Now on to basic Makaton signs courtesy of Joe White, I had a go at these on the train back from a Teach Meet. I seemed to get a few odd looks and nobody replied *sad face*. The video again is easy to follow and a useful skill to have. Joe later shared with me a further video of colleagues taking the skill share on board whereby they created a further tutorial of Makaton signs.

MAKATON

After a few practical skills during the week, the weekend had pathed the way for some time consuming crafts. This tutorial from Kerry Tait on English Paper Piecing shows us how to sew a hexie flower. As a former crafter I was intrigued by this skill offer as I’d never come across English Paper Piecing before; the tutorial lays out step by step the process with images to help. It’s a really lovely craft that could easily be done in front of the TV after an evenings marking session.

hexagon

Thank you all for the contributions this week.

Next week you have skills from fabulous @rondelle10_b and @MrsPert1 as well myself to to look forward to.

If you have a skill to #volunteer, no matter how big or small then join the #teacher5aday digital skill share. Find out more here.

Mrs Humanities