Mrs Humanities

Because I'm married to the job


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Guest Post from @GeogOnOut – A Career in Teaching (inspired by you!)

guest post

Wondering how to get into teaching? Not sure if teaching is a career for you? Here’s a great guest post of one currently unqualified teacher and his route into teaching. Filled with positivity and an experience somewhat different to the ‘norm’ of undertaking an undergraduate degree at uni followed by Initial Teacher Training; it truly goes to show there are other approaches to entering this career.

A Career in Teaching… (1)

Looking back, my route into teaching hasn’t been the most normal, although as I quickly discovered, there isn’t really a ‘normal’ in teaching. It all started when I turned 18, after failing all of my a-levels, I started a job as a Kitchen Assistant. As I wasn’t moving away, I decided to stay on at the local RAF Air Cadet Squadron where I became an instructor cadet. This is where my love for teaching really started.

Over the year, I embarked on a Mountain Leader Award and attended Duke of Edinburgh Leader and Expedition training courses provided through the cadets. This allowed me to develop and deliver courses which included navigation and expedition units for the CVQO BTECs and DofE Training framework. This was my lightbulb moment! Upon the realisation that I enjoyed, planning, developing and delivering courses and resources. I decided to take the plunge and take an Open University degree course to pursue a career in teaching. A love for Geography in school, a keen traveller and outdoor pursuits enthusiast Geography was the subject, and in my opinion it is one of the most important subjects of our times.

A year into studying my BA(H) International Relations with the Open University, I landed myself a job at my first secondary school as a Teaching Assistant; and oh boy were my eyes opened in the first week. With the support of my Line Manager and the SEN team my outlook of school life quickly changed and for the good. I had gone in with the impression that I could just support students and they would just “get it”.  That disruptive students would just behave when told. Oh how I was wrong. Over the period I was there, I was given the opportunity to also take a tutor group, extra mentoring duties, support the SENCO with alternative pathways, The Princes Trust, and BTEC Outdoor Adventure units. Upon leaving the school two academic years later my whole attitude had changed, I knew that I had to support, engage, encourage, nurture and build strong relationships with students to enable them to learn, believe in themselves and achieve. This role also enabled me to see lots of teachers teach, providing me with ideas which would power me into my next role. The ethos that I developed from the team will forever stay with me.

So moving on, I took the plunge to apply for a Cover Supervisor role and gladly and excitedly accepted a post at Royal Wootton Bassett Academy (RWBA). This role evolved even before day one, which included a 0.5 UQT job share to start a new KS4 alternative provision program (know as the Alternative Baccalaureate) with another new member of staff. For me, the first challenge meant completing a BTEC Award in 1 year. Over the course of the first year, myself and my colleague developed what we felt was needed to be the new Alternative Pathway which we have trailed this year. (This may be a future post when I start blogging so watch this space!) I was also able to volunteer and have quickly become heavily involved with the DofE Award at the school.

And….Onto this year, which has been the most exciting and biggest challenge for me, with the success of Alternative Baccalaureate program, support from the staff team at RWBA particularly the Deputy Head. I undertook a larger teaching timetable, with KS5 BTEC units and KS3 Geography which would massively support my development moving forward and applying to SCITT providers. The Alternative Baccalaureate program has also has taken leaps and bounds this year, with what was a difficult group to start with (again more in a future post) with successes in the newly designed curriculum, strong links with local colleges for vocational courses, extended work experience for students and fortnightly volunteering with the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust to name a few.

When free time permitted, I have remained fully involved with the DofE Award and have been lucky enough to attend Holocaust and Genocide education CPD with RWBA and University College London. (Follow @RWBAHolocaaust for more! Its well worth it.)

Last September, I also took to Twitter and discovered a whole community of teachers supporting, sharing and developing together. Finding @teachertoolkit, @mrshumanities, @davidErogers, @Oteaching to name a few. This has further developed my ethos of teaching, and it has helped me become somebody who is open, always wanting advice, new ideas, and willing to be critiqued within school when being observed in order to be the best I can. I am a true fan of #teacher5aday and @MrsHumanities #teacher5adaybuddybox with a somewhat limited commitment to the hashtag currently.

Looking back, over the past few years, all of these experiences, support and ideas have given me a real positive perspective on education, the difference I can make, and has sparked a whole new interest in the direction I want to take, this is something that would not have happened coming from a ‘brick’ university straight onto a PGCE course.

Alongside all of this I have continued studying with the Open University and have just completed my degree, I will be moving on in September to the North Wiltshire SCITT (@NorthWiltsSCITT) for my Geography Initial Teacher Training, I am excited for my training year, where I can really develop pedagogy, teaching and learning. I believe that amongst the negativity and rapid changes happening in education, that there are also real opportunities for teachers and students alike. I hope to start blogging my ITT experience to inspire others to the profession; to continue to be involved in Alternative Provision to engage and provide a purposeful education to those that struggle with mainstream school, I will continue with Outdoor Pursuits and of course lots of travelling, as that is surely Geography right?

David (@_dwilliams3193 & @GeogOnOut)


Good luck on the new adventure David.

Follow David and his adventure into teaching on his new Twitter account @GeogOnOut and check out his new blog as well.

Want to know more about how to get into teaching?

Check out the following sites for further information.

 


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Mrs Humanities shares… 10 History Teachers to follow on Twitter.

mrs humanities shares

This is the second in my new series of posts – Mrs Humanities shares… In each post from the series I will be sharing some of the stand out practice I’m regularly inspired by, interesting ideas, recently shared resources, news stories etc. If there’s something in particular you’d like to see then suggestions are warmly welcomed.

This time I’m really excited to be sharing some fantastic practitioners that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in person on several occasions and love sharing ideas with. Others I’m yet to meet but find them a source of inspiration regularly. In no particular order then…

Tom Rogers

Tom Rogers
Head of History and owner of  RogersHistory.com
This man is the mind behind #TMHistoryIcons, a quality source of inspiration for both the historian and general teacher alike. Often in agreement with much of what he writes both on twitter and for the TES.

Mr Allsop History

Mr Allsop History
Head of Humanities and author of 366 Days: Compelling Stories From World History
If you’re a history teacher and you’ve never come across Scott’s site(http://www.mrallsophistory.com) then I’d be very surprised; it’s a wealth of material as is his twitter feed. Scott regularly shares interesting links, ideas and his own resources.

Mr. Thornton

Mr. Thornton
Subject Leader
A twitter feed of regular inspiration. In my #PedagooHampshire2016 workshop I referred to Mr Thorntons idea for marking crib sheets and it was an instant hit with the attendees. I think his hits shot up from that day (just kidding). You’ll find a continuous source of inspiration on his twitter feed and a can access many of them on his site – https://mrthorntonteach.com/

LoveToTeach

LoveToTeach
Subject Leader
Kate is another of the #TMHistoryIcons team and a valued member of the twitter teaching community. She regularly shares a variety of general teaching and learning ideas as well those for the historian or geographer. Kate runs the blog lovetoteach87.com, check it out.

Russel Tarr

Russel Tarr
History teacher and author of A History Teaching Toolbox: Practical classroom strategies
Russel is probably one of those history teachers that you’d be ashamed to find you missed out of a list of history teachers to follow on twitter. A constant source of inspiration for both subject specific and general teaching and learning ideas. Probably most famed for his sites – activehistory.co.uk and classtools.net His twitter feed is a constant source of inspiration much of which is linked to his own practice.

Heather Mary James

Heather Mary James
Humanities Teacher and Head of Department for Citizenship and PSHE
A ray of sunshine on my feed at times; often shares teaching and learning ideas across the Humanities with a good dose of teacher well-being thrown in. You can also find Heather blogging at thelondonhumanitiesteacher.com

MissSouthernHistory

MissSouthernHistory
Head of History
A lovely lady I’ve had the pleasure to meet at #TMHistoryIcons that regularly shares ideas, links and articles. Regularly shares photos of what’s happening in her classroom, which I love, particularly when the kids are dressed up and bringing their learning to life.

LA McDermott

LA McDermott
History Teacher
Many an interesting idea shared, plenty of inspiration to get your mind lesson planning. Amongst all the good practice you’ll find a few subject specific links.

J Mosley

J Mosley
History Teacher
You’ll find plenty of inspiration on this feed. A consistent source of creativity and plenty of lesson ideas to help with your planning.

Jonny Hemphill

Jonny Hemphill
History Teacher
Now I can’t say I interact with Jonny at all, what I mean is I see inspiring ideas, articles and links shared by him but I don’t think I’ve ever said anything to him even though I’ve shared his tweets on MagpiedPedagogy numerous times. Now I feel bad, so Jonny, here’s a big HIGH FIVE to you, thanks for what you share.

Well hopefully there is someone new on the list for you to follow.

If there’s someone I’ve not included but you think should be, feel free to name them and add a link to their twitter feed in the comments.

 

Mrs Humanities


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UK County Word Cloud Project by Alan Parkinson

You may have already spotted this project from Alan on twitter or on his site Living Geography since there have already been a solid number of responses.

If you haven’t, then you can read more about the project here. It’s a great link to this year’s Young Geographer of the Year theme and something that could be done in class.

Add your contribution to it by filling in the form below.

I look forward to seeing the results in the summer.


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Mrs Humanities shares… 10 Geography Teachers to follow on Twitter.

mrs humanities shares

Okay so this is something new I’m trying a new monthly feature on things that stand out to me. This could be anything from teachers to follow on twitter, interesting pedagogical practices, recently shared resources, news stories etc. Suggestions welcomed.

I’m starting with 10 Geography Teachers to follow on Twitter, these are people I regularly interact with, follow links posted or magpie ideas from. There are many more I could add but I really can’t spend all day writing a post. So in NO particular order.

David Rogers

David Rogers
Geographer & Author of  100 Ideas for Secondary Teachers: Outstanding Geography Lessons

Can often be found causing a stir, shares a great deal of insightful articles, links and resources for the everyday teacher and/or geographer. Writes about geography, pedagogy and wellbeing at http://www.davidrogers.blog/.

jennnnnn

jennnnnn ❤️️🌎

Head of Geography
Regularly shares great teaching practice for the geographer and general teacher alike. A particular stand out example has to be IDEAL. Check it out here.
Hoping she might write a guest post for us all soon (hint, hint).

Rob Chambers

Rob Chambers
Head of Geography
Set up the AQA teacher schoology collective; a huge amount of resources have been shared widely as a result. Regularly shares geographical articles and the occasional resource. Shares good practice at http://www.geobytes.org.uk/.

Mark Enser

Mark Enser
Head of Geography
Shares teaching and learning ideas, information and topical debates. Has many insightful posts on his site https://teachreal.wordpress.com/

P Logue

 P Logue
Subject Lead for Geography and Subject Lead for Ethics & Philosophy.
Shares a wide variety of resources, pedagogical practice and articles related to geography and the humanities. Paul has recently written a guest post on differentiation, check it out.

Geographyblog

Geographyblog

Head of Humanities, main subject Geography.
Shares some excellent resources, most of which are freely available on TES. Provides lots of inspiration for creative teaching techniques.

Kate Stockings

Kate Stockings
Head of Geography.
Kate has shared lots of good practice and ideas for teaching Geography.

GeographyPods

GeographyPods

Head of Geography
You would have probably come across Matt’s site at one time or another – http://www.geographypods.com/. I use it regularly now that I teach the International Baccalaureate. Whilst a bit quieter on the old twitter front these days (mastering the work/life balance I hope) but still shares a range of great ideas, articles and links.

Hanna R

Hanna R
Geography Teacher
Hanna wrote the first guest post on the site on how she’s combined approaches from both myself and @P Logue. She regularly shares teaching ideas and articles, both relevant for the geographer and general teacher alike with a bit of wellbeing thrown in.

GeoBlogs

GeoBlogs
Author of http://livinggeography.blogspot.co.uk/
Alan is a very experienced teacher and Geographer. He shares a wide range of articles, links and research. He’s a wealth of knowledge and an active member of the geographical community.

 

Finally…

This list could go on for a lot longer, unfortunately I do not have the time to continue it now but might add to it as time goes on.

Please feel free to share any particular recommendations you have for geographers to follow on twitter in the comments.

Mrs Humanities

 

 

 


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Stop. Peer assess. Progress. 

stop peer assess progressHow often do you carry out peer assessment at the end of a task? I know I used to do it a lot in the past, I’d get students to read each other’s work, write a WWW and EBI comment or a kind, specific and helpful comment depending on the school system and then that would be the end of it.

Then when I started using DIRT in lessons, I might have got students to re-write a piece of their work or write an additional piece in action of the peer feedback.

Then I eventually realised, why I am getting them to peer assess at the end when if they were to carry out peer assessment part-way through a task that would give them time to act on the feedback there and then.

I first did this some time ago now in my last school, it was just before we had Ofsted in so that would have been about May 2015. In fact I did it during the observation lesson, students had been working on the Spanish Armada double lesson; at the end of the lesson they peer assessed each other on their chosen criteria. The next lesson they continued with the activity and made improvements as they produced new work – for instance if a student had wanted their use of PEE paragraphs assessed and in particular their use of evidence from the sources, their peer assessed how effectively they’d been applying evidence and how they could improve, when they continued the work the next day each time the student included new evidence they’d write it in pink to demonstrate the progress they were making in their use of evidence in their PEE paragraphs.

These days I rarely use peer assessment solely at the end of a piece of work, instead I apply it within activities to give students the opportunity to assess progress, make improvements and access inspiration to develop their own work.

Recently when I’ve mentioned the power of peer assessment in my classroom I’ve had a lot of backlash from other teachers on twitter, particularly when I’ve shared the ACE and SpACE peer assessment techniques. People arguing that we are expecting novices to assess novices. Now I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t expect my students to ever give a summative grade or level without assessing it myself as well, they are learning.

I might however ask them to predict the level or grade they think a finished piece of work might achieve using success criteria or a mark scheme and justify why in order to help them to understand what is being assessed but I never take it as the final grade. It’s merely an opportunity for students to engage with assessment criteria; in my opinion if they understand the assessment criteria when they sit an assessment whether it be a formative piece, a summative or external exam then they can apply it better? No?

I know my learner’s are not experts, but I’m training them to be. I’m facilitating their learning and that means both subject content, life long learning skills and their understanding of assessment criteria in order to maximise their potential in their GCSEs or other exams.

The opportunity to peer assess isn’t just about the outcome (grade, marks, levels etc) but the process. Students see other work whether it be good or bad practice; reflection upon what they see allows them to improve their own work. It’s an opportunity for idea sharing and to be inspired. A time to reflect on one’s own strengths and weaknesses. A time to consider successes and areas for improvement. An opportunity to gain feedback before submitting work as complete to the teacher. Personally peer assessment is more than that, it’s a learning experience.

Yes, peer assessment does reduce my workload slightly. In the sense that it means students receive feedback there and then and the opportunity to act on it in a timely manner rather than days or weeks later. I mark their work, I assess their work. But I often found that marking work at the end or part way through myself meant a delay between producing the work and them receiving feedback on it, further more it meant a lag time between production and opportunity to act on the feedback.

I personally want my students to access timely feedback, verbal works but I can’t get around a whole class of 28-32 students in the time available so peer assessment helps students to access this feedback. Yes it takes training from day one, yes it takes time and yes it requires scaffolding but eventually students get it. They become confident in their ability to self and peer assess, they learn exam techniques throughout their years in secondary education and not just in the ‘exam’ years. Give stop, assess and progress and go in your classroom (but be consistent and persistent with it, it takes time to master).

How do you use peer assessment in your classroom? Do you agree with me? Disagree (polite debate welcomed)?

Mrs Humanities