Updated July 2014, updates in bold
I’ve been very inspired by the #nuture1314 posts this week (see a lovely stories collection of tweets and links to other posts), from an idea last year (I think originally from @chocotzar, #nurture1314) the format seems to have taken hold, so here are my 13 reflections for 2013 and 14 aspirations for 2014.
I used to really enjoy the formal written reflections we did during my PGCE and reflection is one of the tools I felt I really got to grips with to help my teaching when I was a student. During the hustle and bustle of life at school it is pretty difficult to reflect as deeply as I did then. I find my commute to and from work is a good place to think about specific lessons, or children and plan some next steps, but a chance to sit and think about a whole year of teaching is a rare event and feels very exciting!
13 reflections from 2013:
1. Passing my NQT year. I’m pretty proud of that, coming into teaching as a novice having been used to being an expert in my previous profession was a steep learning curve, professionally and emotionally.
Still feel I’m learning something new everyday!
2. I’m pleased to have put some of my Google teaching experience into action, setting up Google Apps for the school, getting started with class blogging last year, carrying on this year with my new class and trying our hand at two rounds of Quadblogging. I’ve redesigned the new school website started last year on google sites and set up a self hosted installation of WordPress for us to develop our blogging as a school in the future. Major highlights here include having THE @deputymitchell come to start the whole staff on our blogging journey and our most read (over 1000 views) and tweeted post asking my PLN to respond to a survey so we could do some real life data analysis in numeracy.
3. I took my first tentative steps into subject leadership, with my science background being put to use as Science subject lead. I’ve enjoyed starting to make links with other science leads and educators on twitter, and even meeting some in person (the lovely @boydon1967) at a regional ASE meeting.
I moved school at Easter so now I am Computing Subject lead which I am really enjoying getting my teeth into.
4. Although it seems an eon ago, I survived my first Ofsted last January. I was brave enough to ask them to come and observe me a second time, having had a very short observation in guided reading, I wanted some feedback on a more standard lesson, and getting a ‘good’ from them for my literacy lesson was worth the nerves.
5. The summer holidays this year were just blissful. Hot sun, time with friends and family, catching up on the life I felt I’d missed out on in my NQT year.
very much ready for the summer holidays again…
6. Although I tweet far less often than I did before I was teaching, twitter is probably even more an essential part of my day than before. Always informative, supportive and inspiring, I value my PLN every day.
if anything my PLN has strengthened further this year, especially after Camped – see below.
7. I finally started going to yoga classes in the Autumn, something I’d promised myself I’d do for years. The classes are well worth the effort of getting out of the house and have really helped me to try to keep work and life in proportion.
8. I’ve a photo of my first class on my study wall. It is so lovely to see them developing in school and know that I have taught them.
9. I’ve survived two terms with 37 then 36 children in my class. I’ll be going back to a class of 35, I’m hoping those two less books will help with the marking mountain ;-)
At my new school I have 29 children in a year 5 class.
10. I couldn’t have made it this far without the support of my family. Especially my daughters and husband who are always there with a smile and a cup of tea. My Mum and Dad have been just as supportive, regularly turning up to garden, wash or iron just when I need it most. No idea what I would do without them.
11. I’ve managed to keep in touch with most of my friends, though many I haven’t seen anywhere as often as I would like. When I have seen or spoken to them, they have been amazing.
12. Thanks to old university connections, I’ve started some consultancy , a small project for some educational materials for schools visiting Rockingham village hall. It has been fun to think of something different and use my teaching knowledge in a different way to offer advice and practical experience to the project. I’m grateful to Zara Hooley for the opportunity.
This was a super project. I’ll be working with Zara again this year, but this time to raise some chicks in school, another of her many talents!
13. The last two weeks of the Autumn term are an experience that I would rather not repeat. Difficult circumstances showed me just how strong our staff was and I was thankful to be working with such generous and caring people.
14 things for 2014
1. Keep up my Yoga classes. An hour and a half once a week to chill out.
I did well with this in the winter, which is when I need the exercise the most. Moving to a classroom up 4 flights if stairs has given me plenty of exercise since Easter!
2. Join the Association of Science Education, attend some of their regional committee meetings and continue to network with other science leaders there. After July I will apply to be a Registered Scientist (Rsci) using the fast track system, putting my degree and PhD to use!
I joined and had completely forgotten about the Registered Scientist, will try and get this done in the summer!
3. Find out if there is a still a vacancy on our school governing board, and see if I can apply.
I moved school and so didn’t pursue this.
4. Continue to develop the use of blogging in class and to encourage more children to post from home or start their own blog. I’ll be running an ICT club this year, and would like to focus it on helping children set up their own blogs. I’m wondering about inviting parents to join us, as I know that many will want to know that their children are working safely online.
ICT club was great fun, I have signed up to run one in my new school in the Spring. This may be code club, or an attempt to resurrect some antique lego mindstorm equipment.
5. To make better use of our school iPads in class. I already have a daily task for the children to do in rotation during guided reading, initially it was reading a book for KS1 and recording it on audioboo, making a QR code and putting it in huge book so the children could listen to it. Then we have moved onto allowing them to do some free writing and I’m determined to use this time to develop some other skills over the year. This little and often daily approach has really helped when we’ve used these skills in other lessons.
Will be applying this principle with my new class in the new year.
6. Use Coveritlive to develop writing with my class and widen their use of vocabulary. We used it for a hot seating style session before Christmas and I got a glimpse of the power it could have.
This will be on the to do list for Spring.
7. Plan and execute our whole school Science day in April. Based on forensic science, I’ll be roping in my husband to add a real genetic scientist in to the mix, with DNA extractions and a taste of university aspirations for our children that school.
Science day was great fun, despite the fact that the company we had booked didn’t turn up! Fortunately, my husband was already there so did a little extra and meant that at least KS2 had an outside visitor.
8. Book as many holidays as we can! I’ve learned that the first weekend of each half term needs to be spent away with with family to switch off from the term.
we went away at Easter, Half term, last weekend and have 2 weeks booked in the summer as well as another Camped lined up in October!
9. This year my twin daughters will start secondary school. A big step for all of us!
Delighted to report that they loved their transition days last week.
10. Get to grips with the new Science curriculum and help other members of staff in school to do the same.
Working through the curriculum for both keystages has stood me in good stead for moving year groups. I’m now doing the same with the computing curriculum and have led my first staff meeting.
11. I start teaching the New maths curriculum after Christmas as my year 4 children will be the first to be tested under the new curriculum. Not so much of an aspiration as a reality!
More to come…
12. Grow more veggies in the garden.
I tried! Planted plenty but not much success yet…
13. Go to #Camped14 and talk to more people than I did at #camped12! If you haven’t heard of Camped, it is like an extended teachmeet/sleepover. Great fun and a great place to meet people that you’ve only ever tweeted with!
CampEd was amazing. I’ve blogged about it.
14. Attend and present at a teachmeet. Having organised a national one in my PGCE year, I would like to get back into the local teachmeet community as it is a super place to be!
Presented at our local Leicester Teachmeet. Must try to host one…