#Nurture16/17 Getting my IT mojo back and looking after my staff.

Having written two Nurture posts in one calendar year, I managed to not write one at all on 2015-2016. My last school’s year was pretty hectic, my first full year as a phase leader, we gained over 230 children from Easter 2015 to October 2016. When I joined the school there was a 7 year plan in place to grow from a 2 to 3 form entry school, but local circumstances and our Head’s strong moral purpose that all children deserve a good education meant it all happened rather more quickly than we anticipated! Needless to say, taking on a phase leader role whilst still in class full time was hard work and I was fortunate to undertake an NPQML qualification along with another colleague in Foundation who was also new to her phase leader role. This helped enormously, gave us ideas to support us and the time to support each other. 

So looking right back to Nurture 2015 post, my 5 wishes for 2015 were: 

1. Start class blogging in my new school. I can’t believe how much I have missed having an online space for my class to share their work!

2. Continue to develop our CAS regional hub. We had a super launch, but the challenge this year is to embed the network and deepen the connections we started.

3. Begin my journey to becoming a Master Teacher of Computing through CAS.

4. Finish the couch to 5K programme for running and try to join at least one Park Run. Make running part of my week and keep it as a permanent form of exercise.

5. Continue to strive for some semblance of work/life balance. I’m much better than I was, but there is always room for improvement!

Taking into account the meassive changes in priorities that happened in the past 2 years, I’m pleasantly surprised that I’ve achieved many of these. The CAS hub is going strong, and now I have two other members of staff working with me on it, I became a Master Teacher of Computing and delivered training to my own staff and other schools, I completed couch to 5 K and I definitely have improved my work life balance. 

The main wish that didn’t get a look in was class blogging but something had to give! 

Looking ahead for 2016, I liked David Roger’s areas of focus: interest, practice and purpose.

#interest

I am in the very fortunate position of being a phase leader without a class responsibility this year. Given our massive and sudden expansion, our head invested in us as middle leaders to help smooth the transition to a bigger school and develop a wider spread of leadership responsibilities. After all, as LKS2 lead,  I now manage 7 teachers and 4 TAs, which is almost the same size of staff that was in the first school I worked in! It has been a brilliant opportunity and I have now have an amazing overview of all the children and staff in my phase. I have taught every class as I provide the majority of the covered needed in the phase and mentored an NQT. The downside has been that I haven’t been able to carve out as much time as I would like for computing and in particular the use of IT across the curriculum. I feel like I’ve lost my IT mojo but over the holidays I’ve realised it’s up to me to take the opportunity and get inspired! I have re-engaged with Twitter, by changing my client back to Echofon which pushes notifications and so I’ve been pulled back in. I’ve had a good clear out and cut down he number of people I follow and consequently my interest has grown and I’ve regained some of the joy that I know Twitter can provide. 

So I aim to:

  • Engage in Twitter and blog at least once a month
  • Attend BETT, the BETT Teachmeet and #camped17 (I’m assuming there will be one – if not I’ll be making sure I connect with the fab educators and families that usually attend as they are an amazing source of wisdom, silliness and inspiration)
  • We have an opportunity to replace our ICT suite with mobile devices which has set my tech brain spinning again…

#practice

My individual teaching practice has changed radically as I cover classes rather than have my own class responsbility. However, I did prepare assessments and the data returns for one of our classes last term so I haven’t missed out on everything! I have gained a wealth of experience by teaching a wider range of classes and this is something I want to develop further. 

So I aim to

  • Mentor is the NQT in my phase and develop my modelling skills
  • Run a lesson study looking at the use of technology across the curriculum with a focus on supporting our EAL learners.

#purpose

The moral purpose of providing a broad curriculum for all children in our school is very strong. We have a strong focus on the well-being of staff and I feel that this is increasingly important when demands from changing political agendas continually move the goal posts. 

So I aim to:

  • Maintain and develop our Staff Shout Out board to encourage a culture of caring for and thanking one another in school.
  • Look after myself and remember that at the end of the day teaching is just a job.
  • Nurture my staff by leading by example – turning email off at weekends, thinking about the impact of new ideas and new work on staff before committing to them. 

I’m optimistic about the coming year after a really relaxing holiday – bring it on! 

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