This week I've tried...
- Masters in Science Education King's College London "What makes a good dissertation"
- Leading our Coaching Programme in department meeting
- Teaching Leaders Middle Leadership "Navigating your team through change"
- Being observed by HOD
- Observing a colleague
- Action research group with Zoe Elder (@fullonlearning)
Masters in Science Education King's College London "What makes a good dissertation"
WWW I now have a clearer focus for my dissertation topic, we looked at examples of abstracts from previous dissertations and it was useful to have the opportunity to discuss ideas with a variety of other Masters students (some full time, some part time but teaching in different subjects, or in primary)
EBI A disappointing lack of 'practice what you preach' from King's College - too much teacher talk and nowhere near enough time for discussion on the practicalities of how to get started or setting action points for our next steps
Coaching in department meeting
WWW The gift of time! 30 mins was kindly given by our HOD for discussion in coaching pairs and I got to witness the realisation by the two colleagues I was working with that coaching provides an opportunity to discuss concerns and come to your own solutions by having someone listen. Observing the interaction in pairs and giving feedback on how to improve the coaching process was interesting as well.
EBI If I had maybe put people in groups of three or four so that they could all observe the coaching process instead of just leaving people in their pairs. I also want to set up an anonymous survey to see whether all colleagues found the process useful or not.
Teaching Leaders Middle Leadership "Navigating your team through change"
WWW Considering 'what does successful change look like?' as a group. Looking at the 'personal transition curve' for those leading the change, but also for those being affected by the change (http://www.businessballs.com/freepdfmaterials/processoftransitionJF2012.pdf). Looking at the Kotter 8 step change model and applying it to a change that I am currently attempting (http://www.kotterinternational.com/our-principles/changesteps)
EBI More time had been spent on how to effectively implement change/overcome the barriers and strategies that would allow a team to move on along the 'personal transition curve'
Being observed by my HOD
WWW Seeing the impact of thorough planning and positivity on a C/D borderline class - my HOD commented that he'd never seen a class where every single student was engaged all of the time. I feel like this is the ultimate goal for a teacher - if our students are engaged they'll learn more.
EBI Don't wake up at 3am in a panic about being observed. Being (uncomfortably) aware that if I had time to plan all lessons more thoroughly they would be better...
Observing a colleague
WWW My colleague recognised that they wanted to improve their teaching with this set 4 class and we discussed strategies before agreeing to a follow up observation in a couple of weeks - I love working in a department where everyone is always trying to improve so that they can provide the best for their students.
EBI Wishing I done this as a 'developmental' observation rather than a 'judgemental' observation - the teacher, and more importantly the students, might have got more out of it. I feel like I've seen something about this on twitter, or read about it somewhere - now I'm going to have to research it! The conversation @benton_clare and I had with @fullonlearning on Friday gave me some excellent starting points though.
Action research group with Zoe Elder
WWW Collaborating with colleagues, beginning to understand the principles of action research, considering potential enquiry questions for my own action research, creating a 'web' with colleagues and spotting the links between our potential action research plans, being given time to be able to do all of this!
EBI Every school got to do this! I'm not sure whether action research would appeal to all teachers but by being selective perhaps there can be a 'trojan mouse' effect across a school (http://dailygenius.wordpress.com/2013/02/25/bring-on-the-trojan-mice/)
I think I would find it hard to pick a favourite from the list above, they all had value in terms of improving either my teaching, the teaching of others or improving my leadership and management skills - all of which should directly impact on the students. I loved the Action Research Group for bringing me back to the core purpose of being a teacher - the learning but I also really enjoyed working with colleagues in my own department through lesson observations and the coaching programme. That's not to say that the Masters or Teaching Leaders sessions weren't valuable, they're just a little more removed from the day to day classroom but ultimately they're still linked to the bigger picture of providing better teaching and learning.
A quick final point: One of the things I noticed that came up as I was writing this is the fact that I always want more time for something! As a fourth year teacher I feel like I'm starting to get slightly better at maintaining a work-life balance but I wonder how long that will last if Michael Gove gets his way with our working conditions...