Thursday, 29 January 2015

Finding a passion for the subject

I came across this tweet recently. It's one I completely agree with. I don't know the context of the statement and maybe it's directed at secondary teachers.

But how could it relate to primary teachers? How can they show a passion for all of the subjects which they teach?
"Our very best teachers are those who have a real passion and enthusiasm for the
subject they teach. They are also deeply committed to the learning of their students
and use their enthusiasm for their subject to motivate them, to bring their subject
alive and make learning an exciting, vivid and enjoyable experience." Subject Specialism Consultatation, DfES, 2003
It's not easy, but it comes down to acquiring subject knowledge and using it to engage with pupils. You'll need to develop great subject knowledge. There is no excuse for poor subject knowledge. You'd be found out, not only by anyone observing you, but, more importantly, by the children. If you've got to teach it then you've got to make sure you know your stuff.

This is a great book for acquiring maths subject knowledge.

Use Twitter, Facebook and the internet in general to find ideas that inspire you. I know a lot of teachers use published schemes and sites like Hamilton Trust and that's fine; I'm not knocking them at all. But you've got to be inspired in order to inspire the children. Find the most engaging way to ensure the children learn. This means you may have to pick and choose from the schemes. It means that you might have to adapt resources. But if you aren't gripped by it then how can you expect the children to be.

Use technology - how can it enhance your lesson to make it more involving? How can it make the learning stick?

Work with your subject leader. What might they recommend?

Organise a educational visit. These don't half inspire the children and make the learning memorable. Would it inspire and excite you?

Find the passion for teaching the subject and you might just ignite the passion for learning in the children.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Baby George

Our baby George is now seven days old. He's gorgeous. His older sister loves him to pieces and his mummy and daddy love him very much.

But I can't tell you what a shock to the system it is having a baby in the house again! It's hard work. I'll be returning to work later this week - it's going to be a challenge but one I'm looking forward to!

Saturday, 3 January 2015

'Customer' Experience

I recently read 'The Unforgettable Customer Experience' by Richard Kimber.

This is quite obviously a business book (I really enjoy reading books about business for some reason). But there are lots of parallels between the customer experience for businesses and the customer experience for users of schools.

Customer experience needs to be: "Not just good, but great. Memorable, and definitely not forgettable'. This relates to teaching. The challenge for teachers is to make learning memorable and definitely not forgettable.

The book suggests that businesses should have a strategy for customer experience - this is different to a business plan, but similar in principle.
"Building a great customer experience is no different to building a great business. To be able to create and deliver this, you first need to:
  • Create your customer experience vision
  • Plan how you'll deliver it
  • Map the customer journey
  • Measure the outcome and use the feedback to improve."
I wonder how many schools have a vision for the experience of parents?

The six steps to designing and creating great customer experiences are:

  1. Plan it
  2. Map it
  3. Mend it
  4. Measure it
  5. Anticipate it
  6. Manage it
Sounds similar to a school improvement plan. I think that adding customer experience to a school improvement plan seems like a good idea.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Review of 2014 and Thinking Forward to 2015

It's that time of year again when we look back and look forwards.

Review of 2014:
I didn't feel like I achieved much in 2014. But when I started to think about what has gone on, actually I've probably achieved a lot. 
  • Watching Lily become a real little lady. She loves going to Nursery for a couple of days a week and her development is a joy to watch. She'll be ready for school in September.
  • Finding out that Lisa and I are having another baby. It was incredible news (especially after our sad news in 2012).
  • A holiday in Somerset was great because it was a holiday, but rubbish because it was at Pontins. We had a brilliant time!
  • We went on holiday with mum and dad to Beaumaris. Our whole family came up for the day too. We had a really amazing break.
  • We went to see Jack Whitehall in March. He was quality!
  • Unfortunately my goals for 2014 were not even close to being achieved. Life got in the way. Never mind - let's move on.
  • I managed to get lots of things sorted in our garden. Lots more to do, but I've made a start.
  • I moved my office in the house and decorated the nursery. It was hard work - I wish I was better at DIY.
  • The death of my uncle right at the end of the year was really sad. I hope my dad will be ok in the first few weeks of the new year as he comes to terms with it.
  • My brother got married in December. It was a beautiful wedding. The stag do in August was a brilliant weekend in Newcastle.
  • It was fantastic to see one of my other brothers finally find a girlfriend who loves him for who he is. He deserves it.
  • Organising fundraising events through the church PCC was a real pleasure.
  • Lots of fun nights out with friends.
  • Continuing to build a few websites this year. They seem to be growing in popularity.
  • Completing my NPQH was a relief. It was very demanding and I felt that it kept me away from my 'real job'. But I'm very pleased that I have finished.
  • Finishing second in an interview for my first headship in May was disappointing but fair. I have put looking for jobs on hold until after baby arrives and my wife feels ready for me to put my energy into it.
  • Enjoying a great year teaching Year Five was wonderful. I had amazing colleagues.
  • Appointing four fantastic NQTs and watching them develop has been a pleasure.
  • Teaching a more able Year Six Maths group was a real pleasure and I was very happy with their success.
  • Becoming a non-teaching Deputy Head in September has given me the time to focus on whole school developments which I love.

My Goals for 2015:
  • Be a great dad to our new little boy, due Jan 15th 2015.
  • Be a great dad to our little girl and make sure she doesn't feel left out. I can't wait for her to start school in September and begin another adventure.
  • Find my first headteacher's position. I need to move on from my school - I love it, but I need a challenge. I feel ready to become a headteacher. I hope the right job finds me.
  • Blog more and become more reflective. I've hardly blogged at all. I guess I haven't had the time, but I want to make time in 2015.
  • Use Twitter more productively. I feel like I've lost touch with it. I want to take part in things like #sltchat.
  • Look after my dad more.
  • Complete a 365 photo project.
  • Keep a diary each day.
  • Manage my time more effectively - this will be on my list of goals every year.
  • Keep the house tidier - this will be a challenge with a baby in the house!
  • Continue to find ways to save money.
  • Run 100 miles - I managed to achieve 0 miles in 2014.
  • Swim 100 miles.
  • Give more thoughtful presents.
  • Go out with my friends at least once a month.
  • Continue to help with the church PCC.
  • Begin to write a book - I have a couple of ideas, but I need the time to do it.
  • Sort out my garage and loft.
  • Finish sorting my garden.
  • Get my office straight again.
  • Read lots - with my new Kindle.