What might the new academic year hold?

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Well, that was summer!  It seems like only a few days ago that I packed up and headed off to a summer of moving to the UK, reading, running, relaxing and having a mental re-furb.  Now, after a mad-dash half-term back getting the school set up for the arrival of teachers and students, it’s as if I’ve never been away – in a good way.  Perhaps many teachers dread the return to school but I suspect that in some way or other we all actually look forward to it.  I won’t lie, times can be tough (especially with this virus thing) and it’s important to remember that not everything will go our way this year but, a reflection upon last year has revealed that there are some key areas that I will tackle in both teaching and leadership this year.  Let’s see how they pan out:

Teaching:

  1. I’m not going to get too upset about the debate over Prog vs Trad.  I like knowledge, I have it, I value it and I want my students to have it.  I will however, try to find ways of making sure it’s delivered well.
  2. I want to spend a bit more time explicitly teaching reading skills and grammar.  Read Theory is a great tool for assessing reading levels and building good readers and so I will be making sure my students are on it.
  3. Build PD in the department and make us all agents of learning. I love peer-observation as a free tool (all it takes is time) to ensure that we are questioning, learning and reflecting. In a time where actual face-to-face training is not happening, let’s get virtual.
  4. Questions. I really want to get people thinking about the importance of planning questions as part of planning lessons. Who will you ask? When will you ask? What will you do when you get the wrong/right answer? This is still one of my favourite blogs on the topic.
  5. Feedback. It’s essential that we don’t neglect this considering it to be done and dusted. It’s an ever evolving process that we need to keep in the loop. Consider these.
  6. Behaviour for Learning. By this I don’t just mean sitting still and doing what teacher says (although that’s all very nice) but I mean the ways in which students value class activities as essential aspects of their learning. How do we collectively ensure that students are getting the very most out of every minute in the class. I love this book.

Therefore, I will try to trim down my thoughts this year as I head into a new school and with a new department. I love the challenge for getting to know new teachers and what makes them tick. In these very odd times, the challenge of delivering the above presents a very unique and distinct set of learning for me. But, be not afraid!

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