What I’ve Learnt This Year

Now that I’ve been on holiday for a little over a week I thought I’d reflect on the past year; it was a tough year in many ways but one in which I feel I learnt a great deal. It was my first year teaching year 6 (and for now my last as I’m moving to a new school where I will be teaching year 4) and as such brought with it the many trials and tribulations of SATs and all the related targets whilst still trying to teach creatively. Here’s what I’ve learnt this year:
  • That I can facilitate an outstanding lesson – the breakthrough with this for me was really clarifying in my mind what I wanted the children to achieve in a lesson and the steps for them to get there and making sure the learning objectives matched that and then the activity matched the objective. This clarification came from a discussion of a forum I use, PTRC, when I asked for advice for my performance management observation. Somehow, something just clicked and suddenly I understood! I do feel that my lessons have been much better since that point.
  • That using Twitter and reading blogs are excellent places to find out new things and really challenge my thinking in terms of the Why? of education. I have been a member for less than a year but I have found out so many useful resources, made so many fantastic contacts and even been to my first Teachmeet, which I found out about because of Twitter. I even started this blog to help me clarify my thinking. It still makes me feel inferior on a regular basis as there are so many amazingly dedicated and knowledgeable educators out there, I feel like I actually know very little about anything.

  • I am still rubbish at interviews/interview observations. I did manage to get a new job but only because the HT came and watched me with my current class (such a better and more natural way to do things IMO) as the other interview I had where I had to teach at the school I was being interviewed for I completely fluffed. In the lesson I did things in the wrong order, forgot to give out half the resources and to explain them – the list goes on. And my mind goes absolutely, completely bank when being asked questions in an interview.

  • Constant negativity is NOT useful. Having seen how being constantly negative towards people makes those people act I vow to try my damned hardest to support others, children and teachers, to help themselves improve. I don’t think it’s about being overly positive all the time but if there’s a problem then you need to find a solution, not just keep on whinging about it, especially when others emotions are involved.

  • Taking assembly always has been and always will be scary. This is the one bit of teaching I really don’t like. I think it’s because I’m not a very good storyteller. In class it’s fairly easy to fill that extra five minutes with a simple game; not so when there’s 250 children sitting there all staring at you wanting to be entertained – ARGH!

  • Residential trips can be quite fun although also exhausting. I also found out that I am afraid of heights when I was stuck half way up Jacob’s Ladder. And zipwires make my stomach turn – bleurgh. 

  • Some parents will never be happy whatever lengths you go to for their children. And some will also never take responsibility. Unfortunately they take their anger and frustration out on the teacher. This is something I need to learn to deal with better.

  • Communication is the most important aspect of teaching and not just with the children. A lot of problems have arisen this year due to communication issues from certain members of staff, both in terms of listening and sharing information. Communication is not just about talking, the best communicators listen too.

  • Other things I’ve learnt include Shakespeare can be enjoyable if done in the right way, I hoard way to much junk, the kids always pull it off in the end however rubbish it seems even in the dress rehearsal and Neil Gaiman is a great author and I thank him for writing Wolves in the Walls which led to my ‘outstanding’ lesson and also to getting a new job.

I’m sure the year to come will have as many, if not more, things for me to learn, especially as I have to adapt to a new school and new colleagues but I have lots of ideas buzzing around, some of which I hope to share here and I’m really looking forward to the new challenges I’ll be facing.

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