Well here goes! Having seen my NQT mentee publish her first blog this week and then seeing @ChocoTzar’s Nurture1314 idea, I felt compelled to have a go at blogging. This has probably been the most incredible year of my career so far – I’ve been teaching since 1997. So I will start at the beginning of the year.
1. I joined Twitter. I could stop there really. What I have learned from all the wonderful people on here is too extensive to go into but I do know I am a better teacher for it.
2. My first TeachMeet was at Bridge Academy. I took my NQT along with me and she just got it immediately. The two of us were off in Twitter Teachland – the 2 of us have had significant impact on the rest of the school as a result.
3. At the Bett Conference I saw Heath Monk speak about Future Leaders – my Head Teacher turned to me and said “We want you on that! Find out about it!” So I did.
4. Applied for Future Leaders – tough selection process which challenged me from the outset. Online tests, essay questions, half day of interviews at the Assessment Centre.
5. Accepted as a 2013 Primary Cohort Future Leader!! Could not believe it in one way but also just felt that this was what was meant to happen on my journey.
6. Throughout all of this I was/am still teaching my Y6 class. It was my first time having my own Y6 class and I loved every minute! So many things that were as new to me as they were to them. I was excited every day by the progress they were making – I knew they were going to do well but I wanted so much for them and wanted to give them as wide and varied experience as possible. I was stimulated every day by the discussions we had and the learning journey we were on together.
7. My first experience of seeing my own class take their KS2 Sats – I had been part of the process for so long but never fully realised what the Y6 teacher goes through during that week. Emotional is the only word for it! They did amazingly well and achieved the best set of results the school had had for many years (except in SPaG!!!)
8. Took Y6 away for a week on their residential trip. I had always dreaded this – again a first for me – because I hate being away from home but I loved every minute. I cried several times (children didn’t see!!) when specific children achieved their goals and did things they thought they never could. It was life affirming and just added to my passionate belief in what we do for these inner city children living in poverty.
9. Spent 2 long weekends away as part of the Foundations course for Future Leaders. I won’t go into details here but suffice to say it has changed my life. (another blog that needs to be written)
10. Ofsted came knocking in June – school placed in Requires Improvement. I realise now that this would be a whole blog on it’s own. It flattened us, not because of the grading (we expected that) but the way we were treated.
11. Spent 2 weeks of the Summer holidays at Future Leaders Foundations. I met so many new colleagues – a network of people who I know are going to be my support system for the next few years as I move toward headship. Again this is a whole blog of it’s own!
12. September saw the new school year start. I began with a renewed passion and vigour for the job I already loved. Nothing will steer me from my path now. I know I can make a difference. I know I am making a difference and I want every teacher and TA in my school to know and feel that like I do. I want to banish the low morale which followed Ofsted and lead everyone to Good and beyond. I have no doubts that we will get there. By Christmas the % of good or better teaching had risen from 40% to 67% and we will get to 80% by Easter! The rise in progress of the children across the school at the end of this term compared to this time last year is significant and teachers have realised how good they really are.
13. I applied to be a Peer Mentor for Future Leaders in 2014 and was accepted! I will be able to support the new cohort in having the same amazing experience I had and helping to expand the number of primary colleagues who are going to spread the excellent training that Future Leaders gives.
So – that was the year that was! As I was writing I realised how easy it is to just write about these things that I love! I could have gone on and on (Lol!) I also realised that perhaps I do have some more blogs in me! I need to take some time to think about my 14 things for 2014 – please excuse the gap! Please please comment on my blog – let me know what I have done well and what I could do to make it better. Future Leaders told us that “FEEDBACK IS A GIFT”!! I have this on my feedback forms to staff now – they thought I was bonkers when I said it the first time in September but now our school is developing a culture of feedback being a gift and that it should be received in that way. I want to lead in this way and so seek feedback for myself whenever I can – however hard to hear. Thank you for taking the time to read this.