Showing posts from December, 2016

Back Seat Driver

Firstly apologies for the vaguely sexist picture. Women can drive just as well as men. Women aren't necessarily back seat drivers. Ok now that's sorted. The term back seat driver has always amused me. Until I passed my test (at the 2nd time of asking) I had no clue why the person in the back was telling the person with all the power what to do. Now I get it. Any drivers out there who have ridden in someone else's car have probably had the 'ghost brake pedal' experience where the driver doesn't quite slow down when you would do in their place. A lack of control where usually you are in the driver's seat, literally. 'What relevance does this have?' I hear you cry. As a middle leader (lowercase) I sometimes get that 'ghost brake pedal' feeling at work. That feeling of helplessness and the urge to shout out 'You're doing it wrong', the feeling that someone else is at the controls and you are just a passenger. Your awarene

Concrete Imagination

After #LLL16 I was inspired to set up a local TeachMeet, only to find out that one was in the offing round the corner (#tmrammy). I decided to bite the bullet and present. But what to present on? I guess most teachers imagine, like me, that their practice is no better than their peers', with nothing to declare to the world. I thought back through my 6 years of teaching and realised I had used one technique more than any other. I have decided to call this technique 'Concrete Imagination' although I do not claim to have invented it. Concrete Imagination involves using physical objects to inspire imaginative writing. Much is made of the use of video, image and sound to inspire writing. However I have found that children, especially KS1 pupils, can lack imagination, or struggle to focus their imagination. The technique I have used utilises physical objects to inspire creativity. This can   range from activities like 'The Mysterious Key' to 'The Giant's Coat

Shakespeare without the Spit

I have been seeing the phrase 'teachmeet' on Twitter for the past two years without really taking the time to see what it's all about. I assumed it was just one of those buzz words or fads (see @teahertoolkit's latest post) that infect teaching occasionally. Historically a teacher would be trained then let loose on their classes with little or no CPD. My father, a retired D&T teacher claims to have never been on a course in his career. In my 6 years of teaching I have attended courses, some good and some awful, and taken part in Diocesan Leadership training, as well as NPQML. However all of this extra training has been voluntary, in fact I search out opportunities rather than them being placed before me. Courses invariably cost money, my school buys into the REAL trust in Rochdale, as well as the added cost of supply cover, the disruption to my class... The list goes on. With school budgets falling 'faster than since 1950' (BBC News, 2016), is it any wonder

Joining The Dots (July 2016)

After attending Lead Learn Lancs #lll16 ‍, the first educational conference of that kind I've ever attended, I've had some thoughts about collaboration. There's working with 'real' colleagues in school, and talking via social media to colleagues around the world. Both are important and can be formative in a teacher's career and practice. However, like myself, there is a gulf between practice in schools and what can often be seen as the 'ideal' promoted by talented teachers on Twitter. Sometimes it is hard to catch the buzz from afar, as if distance makes the practice you see other-worldly or untouchable. Sometimes in School there are 'mood hoovers' (thanks @ict_evangelist. Whereas on Twitter those people can simply be unfollowed, in school you are stuck. Events like Lead, Learn, Lancs, and I imagine the various teachmeets around the country, allow you to Join the dots. Rather than viewing amazing practice from afar, akin to being an educational

Fleas in a Jar

This is the first and last post on my 'Deeperteacher' blog. I started it in 2012 and it never really got off the ground. Reading it two years later was quite amusing, but I find that I have a lot in common with my past self. The 2 year old in the post is now nearly 5, fiercely independent and more than ready for 'big school' in September. Her brother is 1 soon and so is giving me the same headaches and sleepless nights as his sister. The point I was making in the post still stands. Children (and adults) are frightened of failing. If we don't take this fear away then they won't reach their potential. I called this post 'Fleas in a jar' because I heard once about putting a flea in a jar and put the lid on. For a while the flea will jump incessantly and hit the lid. After while it will learn the level of the lid and jump perfectly, not touching the lid but missing by a hairsbreadth. If you remove the lid, the flea will n