What I really like about going back to school in September is that it’s a new year with no mistakes. The students’ books are graffiti free and and all the dates and titles have been neatly underlined. There is nothing to mark and my lessons are inspirational and well planned. the annual rot has yet to sink in. I also like deciding on my new school year resolutions. I have to say, I can’t be bothered with the proper New Year resolutions and avoid them as the mass market nonsense that they are. School year resolutions are different though. They’re normally things I want to do rather than things I want to stop doing. Anyway, after this week’s #ukedchat on setting targets for the year ahead, I felt the time was ripe for posting about my own targets and those of the wonderful English faculty.

This year, we started off with a Faculty meeting where we all shared 3 things we wanted to do differently, or try out this year. In order to set a good example, I shared mine first. They are:

  1. Get my classes blogging
  2. Work through the list of daft ideas compiled by my Year 11 class off the back of me reading Dancing About Architecture.
  3. Experiment with QR codes as a way of engaging students.
We then spent some time chatting about what we wanted to do and then shared our ideas. What came out of this was inspirational and quite took my breath away. Some of the highlights follow:
  • relinquish  control in the classroom and focus on observing student lead learning
  • Design Critical Skills challenges to use with all year groups
  • Get out of the classroom – find excuses to take classes outdoors
  • Get Year 7 to perform an entire Shakespeare play
  • Find ways to work on students’ intrinsic motivation – get them to work for themselves rather than for the teacher
  • More out of school enrichment; links with other schools
  • Give students more time to reflect on their learning – use meta menus
  • Allow students to “fail” and learn through failure
  • Make kinaesthetic learning more of feature of lesson
  • Smile more
  • Get students to set targets for teachers
  • Increase student lead learning by getting them to set their own assessments
  • Take risks – get out of comfort zone
  • Sign up to Twitter and find ways to use it in the classroom
I think you’ll agree that that’s a pretty good list of resolutions. I left the meeting feeling hugely excited and enormously proud to be part of such ‘can-do’ faculty.
It’s now Friday night and despite feeling shell-shocked by the first week back, I still feel really excited about the year ahead. Some of the good stuff booked in for the term ahead includes:
  • presenting on Dweck & mindsets to the whole staff – this has changed my on teaching massively and I can’t wait to see what effect it has on the school
  • Critical Skills training in October – this is something I’ve wanted to do for years and I have to stop myself drooling at the thought of it
  • best of all – Phil Beadle, my teaching hero, is coming to my school! We had some great INSET on day 1 with Ian Gilbert from Independent Thinking (he is a clear exception to my thoughts on motivational speakers) where I shared my admiration of the great man and his brand of “lunatic” teaching. Ian described me as Beadle-lite which he assures me is not an insult! But which he clarified as being “like @PhilBeadle but without the endearingly cantankerous belligerence…” Have decided that maybe there’s a compliment in there somewhere.
So far, so good. I’ve really enjoyed the first week back and am most excited byt the success of my class blog project: please visit Mr Didau’s English blog – the kids would be chuffed if someone replied to any of their comments.