So, I’ve done two terms in my new role of Lead Teacher for Teaching and Learning KS1 and EYFS, so how’s it been and what have I learnt?
- The place between the rock and the hard place is interesting!
- Being a Senior Teacher is SCARY! People ask you difficult questions, to which you are supposedly have to know the answers.
- Having a shared office with other Senior Teachers leads to a doctors waiting room atmosphere.
- People cry, have tissues ready at all times. Empathy is a skill being learnt rapidly.
- Write things done, make lists and tick things off….
- Enjoy your time with the children, they are full of awe and wonder and they believe what you say so use your words wisely.
- Find someone you can talk to, when you are struggling, being SLT can be a lonely place.
- Make time for all your team, listen, praise where praise is due, if something needs saying say it and move on, honesty is usually the best policy!
- Never ask anyone to do something you wouldn’t do yourself.
- Admit when your wrong or when something has gone “tits up”, you’ll feel better for it…
So as I contemplate going back for my 3rd Term I think what a steep learning curve I’ve been on, everyday I experience something different. Spring Term 2014 I’m sure will bring the Mr O knocking but hey life will carry on and our children will still continue to improve their life chances. Some of these wonderful children have seen many atrocities, that we would be appalled at so who are we to deny them a better future. So if I have to have a difficult conversation with a teacher who is not up to scratch then so be it. Our children deserve the best…….
OMG the day had finally arrived for SLT camp, the most anticipated event of my calendar since August! So with the permission of my HT to leave early!!! Lol that wasn’t happening so just past 4.30 I left the wonderful Birmingham! My SATNAV took me a bizarre route but I drew nearer Surrey…my half glass empty side kicked in? What if this was some elaborate hoax? There was no @ms_findlater or @mr_lockyear! What if they they had taken the money and were now sunning themselves on the Costa Lotsa Money!! So when I pulled up to find quite a few family sized cars and a crate of beer outside a breathed a sigh of relief! Dumping my bags in my room, I headed into the main room, where I met the very lovely Soo (yo yo) , we soon started chatting… And all the worries of finding something to talk about vanished. Beer flowed and so did the talk…. I’ve never been to a teach meet so I was intrigued, they were all brilliant and to keep going past 11pm on a Friday night was impressive….
After an interesting sleep? Sorry to Tania and Deb if I snored! I once had a housemate who moved my bed into the lounge as she could’t cope with my snoring! So breakfast done (yummy thank you Phil?) we headed off in convoy to Peaslake village hall. After some Ice breakers from deb and mel which I have pinched for school! We started the days business, this really felt so natural and I felt like I was talking to a group of old friends! The infamous Stuart Lock, Dawn and Penny! Not forgetting Amy I smile just saying your name! We talked , discussed , argued, shared, inspired and stole ideas!!! Wow who’d have thought…..
So this was a turning point when all thought were turning to cake! At my school all classrooms have a magazine style rack single attached
during morning sessions teachers dot the work of children who haven’t quite got it! This work goes in the wallet/rack with a note, then TA’s in the afternoon look in the wallet to see which children need a short 10 minute intervention to consolidate that learning. Hence a little bit wobbly in the wallet! Simple but damn effective!
So back to Saturday! with a head full of ideas, thoughts and much more… The beer was a welcome sight!! Dinner was lovely and the laughter flowed… Even with the Salsa dancing. We were truly spoilt with various SLTcamp merchandise! And so to bed.. So time to reflect on Sunday morning, the sunlight filtered through the window… And if you could see thought clouds I’m sure they were all saying the same thing! We are truly privileged to be teachers, it is a vocation not a job, the passion I witnessed by the people I spent 48 hours with was over whelming. So bollocks to the whingers and moaners, if you don’t like what you are doing go find something else to pay your mortgage and leave it to the people who really care about the futures of our young people!
A huge thank you to Stephen and Sarah the dynamic duo! and to all those who made me feel so very welcome!
So training days are over, getting to know you day are over, tomorrow the real teaching begins! Already have concerns about two teachers, the classroom management is not quite as it should be! Chaos at home time when the HT just happens to be in the corridor may have been just bad timing, so a quick chat and three possible solutions for a calmer dismissal were given, I left with a happier teacher. It’s been a long time since I was an NQT (well at least 10 years ago!) Trying to remember everything, children’s names would be good, then there’s school procedures, labelling books, behaviour management, and on it goes….so being supportive and “have you thought of doing it like this?”.
I also start my Y2 literacy and language class this week, very excited about that….being SLT is great but nothing beats whole class teaching!!!!!
Goodness, how long are days at school without children!!! Day 2 of INSET, some curriculum info which sounds fantastic! Then it was classroom time, great if you’ve got a classroom!!! So for me it was backing the boards in our office (4), no easy task when your wall stapler (named) has gone for a walk. So I’m happily backing away, when the head in adjoining office says “you doing mine too?” So 5 more boards later it was good to go back to some strategic planning!!! Tomorrow – how to get 450 children into the hall for Assembly in 5 mins!
So today was the 1st of 3 training days and my very 1st training session as a Senior Teacher! Armed with a Snoopy cartoon (remember him?) to calm my nerves and raise a smile I began. It went particularly well (in my head anyway!) lots of nods, questions, some audience participation and role play yes role play. The training was based around Doug Lemov’s Teach like a Champion. Doug is the managing director of the Uncommon Schools in New York, USA. He has written a book based around teaching techniques to improve teaching and learning. Our Academy is closely allied to the UnCommon schools model. Across our network of schools, most are in areas of high deprivation. My role is Lead Teacher for Teaching and Learning in EYFS and KS1. I have an oppo in KS2 to share my office with and bounce ideas of. Our main aim is to ensure that our children are exposed to the best teaching not just when teachers are being observed but all day every day! I think we’ve got our work cut out!!!!!😃
So tomorrow I deliver my 1st CPD session to the whole staff 30+ based around Doug Lemov’s Teach like a Champion. Feeling slightly sick! Been at my school a term so far so still getting to grips with being a Senior Leader. Also move into my very first office, scared and excited all at once.