Friday, 1 November 2013

Half term bloggyness

Today heralds the end of half term. The weekend will be a normal weekend. Time with my partner on Saturday and planning/prep for the working week on Sunday.

This half term I have worked for a day and a half. I could've done an awful lot more but to be honest I was so shattered at the end of last week I would be doing my body a disservice if I had tried. I've prepared the documents for Year 11 coursework and marked all the books. I have some ideas in mind because we are expecting the 'big O' any day once we go back. Let them come I say.

Arrogant? Well no. I've just realised a few things over the last few weeks. I've realised that I am an awful lot better at my job then I think I am. That I have ideas, good ideas that are worth speaking about to colleagues and others and that said colleagues respect me far more than I thought.
What has prompted this, well some observation feedback from my deputy head which, though contentious at points was very constructive and pointed out that I was doing myself down (although if I hear the phrase 'but Ofsted want' again I might kill him!!)
Also the input of the Twitter family of teachers supporting me through some difficult times. Many of you are aware how difficult my current situation has become and my increasing want to leave for pastures new. Well I am departing, at Christmas. This is amazing and awfully sad at the same time. I love the boys I teach, they are very special for a lot of reasons but for the first time in a while I have to put myself first.

I'm feeling quite scared about the new role but massively excited. It's back in mainstream, second in the science department. I don't know much more as I write. The atmosphere at the school seems massively positive and I am really looking forward to being part of it. I'm a bit scared about what is going to be asked of me, the marking, teaching big classes again which include teenage girls (heaven forbid) but its going to be great. I'm going to make the role my own and I'm going to take any hints and tips that come my way about leadership.

I am purposely avoiding the issues of half term for education. QTS or no QTS? and the GCSE Reforms. That said here is my small contributon

I had Mr Gove lighting up my TV back on Wednesday. It was mortifying and I did not last long, qudos to the twitter commentary! Frankly the debate was advertising for free schools and defense of independent ones. Nothing to do with whether there is any benefit of QTS or not. What I see is that teachers need to be 'trained' - BEd, PGCE, TeachFirst....whatever, but training about children, classroom management, behaviour management and all that stuff that allows us to do our jobs effectively. All QTS seems to do is confirm that you have enough basic Literacy and Numeracy to pass the QTS tests, it does not measure your ability to teach children which I find a bit worrying. The claim the government were trying to make about teachers without QTS losing their jobs is invalid. Surely if they are great teachers they would get through QTS easily and would simply 'work towards' it, whatever 'it' is.

As for the GCSE reforms, I haven't even looked at the moment. It all feels too much too fast without a safety net. There are real issues around science education mainly surrounding how you assess practical work, how much as a percentage this should be and its place in the GCSE. There are also issues with moving concepts down from A-Level into the GCSE which speaking as a teacher of SEND children are going to be challenging. Many of the children I teach are immature and lacking in basic literacy skills. They struggle with science, the technical language is a big barrier so if it is going to be loaded with more they won't be able to access it. Surely with no alternative qualification seemingly valued these children which are found both in special schools and mainstream are being 'priced out' of the GCSE market.

For now I am trying to keep my head above water and concentrate on myself and my future in a new role. I really hope that we see more opposition to these silly government ideas soon, over to you Tristram Hunt.

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