Saturday, 14 January 2017

Blogging I Miss You - Finding My Feet


See here for my first endeavours in to the blogging world :-)

So, I knew for sure that I loved blogging and writing for an audience.  I had made the leap in to blogging and there was no looking back.

Writing from the Heart:
So, having other people ask me to write something for them really did let me step up and develop my writing more than I realised it would.  I started to feel like I really wanted to share my personal development a little more.  Starting out as a teacher was the hardest thing I ever did.  And the best thing I ever did.  The first two years of teaching were so, so hard.  I have never felt to stressed or learnt so much on so many levels in such a short space of time.  But I loved it!  What is wrong with me?  Anyway, because it was never just something that was easy for me I suppose I wanted to share my struggle with others and let them know that it is ok to not be a natural, to struggle and to not be perfect.  I feel like so many hide their struggles, or choose to forget them, and I just wanted to be honest about it.  I wanted people to know - you will be ok... if this is what you love and you want to put the work in it is so worth it.  The posts below are all about me finding my passion, working hard and starting to find my way in this crazy world of teaching.  (With one for my Y11 pupils thrown in for fun.)

7.  Embrace Your Inner Nerd
8.  Tremendous Teacher Blogs
9.  OFSTED 'Outstanding'... who me? Never!
10.  Unlocking the Power of Progress
11.  Targeting Teacher Training - The Importance of Good CPD

Don't Forget Your Roots
A couple of my blogs had got a lot of attention and sparked a lot of discussion on line which was great but I felt the need to get back to writing about practical in-class teaching again to refocus myself on the pupils and lesson planning - because after all that is why we are all in this game.

12.  But Miss, how do I revise for this exam? - Top Tips for Student Revision
13.  Letting Students Lead the Learning
14.  Playing with Poetry
15.  My TES English Piece - Peer marking and how to make it work in your classroom
16.  Dabbling in Digital Learning

Broadening My Horizons:
My first blog in the list below is my single favourite piece I have ever written.  I have used it with my pupils in class to analyse blogs in preparation for their iGCSE exam - which was scary - but I really feel this blog and I wanted them to know that stuff.  I also got involved in a coupe of very exciting projects and wrote about them.  I co-organised and hosted SLTcamp with the formidable +Stephen Lockyer which was immense and a really special thing to be a part of.  I also wrote again for the Guardian and was asked to write a guest chapter for +TeacherToolkit Ross Morrison McGill's first book - which was A-MAZING.  TT and SL you two rock and I have a lot to thank you for :-)

17.  Building Beautiful Cathedrals - What becomes of the children we teach?
18.  SLTcamp - Igniting Change
19.  My Guardian Piece - Immersive Learning
20.  Cultivating Creative Writing
21.  100 Ideas for Secondary Teachers - Outstanding Lessons

Dabbling in Digital Learning:
IN my first SLT role, I had the opportunity to take on the role of digital learning coordinator and loved every minute of it.  I had put forward the idea of developing this in the school where I was working at the time.  I wanted to improve what we were doing as a result of going on an amazing SSAT course where by I was able to visit five outstanding schools around the UK. One of those was leaps and bounds ahead of any school I have visited in terms of it's digital learning leadership.  I met Kirsty Tonks at Shireland Collegiate Academy in Birmingham and she, and the school itself, was an inspiration to me.  I wrote a number of pieces exploring and gathering ideas for my colleagues on different areas of digital learning.  I loved this part of my teaching and leadership journey.  (With one post for NQTs and trainee teacher thrown in just for fun.)

22. Digital Debates - Questioning - Issue 1
23. Digital Debates - Lesson Objectives - Issue 2
24.  Digital Debates - Explanation - Issue 3
25.  New Teachers - Buckle Up And Get Ready For The Ride
26.  Digital Debates - Marking And Feedback - Issue 4
27.  Digital Debates - Gifted And Talented Education - Issue 5
28.  You what? A You Tube Channel For Teaching You Say.
29.  Digital Debates - Homework - Issue 6
30.  Marking For The Masses And Feedback For The Future
31.  Digital Debates - Teacher Talk - Issue 7

Mulling over Leadership 
Writing about leadership is not an easy thing to do.  As I said in my first blog post on leadership "For me, leadership is so complex that you have a duty to be mindful, honest and to consider your impact.  Because of these points, I feel a great responsibility whenever I go to press the publish button."  This is so true.  And, for me, it is what I keep in focus whenever I write online or speak in public.  Becasuse it is not all about what you think or feel - you have a great responsibility to all of your staff.        There are some great, very experienced Headteachers who write beautifully and honestly about  leadership and they really have earned their stripes - I hope one day to be as wise and measured as they are.  I was daunted writing about leadership only a few years into it being a part of SLT... but I figured, my experience is as valid as anyone elses' and I really want to share it as I have other experiences as a teacher.  Anyway, I wrote about it - I wrote my story -  and I was really glad I did because it is important.  I need to write some more on this because boy do I have more to write. :-)

32.  Writing About Leadership - Leap Of Faith
33.  Leadership - When Opportunity Knocks
34.  Digital Debates - Issue 8 - Literacy
35.  The Start Of Something Small But Special - SLTcamp
36.  Reflections And Hopes Aplenty - Nurture 2013 - 2014

And so my second year of blogging came to an end.  What a year it was!

Thank you to everyone who was a part of my journey and supported and challenged me along the way.  It been emotional :-)




Dear Blogging,

I miss you.  I'm on my way back to you I promise...

Yours

Ms F

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Blogging, I Miss You - The Start of My Journey

So, I have not blogged since May 2016.  There are many reasons behind this that I will not bore you with now... that story is for another time.  I miss it like a dear old friend.  I have decided that I want... no, I need to get back to blogging to soothe my aching soul from this sense of loss I feel.  Starting to blog again after a break is daunting and to help me I started to read through my old blog posts last night - from the beginning.  What a journey I have been on.  I have to be honest and admit that it was really quite emotional reading all those ideas, reflections, admissions, hopes and dreams.  I decided to reflect upon my blogging past before I embark on my bogging future.    So here goes...




I started blogging in August of 2012.  


I have always loved writing and always written in some form of another over my summer holidays because  had the time to think that you just done't get during term time.  I find my head is so full of classes, pupils, marking, lesson planning and general work stuff that even if I do have a spare hour here or there my mind is not really in the right place for my best writing a lot of the time.  My holiday writing has always been a private pursuit... until then.


I'm not entirely sure how it happened but that summer I found my blogging self.  


Baby Steps:

I started writing about everyday techniques and ideas I have enjoyed undertaking in my teaching.  I just kept it simple.  These blog posts were not mind-blowing or based in educational research but they were from the heart and sharing what I love doing in my classroom.  I really enjoyed the process of thinking through and writing down what I do all the time, often without thinking about it.  It made me reflect on what I enjoy and what works for me with the pupils.  I kind of crystallised, focused my understanding of the 'why' behind it all.  It was uplifting to reflect on all the things that make me happy in my day to day job.


1.  Having Fun with Learning - Teaching Writing Through Games
2.  Active Reading Strategies - Visual Notes and Character Bodies
3.  Art in the English Classroom - Poetry and Painting
4.  Marking Matters


I was really just enjoying writing for myself and sharing the posts on twitter for others to use the ideas if they thought they may be useful.  I loved the immediacy of the feedback that blogging brought.  Each time I published a new blog post I would have people coming back to me to ask questions, discuss their approaches and ideas of a similar nature and thank me for sharing.  It was just such a lovely thing to be a part of.  It was a really useful sounding board for my thoughts and I loved the ideas I was gathering to improve my practice from sharing what I already do.

Branching Out:
A few months in I was asked to write a piece for the Guardian based on my Marking post as they had really like what they read.  I was also asked by @TeacherToolkit (Ross Morrison McGill) to be a guest blogger for a series of blog posts he was undertaking at the time - The Thunks.   


I cannot tell you how overwhelmed and honoured I was that they had shown an interest in my writing and my ideas.  We are so isolated as teacher in our little classrooms, on our own in terms of other professionals most of the time, that I think we really do get used to not being seen, not getting feedback and not feeling appreciated.  This is, in part, just the nature of the job we do.  Blogging and Twitter is a really powerful network for bridging this gap.  

And so 2012 came to a close and my first year of blogging was at an end.  Through starting my blog I discovered and gained so much more than I ever expected.  




Dear Blogging, 

I miss you.  

Yours, 

Ms F.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Year 11 - Go Forth and be Awesome

As the exam season kicks into full swing I wanted to dedicate a blog post to the students who are going though this life changing experience right now.

I teach three year 11 classes this year (yes three!) so I really feel a deep connection with what they are all going though at the moment.  I am privileged enough to work with some really quite exceptional young people this year that I really do believe will be game-changers in whatever they decide to do when they leave us.  They make me so proud. Ok, enough gushing.

One of my Year 11's said today in class "This week is full on man." and you know what... they are right.  This short period in their life really is full on.  Year 11, this one is for you.


Students, here are my top tips to get you through this tough old time....

Revision:
It is an absolute necessity that you revise regularly and that that revision makes a difference to how you feel about and approach you exams.
  1. Breaks - Give yourself regular breaks when you are revising.
  2. Space - You need to find a quiet space to revise.  If you don't have it at home there are other places - the school or local library is a great option.
  3. Avoid procrastination - Make sure you set your revision area up with everything you need so you don't have any excuse to keep getting up and distracting yourself.
  4. Tough topics - If there is a topic you are dreading coming up in the exam then revise it first.  Deal with the difficult stuff so it does not weigh on your mind and distract you from the other stuff.
  5. Get revision right - If you are using the internet, rather than resources your teacher has provided, then please make sure you are using a reliable website and that you are revising the correct exam board and paper.  Sounds obvious but you would be surprised how often students have revised the wrong topics!
Rest and Recuperation:
It is so important to look after yourself during the exam period.  If you burn out then you are no good for anything and exams will be so much harder for you.
  1. Sleep - Make sure you get enough sleep each night so that you are well rested enough to to be on top form in the day when you are revising or taking your exams.
  2. Diet - You need to eat a balanced and healthy diet during this exam period.  If you do not give your body and brain the right fuel then it will not be able to cope well with the pressure that come with exams.  Cut back on junk and sweets and get a well balanced meal three time a day.
  3. Exercise - Exercise  is vital to keep you brain and body healthy and ready for anything.  Make sure that you keep moving during exam season.  This time involves a lot of sitting in exams halls and revision lessons so walk rather than get the bus or go for a job in the morning or evening a few times a week to boost your energy levels.
  4. Do what makes you happy - If you feel the pressure is all getting to much for you then use some techniques to manage the stress.  Exercise, take a bath, sing, laugh, meditate, dance or listen to music.  Do what makes you happy to relieve the stress.
Support:
  1. Friends - Make sure that you spend time with friends that are encouraging and supportive of you doing well.   Let's be honest, not all of them are.  This time is your time and if necessary you need to just have time alone if you have friends who you love dearly but that will hold you back right now.  This time will pass and they will still be there.  Choose wisely.
  2. Family - When tensions are high we often take things out on those closest to us.  Make sure that you are not doing this to your family.  They want you to do well and they are behind you.  Make sure you show your appreciation of their support.
  3. Teachers - Us teachers really do care a great deal about you lot you know.  It came sometimes seem like teachers are always on at you and never let things go.  But deep down you know that we only do this because we care - admit it!  We do a tough old job and we do it because we want to make a difference and help young people like you really be your best.  Make sure you ask if you need help because that is what we are here for. 
Exams:

  • Fuel - Make sure you are eating well in the morning or lead up to the exams.  If your body and brain are running on empty you are not going to be at your best game in the exam. 
  • Nerves - It is not a bad thing to have some nervous energy.  If you feel nervous then breathe deeply and channel that energy into drive to do well in the exam.  If you are the unfortunate few that really suffer with terrible exam nerves then tell a teacher and see if there is anything the school can do to make you exam period less horrid.
  • PMA - Positive mental attitude.  Go in to your exam with a can-do attitude.  There is nothing more you can do at that stage so go in all guns blazing and do all that you can. You can do no more.  Think positively.

Your Future:

Once you have battled through this short time in your life and achieved good grades due to that hard work... the world is you oyster.  You can be anything and do anything you like.  You can find the thing you love and you can go for it, knowing that you have a good set of qualifications behind you to make it all possible.  How exciting is that?  This is your time.  Go forth and be awesome.









Thursday, 19 May 2016

Marking and Feedback - Strategies for Success



Here is my presentation for #TMBloomsbury on Marking and Feedback - Strategies for Success.




The video can also be viewed on my You Tube channel here.  

Enjoy.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Bloomsbury CPD Library - Marking and Feedback #BloomsCPD

This is a guest blog post I wrote for Bloomsbury Education Blog last month.  Read the original piece here.  




Series editor and author of Marking and Feedback, Sarah Findlater, explains how designing a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme can be daunting…but whether you are looking to better your own practice or coach your colleagues, the Bloomsbury CPD Library is here to help!

This series is such a exciting project for me to be involved in. When we were sitting down as a team to plan out what the books would look like and how they would work it was clear to me that this was going to be something quite special.  The books in this series are written by teachers for teachers. Everything in them is designed to be practical and help teachers reflect and to improve their practice.

The teaching and learning titles in the series are split into two sections. Section one takes you through the essentials of the topic and gives you tools to improve and reflect upon your own practice. There is all that you need to secure your knowledge in the teaching and learning area and feel confident that you have fully developed your knowledge and practice. The second section is designed to help you train others. Whether that is your departmental team, a group of teachers across different areas or on a whole school level.  This section provides pick up and use now CPD plans and resources and guidance. There are free electronic resources that you can download and adapt for your CPD sessions. Such a time saver!

The first book to be released in the series is Marking and Feedback.  The train yourself section in this book takes you through assessing your own marking and feedback practices and secures your knowledge on the topic.  I take you through all the different types of marking out there.  Then I explore all the big theories and ideas in terms of marking and feedback and give you practical ways you can apply these in your everyday practice.  I then show you a practical and research based approach to cyclical marking and feedback and how it can be used for impact in the classroom. There are a number of self-reflection tools that allow you to deeply analyse your own practice. After all it is essential to know yourself in order to guide others.

The second section of the book guides you through best approaches to planning and running your own CPD. It also provides you with pick up and use now fully resourced and detailed plans for CPD sessions on marking and feedback. There are full plans and resources covering full day training, extended twilight sessions, action research sessions and a full term’s worth of weekly after school training sessions. All plans have downloadable, editable power points and supporting resources on the website to go with the plans – so you really can just pick it up and use it if you so wish, or you can adapt it for your setting very easily.

CPD is so important and we have too little time in schools to do it well.  This resource really will support you to get more out of your in school CPD provision as it does a lot of the research and ground work for you.



Marking and Feedback by Sarah Findlater and Middle Leadership by Paul K. Ainsworth are now available to purchase on www.bloomsbury.com . Use #BloomsCPD @BloomsburyEd


 


Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Insights into Teaching

I contributed to this article about getting into teaching on Totaljobs.com and thought I would share here.


Read the full article here.
Insights into teaching

Hero_teaching

Totaljobs spoke to seven teachers across the UK to find out what it’s really like to teach. From academies to comprehensive schools, trainees to assistant head teachers, we interviewed teachers in a wide range of positions and schools. We asked it all: the good as well as the bad, in order to provide a comprehensive report of the teaching profession.

Why should I consider becoming a teacher?

We asked teachers what they loved most about their job and why jobseekers should consider it as an option. One of the most cited reasons teachers enjoy teaching is the pupils themselves.
Assistant principal at Harris Academy in Peckham Sarah Findlater explains why she loves working with kids: “They are never boring and always make me see things in new ways. Those light bulb moments in the classroom where students really get something are just magical. Plus, kids are hilarious”.

Tom Starkey, supply English teacher in various schools, agrees: “The kids make me laugh. It’s as simple as that. You have to act the hard case at points but I spend a lot of my time smiling”. Sebastian Burrows, deputy head of humanities and subject leader for geography at Milton Keynes Academy, revels in helping his pupils grow: “I enjoy helping students achieve; academically of course, but also in less measurable aspects such as gaining the confidence to speak in front of others”.

Sebastian points out another important factor in his love of being a teacher – the perks: “As facetious as it sounds, the holidays and pension are amazing”. Tom also approves: “On a more pragmatic level (which strangely doesn’t get talked about much), teaching is an incredibly steady job with a comparatively decent rate of pay. I’ve been a teacher for 12 years – I’ve never been made redundant, I’ve been able to pay the mortgage and I’ve never had to worry that if something did happen, I wouldn’t be able to find work fairly quickly”.

Career progression is also an advantage of teaching, as many teachers go on to more senior positions within schools. Phil Stock, assistant head teacher at Greenshaw High School, tells us his story: “My first job was as an NQT in a school in Surrey. In my second year I assumed responsibility for A Level Literature and set up a new Critical Thinking A level course.

After three years, I moved to another school as second in department. I took on some pastoral responsibility as head of years 12 and 13. I left after four years to take up the role of head of English at my current school in Sutton. After three years as head of department, I became director of English, associate assistant head teacher and then just over two years ago, assistant head teacher”.

As well as being a steady and ambitious job, teaching is often described as rewarding. As Jo Morgan, teacher and lead practitioner of mathematics at Glyn School Epsom, puts it: “I feel like I’m doing something meaningful and important. I get a feeling of satisfaction every time a lesson goes well. I have the opportunity to be creative. I am intellectually challenged”.

Phil Stock on teaching

In fact, many choose to become teachers after having gone down the corporate route. Phil tells us his story: “I worked for nearly six years in the insurance industry before deciding that I would be happier doing something else. With the encouragement of my friends and family, I decided to go to university and study an English literature degree, with a view to taking a PGCE after that and becoming a qualified teacher”. Sarah experienced a similar revelation: “I spent some time on a sabbatical from my advertising job as a teaching assistant and loved every minute of it. Never looked back”.

Jo never expected she would be leaving her successful banking career: “One day my company offered me the opportunity to give a presentation at an Inner London school about careers in banking. When the day came, I nervously delivered my careers talk to a classroom of scary-looking boys. They initially came across as grumpy and disinterested, but after my talk they came out with the most amazing questions.

I was blown away. They were imaginative, insightful, ambitious… It was a life-changing moment. Afterwards I felt a buzz of adrenaline, a huge sense of satisfaction from successfully engaging and interacting with these teenagers. I wanted more”.

Do I have what it takes to become a teacher?

When we asked what skills teachers need most in order to excel, patience was certainly a recurring answer. Tom says it best: “Patience. Lots of it. Massive, huge great dollops of the stuff.”
James Sansom, design and technology teacher at Loxford School of Science and Technology, explains the importance of resilience. “You need to be resilient. Never take anything personally more often than not the students never mean it”. Sebastian agrees, stating that teachers need an “impenetrable façade”.

Tom is of the opinion that no teacher skills sets are and should be alike: “I don’t think there is a distinct set of skills to become a great teacher. I think that’s one of the advantages of the job – you bring your own strengths to it”.

One personality trait teachers do agree is essential is an undying love for your subject. “I became a teacher of Drama as I wanted to pass on my love and passion for the subject”, says Verity Balcombe, trainee teacher at Finchley Catholic High School. Tom became a teacher for similar reasons: “My subject’s English. I love English. I love language, poetry, words. I wanted to see if I could get other people to love it too”.

Overall, most interviewees insisted that teachers need to enter the profession because of their passion for the job. It is certainly a case of ‘when you know, you know’. As Sarah puts it, “Make sure you are getting into the job for the right reasons – to improve the life chances of young people. As long as it is all about the students then you will never grow tired of the job”.

Jo started teaching as she felt it was the right thing to do: “My social conscience nagged at me – I wanted to do something meaningful with my life”. Verity joined the profession for similar reasons, citing a remarkable teacher in her youth as her inspiration: “I wanted to feel like I was making a difference. It was always in the back of my mind that I wanted to teach and to help students grow. You always remember that one teacher in school who inspired you and helped you to develop your skills and interests and I one day hope to be that teacher for many students”.

Sarah Findlater on teaching width=

How can I get into teaching?

The teachers we interviewed had taken different routes into teaching. The most popular option was a PGCE degree. Jo shares her experience: “I did my PGCE course at King’s College London. The course involved some university-based training, two academic assignments and two school placements. My first placement was at a girls’ grammar school and my second placement was at a mixed comprehensive school. During the school placements I gained experience teaching lessons and I was assessed against a series of teaching standards”.

The Teach First programme offers another path into teaching. James is certainly an advocate: “Teach First is an intense teacher training programme that has a 6 week training course, at the end of which you are parachuted into a school.

I did not possess outstanding GCSE or A Level results but did have a wealth of life and work experience which really put me ahead of the pack. I applied for the Teach First programme due to not being able to afford to support myself on the traditional PGCE programme. Teach First afforded a salary and paying for my qualifications. It was excellent for me as it allowed me to jump into the deep end and deal with the day-to-day running of the job instantly”.

Verity opted for a third option: “I am now currently on a SCITT course. It is an immersive programme and you spend most of the year in one school, apart from a 6 week placement. It is a great way to train because you work on the job, the students see you as a permanent member of staff and you get a lot of responsibilities which will inevitably prepare you for your future career”.

Many teachers recommend trying out a teaching assistant position before starting any degrees, in order to be sure of your decision. Tom shares his story: “I was a teaching assistant before I became a teacher. I think that helped me to get the lay of the land and it meant that I could see, first-hand, what was going on in schools. It really helped make my mind up about whether I wanted to be a teacher or not. Then it was pretty straightforward – degree, teacher training and before I knew it, I was stood in-front of a class”.



What are the downsides to being a teacher?

Many teachers mention marking as an unavoidable but frustrating part of teaching. When asked what he dislikes about his job, James says, “Marking pressures, as students now have to respond to feedback which takes more time and I can’t plan my lessons to the highest of standards”. Sebastian clearly agrees: “Marking is incredibly boring”.
Scrutiny is also inescapable as a teacher. “In teaching your work is subject to constant scrutiny – it takes a bit of getting used to. I am often held accountable for things that are outside my control,” explains Jo. Sometimes, the constant inspections can be extremely difficult to deal with, as in James’ case: “The biggest challenge I have faced to date was dealing with HMI Ofsted when I had feedback on a year 8 lesson which left me contemplating whether this was the right career choice for me. I felt like I was cut to the ground and every part of my lesson was dismantled”.

Alongside marking and scrutiny, pupils’ bad behaviour is often a source of distress for teachers. “If you find yourself in a place that doesn’t have their act together regarding behaviour, it can be a mighty struggle and even make you doubt the validity of what you’re doing,” says Tom.
Without a doubt, the most cited downside to being a teacher is the incredibly heavy workload. “Time is the hardest thing, and I imagine that any other teacher would agree. There is enormous pressure to do an awful lot in a small amount of time,” says Sebastian. Jo adds, “If it weren’t for school holidays the workload would be totally unsustainable”.

In fact, teachers insist that the only way to deal with the workload is to choose to switch off at the end of the working day… which is easier said than done. “Now I am at the point where I am happy to leave work at work and not strive for perfection with everything, because that simply isn’t sustainable”, says Sebastian. Tom agrees, “Teaching is one of those professions where it’s very easy for it to become all-consuming. But you have to go out of your way to keep something for yourself or you risk burning out”.

Jo Morgan on teaching

How are teachers perceived in the UK?

Regrettably, many teachers agree there is a general trend of under-appreciation towards teachers in the UK. “There is an overwhelming feeling of non-appreciation, mostly from the students, which can really wear you down,” says Sebastian. James agrees, “On the surface it comes across as easy to teach. As the old saying goes, ‘those who can’t do, teach’”.

The hours and long holidays in particular are often a reason for the disrespect. However, Verity busts the myth: “A lot of people say that teaching is easy as ‘you get so many holidays and work 9-3’. The reality is I haven’t worked harder in my life. I am in my training year and most days I start at 7 a.m. and work until 9 p.m.”. James confirms her statement: “If you add up all the hours I do a week and multiply throughout the year, it turns out I get 3 and half weeks holiday a year”.

Fortunately it seems that this negative perception is mainly prevalent in the media, and most people do appreciate the profession. As Tom puts it, “It sometimes seems like certain sections of the media and certain politicians do their best to put to try and put the profession down. But when I’ve actually talked to people about teachers and the teaching profession, more often than not, there is an abundance of support and respect for what we do”.

So is it really worth it?

Overall these interviews taught us that there may be just as many downsides to teaching as there are upsides. In fact, a recent survey revealed that 73% of newly qualified teachers have considered quitting. However, all seven teachers totaljobs interviewed firmly agreed that their passion for the job and the children completely outweighed the pressures and negative perception.

“Teaching is hard work, but it is an extremely rewarding job and I love it,” says Verity. Sarah agrees entirely: “It is a tough job, there is no getting away from that. It can be hard work and relentless at times, but it is so worth it”.

As for Jo, she would not trade it for any other job: “Ten years ago I would never have pictured myself as a maths teacher but now, I wouldn’t change it for the world”.

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Bloomsbury CPD Library - Marking and Feedback Book - First Review

So, my first book review for the second book is here.  And you know what... it is pretty darn good! 9.7 out of 10.. I'll have that!

This is the first of the Bloomsbury CPD Library.  My book on marking and feedback and is available now.    The first half of the book runs through the key ideas and thinking around the topic of making and feedback and aims to be an aid to train yourself in the area of marking and feedback.  The second half outlines a number of ideas about how best to train others.  This book is great for an individual teacher trying to improve their practice in marking and feedback, a Head of Department who wants to train their team, someone training a wider group of teachers and leaders on the topic of making and feedback or a CPD lead in any school.

And don't forget, there are pick up and use CPD session s in the second half that have free, editable electronic resources to use in your training session.

The website of the whole series is underway and will have even more free goodies for all who buy the book so watch this space...



"Designing a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme can be daunting. Whether you are looking to better your own practice or coach your colleagues, it can be hard to know where to start. But don’t worry; the Bloomsbury CPD Library is here to help! Divided into two unique sections, Teach Yourself and Train Others, this book is perfect for individual teachers, middle leaders, and those looking to introduce whole-school CPD training programmes.
The first book, Marking and Feedbackfocuses on a crucial part of every teachers’ daily routine, but is also a core focus area for CPD, which is closely assessed by Ofsted. This book will help you to examine what level you are currently attaining, highlighting your strengths and weaknesses, and will enable you to assess specific areas where you could improve your practice.
It begins with an overview of the main marking and feedback approaches so that you can really get to grips with the theory behind different methods, before moving on to practical ideas that you can use in the classroom. In addition to these short-term strategies, the book contains suggested evaluation techniques and questionnaires to support long-term development and progression of practice.

What we think?
Marking and feedback are integral parts of what it means to be a teacher. Our students cannot develop without the guiding hand of a teacher, and this should not be taken lightly by any professional. Even those of us who have been marking and offering feedback during our careers, can learn something from other to develop and improve what we offer our student. The face of marking and feedback will look different from school to school, from phase to phase, from country to country, but what Sarah Findlater offers in this book is a valuable reminder and insight into ways to ensure that students are offered valued feedback, without necessarily eating up all your time at school or at home.
Sarah offers gems of advice supporting you to put ideas into action, exploring the types of marking and feedback, as well as fantastic chapter ‘takeaways’, which are a valuable snappy reminders and tips of improving marking. This is not done solely on an individual basis, but the book progresses to offer colleagues reflective training about their marking behaviours, with great ideas for staff training and development.
You know that we don’t like to mention the inspectors (they get too much undue attention 😁), as we think the marking should be done for the pupils, and not to impress the school managers or inspectors, and the long term plan should be developed in school (with reference to this book) will certainly help you make strides in ensuring that it is the pupils who benefit the most from your marking and feedback."