Saturday, September 6, 2014

What I love most about teaching


I love teaching.
I love teaching even when outside influences do everything possible to make it the most difficult and time consuming job in the world.
I love teaching because I make a positive difference in the lives of the children I teach.
I love teaching because there is nothing quite like it, every day brings new surprises.
I love teaching because every class is different, made up of individual personalities that fill you with laughter and joy.
I love teaching because I get to share those moments when learning has clicked.
I love teaching because I find it challenging and rewarding.
I love teaching.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

How do we improve our teaching?


It seems that now, more than ever, every facet of teaching and learning has come under the microscope that forms every teacher's Performance Management. I have my own PM coming up later this month which will examine my performance during the 2013-2014 academic year. The discussion will examine in great detail the targets that were set last year and ascertain whether or not these have been achieved using evidence that I have gathered. Afterwards a new set of targets for this academic year will be set and the PM process will continue. I can safely say it does not improve my teaching.

What helps to improve my teaching is my own analysis of how effective my teaching is. I manage this by reviewing lessons I have taught and checking through work produced by children in my class, I read over notes I have taken during the day and adapt my next day's planning if required. I look for gaps in my teaching that may have left children behind in their learning and ensure that in the next lesson these gaps are filled and their learning is more successful. Research and strong evidence of good practice also helps build a clearer picture and develop my teaching. It might seem like common sense but with the fast paced teaching and learning classrooms that outside influences have helped to create, teachers find themselves with less opportunities to reflect on their teaching and improve it.

It's only by looking closely and focusing on the details that my teaching will improve. How do you improve yours?


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Google Classroom - what I'm hoping to achieve


In case you've missed it, Google Classroom is now open to all Google Apps for Education domains. I am aiming to have it set up and ready to be used by two classes this term and also with my Coding Club. There are many blog posts already written about setting up Google Classroom so I'm not going to go into that, what I do want to look at is whether or not it will be an effective tool for teachers and students. 

Teachers
Classroom is designed to help teachers create and assign work for students that are part of their Classroom. Drive folders are automatically created for every student which keeps work in an easy to find order. Teachers can also see who has started work and who is yet to begin. Along with the collaborative power that Drive gives users, Classroom becomes an incredibly useful addition to the Google Apps experience. As it is rolled out to teachers in my school I will ask them to complete a Form to provide feedback about what they find useful and what might need to be changed. Google is listening to teachers using this tool so the more real world feedback they receive the better the product will ultimately become.

Students
I don't want Classroom to become another place for students to find even more work to complete so work assigned by teachers should not be replicated on paper elsewhere nor be in addition to paper based work. Classroom should become a place where collaborative learning can take place outside of school, where children using Classroom can work together on activities that they learned during school and want to improve on whilst at home. I'm hoping I can convince the teachers using it that this could be a better way of using it and could open up our Peer Tutoring program even further.