The Creative Teacher Project

An NQT Bringing Creativity to the Classroom


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In Praise of: Systems

Marking - The Creative Teacher Project

I had an observation not too long ago, and some of the feedback I received was that I need better systems for keeping on top of my marking. I like to think (in fact I hope and pray) that I am not alone here! Sometimes the hardest thing about feedback is it has the tendency to be absolute spot on. #Ouch.

As we headed into the last few weeks of term, I was determined to make some changes if only to make my own life easier! My headteacher has often said that to be a teacher is to feel guilty – while true, it’s not a state I want to encourage!

So last week I made a commitment to myself, and therefore to my class that I would up the ante in the marking department, and I am happy to report that every single student had at least one developmental comment last week.

I used every darn moment I had spare to mark, but a moment spent at school is one I have free at home. Win/win.

Now that I’ve found a system I am determined to stick to it, and furthermore to find even more hot tips to help me have more time to¬†teach and more unadulterated time with my family.

Any suggestions?

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Monday Provocation #9 – Hey Girl

JT Success Criteria - The Creative Teacher Project

Okay, okay, I guess this isn’t technically a provocation for you to do your best teaching work, but it’s a laugh, and considering we’re all back to work (those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, at least!), I’m sure we could all do with a laugh and a couple of moments of staring into JT’s eyes.

You’re welcome.

 

Image credit.


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Te@cher Toolkit, by Ross Morrison McGill: First Thoughts

Teacher Toolkit - The Creative Teacher Project

Image credit to teacheretoolkit.me

I’ve worked out that at about week 3 of each term this year, I tend to have a little ‘I can’t do this, I’ve made a terrible decision’ freakout. I’m told it’s quite common. By week 4, I’m slowly recovering, and by week 5 I am feeling pretty amazing about this job of mine once again. With this being a 6 week term, the freakout forecast predicts a possible meltdown in week 2…..not good!

One of the things that gets me feeling good again in week 4, is going on a little Amazon binge (although I do try not to shop on Amazon for various reasons). I tend to find some good resources, and occasionally a little teacher help book. It was a few weeks ago now that I realised one of the teachers I follow on Twitter had written the above book.

I’m not going to lie – this baby was in my shopping basket the moment I read the strapline “Helping you survive your first five years”. This looks like the book I never knew I always needed.

Written by Ross Morrison McGill (the most followed teacher on Twitter), it seems to be a collection of general advice, mixed in with practical tips and suggestions of things that have worked for him. I find that I really enjoy his writing style, and his voice comes through strongly.

I’ve already got some ideas brewing about what strategies I might implement this term, and I’m sure they will become even clearer by the time I finish reading the whole book. I plan to report back once it’s finished, but so far – so good!

~

On another note – thanks for the great year guys, hope you see 2016 in with style!

Here’s to bigger and better teaching and learning in the New Year.


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Long Time No Blog

  
If there’s one thing I’m sure my fellow teachers will sympathise with, it’s not having enough time during the year to do things you wanted to. So I won’t apologize too much about letting this here blog lie fallow for so long. But I will apologize a bit. Sorry!

Im going to focus instead on the things I’m learning in this new career of mine that is Primary School Teaching. It’s a hoot, but I have genuinely never worked so hard in my life. Woof. It’s hard, relentless but luckily not a thankless job.

I’m learning heaps and so I thought It will be valuable to share some of those things with you. Here’s 5 Things I’m Learning About Being an NQT:

  • Year 4s have an endless supply of questions up their sleeves. You either need to have the same amount of answers up yours, or know when enough is a enough, question-wise.
  • Parents are more scared of you than you are of them. You do need to screw your courage every time you need to approach a parent with some feedback, but as long as you do it with some understanding of what they’re dealing with, more often than not the response is positive. Or at least doesn’t end in tears (yours).
  • You won’t get everything done all of the time. In fact you might not get enough done most of the time. As I type this (on my phone, waiting for the bus at 18:45 on a Monday night), my reading corner remains possibly the most boring  in the world, let alone the school. But it will have to wait because I need to prioritize other things right now, and I cannot work 24 hours a day.
  • Technology is the bees knees. I recently made a short film of a recent school trip to a museum. It took me an hour in iMovie, but my kids went beserk for it and I have a record of the day to share with parents. Win.
  • Sometimes you need to level up. In a recent incident at school, a lovely girl in my class has gotten into the habit of being untruthful. I had tried to deal with it several times in class without the desired effect, and in the end, I had to get my deputy head to give the student a talking to. Sometimes it’s ok to admit you can’t solve everything on your own.

I hope my experience resonates with some of you – please do get in touch and let me know some of the things you learnt as an NQT!