The Creative Teacher Project

An NQT Bringing Creativity to the Classroom


Leave a comment

Summer 2016

Creative Teacher Project on Holiday

The six week break in the middle of the year is a pretty sweet perk of being a teacher. I’ve just spent two weeks in Portugal, several days of which were sitting in the very deckchairs you see pictured here. It was awesome.

It is to the chagrin of many of my fellow teachers that we are constantly teased by non-teaching friends about how easy we have it, and how many holidays we get. To them I say – we just happened to do 12 months of work in 10 months!

Plus, even though I might not be teaching, it’s not as if I haven’t been working. As I’m currently child-free and my husband works full time, and all of my friends are still at work, I found myself twiddling my thumbs on more than one occasion, until I felt the pull of work too strong to resist….

I want this coming year to be an improvement on my last. Every teacher I’ve spoken to assures me that I will never forget my first class, and of that I am certain – I was luckier than most in my very first class, they were truly delightful. But as a new teacher I made many mistakes, and I want to be a better version of myself this year for my new class.

So I am going against my nature and getting organised. I am a typical Virgo (even though I don’t believe in this stuff) but I thrive in an organised environment, and find mess stressful to be around. I have also classic Libra tendencies, and am attracted to balance…..a balance of stacks of paper teetering on the edge of my desk.

To tell you the truth I have been spending a lot of time this summer working on the systems I need to be seamlessly organised and efficient this year. I have told everyone within earshot that I am ‘turning over a new leaf’ in the hopes that the potential shame of not doing so will keep me on the straight and narrow.

I’ve seen many memes over the break about how teachers dread the return of the school year. While I can’t admit that I’m looking forward to the long hours again, I can’t deny that my overriding feelings towards the new school year are ones of excitement!

New year, new me!


Leave a comment

It’s Not Going to be Easy, It’s Going to be Worth It.

Truth-for-Teachers-LogoThese are the final words that Angela Watson, of the Truth for Teachers podcast, leaves her listeners with each week. A former teacher and now educational consultant, Watson has become widely known for her management ideas for teachers, and especially for her (totally amazing sounding) 40 Hour Work Week Club. Her podcast is fantastic, and that’s why I thought I would share it with you today.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good inspirational podcast as much as the next person, but I do find that many of them are just that – inspirational, and not that practical. Sometimes when you’re looking for advice, or need a kick up the backside to even get in the car to go to work on a Monday morning, you need concrete suggestions on how to make the work week a little easier. Truth for Teachers is just that.

I’ve had episodes that have given me 9 Classroom Organisational Tips for the New Year, and even 5 Ways to Turn a Worksheet into a Collaborative Critical Thinking Activity. If these titles don’t get your teacher-nerd juices flowing, then I’m sorry to say, nothing will! It just happens to be incredibly handy that she posts a new episode each Monday morning, at peak “New week new me” time.

I encourage you all to go and have a listen, and maybe even a trawl through the archives to see if there’s anything that can help your particular situation.

We all know that teaching isn’t easy, but it’s podcasts like Angela Watson’s Truth for Teachers that remind us that it’s absolutely worth it.

 

 

*This is an independent post and in no way affiliated with Truth for Teachers. I just love the darn podcast

 


2 Comments

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?


Leave a comment

Classroom Expectations

I’m all for setting up a positive learning environment. Not only does it help the students to feel safe and prepared for getting outside their comfort zones, it also helps me to enjoy the teaching process much more.

I’m going into the 2015/16 Academic year with just four rules or expectations I have of my students’ behaviour.

Classroom Expectations - The Creative Teacher Project

Now, in keeping with these rules, I confess I can’t take total responsibility for these – I saw them on Mrs Wilson’s Frog-Tastic Website! She’s a very experienced Year 4 teacher from the US, who has posted loads of resources that I’ve found helpful in planning this year.

What I particularly liked about these expectations is that they’re so easily linked to, when behavioural or other issues inevitably crop up. Forgot to tuck in your chair and someone tripped? Number 2 and 4 – be safe and take responsibility. Chatting while I’m giving instructions? Remember number 1 – Be respectful!

These expectations aren’t just for my students. They’re for me as well, and I hope my students hold me accountable! I always strive to treat my students with respect and ensure their safety. I take responsibility by planning my lessons thoroughly and that in itself is hard work!

We shall see how these take shape over the coming year. I’ll report back and let you know. Do you have any classroom or home expectations that you’ve discussed with kids? I’d love to know about it in the comments if so!


1 Comment

5 Things University Doesn’t Tell You About Your Final Prac

5 things

Hey guys. So I missed my weekly round-up for weeks 3 & 4 of my prac, and so instead of delving deep into the past I thought I would do a list instead of some of the things I have learnt so far. These would have been great to know a few months ago!

1) You need to cancel your life

Teaching is really tiring. Like, the most tiring thing you’ve ever done (assuming you have no kids). You’re constantly answering questions, reminding students not to call out, putting on your best ‘teacher voice’ for your mentor teacher and planning a week’s worth of lessons for students you hardly know. On top of that, you have more work to do when you get home. Cut yourself some slack, and clear your diary for the next seven weeks. Your friends will totally understand, and that way you can avoid being a total flake when you wake up realising there is no way in God’s green earth you can face getting out of bed today. You can thank me later.

2) You will feel like a total fraud – and that’s ok

Believe it or not, you’re kind of supposed to feel like a fish out of water. Practicum isn’t just about impressing your supervisor and getting a great mark, let alone practicing teaching. It’s a sink or swim test. You’re in totally new circumstances, with kids who aren’t really even your students, with other staff members who can be either totally lovely or kind of cold, and you have to somehow work out how to do this. It’s ok to cry after your IT induction, I promise. If teaching is for you, you’ll get into the classroom and it will feel like home. All the other stuff, the planning and the remembering of a million names, will come.

3) Students misbehave for real teachers too

Being employed in a school does not necessarily mean students cease to muck around (I mean this with a lot of love, of course!). Classroom management strategies are amazing, but at the same time, feel free to chuck them out the window if thinking about constantly incorporating them is causing you heaps of stress. What you need to focus on here is surviving. These kids don’t know you, and they may have had a prac teacher earlier in the year too. They’re tired and they don’t always want to invest in someone who won’t be there next year. Don’t take it personally, but do try and get through each lesson calmly. You will come good eventually!

4) Teaching is just like every other job

Staff politics? Check. Difficult personalities? Check. Kooky and wonderful colleagues? Check. Unreasonable expectations? Check. Loads of boring paperwork? Check. Teachers are not magical fairy beings, they’re real people (believe it or not) and the same issues come up in a school staffroom that come up in every staffroom in every industry in every country. Be prepared for it to feel surprisingly familiar…

5) Teaching is unlike any other job

See what I did there? Yep, teaching is ‘hella awesome’ (to use the technical term) and it is different to almost any other industry I have had the pleasure to work in. University doesn’t prepare you for that. It sure as hell doesn’t prepare you for standing in the wings on Variety Night, watching your gorgeous year 7 girls absolutely smash their Grease Tribute Act. No one tells you to prepare for your heart to swell with pride for girls you hardly know, and for you to feel that same rush of adrenaline for their performance, that you once felt for your own. Being a part of children’s lives is a huge privilege, one that I have been reminded of each time a student has said ‘Hi Ms Froudist’ as I’ve walked by. It’s pretty darn great.

I’d love to hear about your prac experience, whether you’re a seasoned teacher or a newbie like me! Did you enjoy yourself? Was teaching in the real world totally different to your practicum? Let me know in the comments if you can.


Leave a comment

Congruent Communication with Haim Ginott

I’m currently writing my classroom management philosophy for a university assignment, and discovered this gem. Don’t believe people when they say developmental psychologists aren’t funny – it might only happy once in your life so better be prepared! I love Ginott’s theories, and it’s nice to see them in a lighthearted context. Managing misbehaviour doesn’t have to be so serious all the time! “I am feeling acrimonious!” Ha!

Catch a glimpse of a young Barbara Walters too. Nice hair Babs.