It’s that time of year again, Christmas is a good time to reflect on the year that has gone by and to think about the one ahead. When I look back at the 14 hopes for this year from #nurture1314 I am pretty pleased with how things turned out. I had reviewed them at the end of the summer term here. I did most of the things that I said I wanted to do, some of the others are still a work in progress. I think knitting is the only one that fell by the wayside. Overall, last year was a very good year.
Choosing just 5 highlights from 2014 has been quite difficult, but here they are.
1. Marking and feedback.
Last year I wanted to improve my marking and feedback. I signed up to #twittercoaching arranged by @ASTsupportAAli and @FurtherEdagogy. I was paired with Karen @KDWScience and we worked together throughout the whole of the school year. I have to say that this is one of the best things I have ever done. I am often guilty of having ideas and then not acting on them. However, #twittercoaching made me a bit more organised about what I was doing. Karen encouraged me to think about what I wanted to achieve, how I was going to do it and how I’d know if I’d been successful. I started slowly – trialling ideas with one class at first and then when I found things that had worked, I tried them with other classes. I’ve used a combination of ideas and the ones that I have found to be the most effective for my classes are exit tickets and DIRT (Dedicated Improvement and Reflection Time). The exit tickets have been useful for me to see who has understood, who needs support and who needs to be extended. DIRT has given students the chance to reflect on my feedback and to respond it, making changes and improving their work. I’ve shared lots of the ideas with my department and other teachers are finding them useful too. Most importantly for me, the amount of time I spend marking has reduced – but both the students and myself get more out of it.
I became a Registered Scientist in July. Filling in the application form involved reflecting on what I’d achieved. I realised that I’d done quite a lot and it made me realise that I was ready for more responsibility. I’m sure it was a major factor in my decision to apply for Second in Department.
This year I did make it to more Teachmeets and I presented at two of them. Speaking in front of my peers is something that I find terrifying, but I’m glad that I did it. I spoke about my experience with Twittercoaching at one and about the creative use of exam questions at the other. I enjoy sharing examples from my classroom with others and it is always nice when people are so encouraging about what you have shared.
We actually had one! For various reasons we have not always had a family holiday, this year we were determined that we would. Our kids were desperate to go on an aeroplane and we decided that we’d go to Iceland. Initially this was met with surprise and concern from other family members who couldn’t understand why we would want to do this when we could go to Spain for a week like everyone else. I’m glad that we didn’t listen. We had an amazing holiday. The kids loved it. They saw whales, geysers and waterfalls. We walked in the gap between the tectonic plates of Eurasia and North America and we swam in the geothermal waters of the Blue Lagoon. My husband and I are heading back to Iceland for a few days to hopefully see the Northern Lights (40th birthday treat). We are also busy planning next years adventure.
5. New job!
A year ago this wouldn’t have occurred to me as something that I would be writing. This year the opportunity to apply for Second in Science in my current department came up. I love the school that I work in and my department is fantastic. I really, really wanted the job. I wasn’t the only person who applied – two other teachers who would also do a fantastic job went for it too. I was very nervous, but apparently interviewed very well and I was delighted that they appointed me. I am very grateful to @hrogerson, @jk_graves and @rondelle10_b for their help with possible interview questions.
5 hopes for 2015.
1. New job.
I have lots of ideas and I want to do a good job. I’m sure that I have a lot to learn but I am looking forward to the challenge.
Speaking at Teachmeets has given me a lot of confidence that the ideas/good practice in my classroom are worth sharing. I want to continue to do this, I would also be interested in setting one up at my own school.
I want to continue to make sure that there is a work/life balance. Although I often do school work on my ‘day-off’ this has meant that I’ve had the weekends free to spend time with my family (when they are off too). I’ve loved being able to go into school to watch my son in his assembly (even if he just pulls faces) and it was a real treat to go and have Christmas dinner with my youngest at the end of term. A better work/life balance has made me a better teacher and hopefully a better mum/wife/friend too.
4. Enquiry and new resources.
I want to continue to develop new resources to use in class. I love that students in my class say “miss, you are so creative”. I love trying out new ideas and improving on ones that I’ve used before. One of the courses that I attended last year was on teaching enquiry using mysteries. I have enjoyed using mysteries in my lessons and getting students to take more responsbility for exploring and finding out things for themselves. I’ll be looking at increasing the opportunities for this in my lessons this year.
So many of the ideas that I use in class have come from twitter. I find it hard to imagine what I’d be like as a teacher without all the help and advice that I’ve received. I want to continue to connect with other teachers and to share ideas.
Thank you for reading.