I thought, having a bit of spare time this evening, I might post about my first week of the new term and how some of the things I have talked about over the summer have been going. Or not going.
1) Reflection time and reflective journal – Not for the students, but for me! I have to say this has had a MASSIVE impact so far. Each day when I have thought about my day on the way home and written them down, I have been prompted immediately with things to do better/more effectively tomorrow. Not only that, but I feel I have more purpose, not only in lessons, but also in my non-contact time. And when I haven’t completed it, I’ve found a bit of a difference. I think the reason for this is that taking a step back and reflecting on things helps you to get out of the ‘daily grind’ of teaching. Which, after a full teaching day today for the first time, let me tell you, can be very easy to fall into! If I could make one recommendation, keeping a reflective journal would be it. I wish I’d done it years ago.
2) Switching off from the world – I wrote about this in my blog here, and I have to say it’s still going pretty well. I’m not running away from news, and in my down time I will still browse news sites, but unlike before, I’m not spending ages scrolling repeatedly and pointlessly looking for the latest micro-development. And, believe it or not, I don’t feel any poorer for it.
3) Teaching/- I don’t know why, but I have started this term taking a few more risks and doing activities I haven’t really done before. Already students have used their planners as mini whiteboards, and yesterday and today I used Diagnostic Questions with a couple of my classes. Things have changed so dramatically that I have even….wait for it…..CREATED SOME RESOURCES OF MY OWN TO SHARE!!! I spent a few minutes at the weekend creating a set of 10 Diagnostic Questions for the website of the same name and tonight, looking for a homework for my year 8s and being inspired by the PRET homeworks which can be found at http://www.resourceaholic.com/p/homework.html, I decided to create and submit my own (well, I used existing formatting – one step at a time – but it’s a start).
Of course, it’s never a case of having teaching ‘figured out’, and already there are challenges in the classroom this year. I guess for all the planning you do over the summer, the proof is only really ever in lessons. Some things work, some don’t. But I am encouraged by the start I’ve made (and, to be fair, most of my students have made – in particular my year 11s, who have been FAB so far) and I think I’ve managed to set homework for all of my classes thus far!
I have another post planned about a pedagogical issue which regularly gets under my skin, but that can wait for a while…..