It has been far too long since my last post. Since May, a lot has changed in my professional life. Having completed my NQT year in Year 4/5 (which seems like a lifetime ago!), I have moved to Year 6, which at first was a daunting prospect but has in fact proved to be a fantastic learning opportunity for me.
Reflection, analysis and evaluation are processes that I go through every day as a teacher; they are crucial aspects of my practice. However, since September I have not been able to find the time to blog. Between planning, teaching and assessing Year 6 and getting to grips with my new role as ICT coordinator (more posts to follow) there has been very little time this term! This isn’t necessarily an issue, though the process of blogging, sharing and receiving feedback is something that I think can really heighten and deepen the process of reflection.
Therefore, in this post I am going to briefly consider some of the key things I have learnt since being in Year 6 and how I think this has impacted the children that I teach. I hope to continue this ‘learning journey’ throughout the year in order to provide me with a ‘history’ of how the year developed. As it has been a while, this post may not have the flow and technical accuracy that, perhaps, it should!
Having discussed reflection briefly with Bill Lord on twitter earlier, I have chosen to simply bullet point my thoughts for now, as sometimes this can be more effective than writing page upon page. At some point I hope to elaborate on these points in more detail, with more specific links to impact, but for now they have just helped me contemplate my journey so far this year.
What have I learnt so far?
That it’s hard to not feel the pressures of data and assessment.
That it’s not all about SATS.
That it’s not all down to you. As a Year 6 teacher, I am only part of the whole learning journey of the children I teach.
That it’s important to be realistic. It is healthy and positive to strive for the best but I’m not superman!
That at the end of the day it’s all about the children, which is crucial to remember!
The reason I became a teacher was to spark children’s curiosity; to support young people in developing a passion for learning; to enthuse, engage and empower children in their education; to make a difference. It is important to stick to your own philosophy of education, no matter how many different priorities you may face.
What skills have I developed/practised?
Levelling work (especially writing).
Collaborative learning skills (with children and adults). I have tried to include the children in shaping their learning journey in Year 6 as much as possible. This included a ‘planning’ session when the children were at the end of Year 5 during which my partner teacher (@zgartland) and I invited the children to tell us what they wanted to learn and how they wanted to learn it. My target for next term and the rest of the year is to involve the children more closely in this process by handing control over learning to the individuals. Claire Lotriet’s post here is a great example of this.
Targeting specific areas for development (in children’s work and my own practice).
Evidence collection (especially in reading). My partner teacher and I have been on a big journey this term in relation to effective and efficient evidence collection in reading. I will post about what we have decided in the next week.
Elaborating, refining, acting on and evaluating ideas. Ideas are not always successful but the proces of idea generation and application is incredibly important if we are to innovate. This term my partner teacher and I have constantly been dreaming up new ideas (big and small) and contemplating the potential benefites before putting them into place and evaluating the impact. This is a great process for us as staff and has been great for the children to be a part of. We have modelled ‘having a go’ and ‘trying something new’ whilst at the same time making it clear to children why and how our ideas are going to be evaulated. Some have worked well, others have not. ‘Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.’ (Beckett)
Communication for a range of purposes.
Effective and respectful team work with a diverse range of people.
Effective and efficient team teaching. My partner teacher and I are lucky to have class sizes of around 20 so we have been able to make the most of team teaching. This has had many benefits, especially in terms of personalising learning as it allows us to target and support individual children.
What targets do I have now for the rest of the year?
To develop and refine my use of effective questioning across the curriculum.
To involve and empower children more in their own learning journeys by giving them some control.
To remember that it’s not all about SATS.