I really don’t think I have ever enjoyed an INSET day. Often the victim of generic, whole school “training” which is just an elaborate “I’m assistant head in charge of this area, so here’s all the work you need to do for me”. I’m sure people are well meaning, but wasting my time does not make you my favourite bunny.
And so “Battle Hymn of The Tiger Teachers” came in to my life unannounced. Someone had suggested to me ‘Michaela Marking’ as they knew whole class feedback was where my thoughts at the time were heading. Any excuse I can find to buy a book is open license to me, much to the bane of my wife. So I bought the book and “BOOM!” – that was me ruined to ever teach ‘progressively/ divergently/ constructively’ again. The good news is this set a series of events in motion that has led me to begin in September at what has been dubbed “Michaela in the Midlands”. Finally I get to do what I believe in and have found my tribe.
Definitely not generic, whole staff rubbish as I have mentioned previously. And while at it, my pet peave, ‘Teacher Tips’. Friday morning, during staff briefing, after notices. That 5 minutes that no-one is paying attention to and is thinking, “can I just get to my form room before the bell goes?”. And it’s usually the current champion of the “hero teachers arms race” chomping at the bit. My personal opinion…if it’s that good we should all be doing it, so roll it out whole school. No more “I’m ace, and you’re not”, normally by teachers who don’t have kids.
- Weekly department meetings to co-plan curriculum, lesson content and method of delivery/instruction. In this crazy world where teaching as a non-specialist in a subject (when/where did we let that creep up from?) no longer causes anyone to bat an eyelid, this becomes paramount. This needs to be in directed time, not extra time. One school I know of worked their time so that they could send their kids home at 1.45pm on a Friday and give Friday afternoons over to department planning.
- Weekly seminars – pre-reading on the stuff that really works. Teach Like a Champion is a good place to start. And if you’ve got a keenie reader of education blogs like me then I’m sure that person can suggest a few good reads. Let people read and discuss, not be talked to for an hour about how they are not logging behaviour correctly, etc etc.
- Induction- pre-reading, I love more homework. I am Monica. 🙂
- INSET days – Back where we started. Time for subject teams to meet AND TO TALK ABOUT CURRICULUM, LESSONS & FEEDBACK only. Plus time for prepping resources, photocopying etc.
So I’m not sure what happens with the whole copyright thing. This is my first blog and it’s my reflections on the wonderful book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Teachers edited by Katharine Birbalsingh. Buy it, read it, do it. 🙂