From A to B to Back Again…

It’s been a while since my last post and plenty has happened over the past couple of months or so. For starters, I got a job! I’m excited and no less relieved to have secured a full time position for my NQT year at my ‘A’ placement training school and looking forward to continuing to develop my teaching practice with a great team.a to b

Secondly and no less significantly I have spent the last 6 weeks or so at my ‘B’ placement school teaching new classes with new teachers and a bunch of new systems. It’s fair to say that many of us trainees were more than a little nervous, apprehensive, skeptical even about the idea of leaving the schools we had spent the formative weeks of our training with to relearn everything afresh with a bunch of people we didn’t know. For my part I was happy to approach the time with an open mind and ready to try out new ideas and different approaches that I maybe hadn’t thought about before. I was also interested to see and learn from different teachers with different ways of working and different styles of lesson delivery.

It was never my intention to compare my 2 placement schools with each other and I certainly don’t plan to share that in am open forum. However, it would be safe to say that many of the expectations I had before arriving at my “B” were confirmed. Yes it was different, yes it was new, yes it was all very odd at first and I wasn’t sure I wanted to be there. There were new classrooms, new teachers, new resources, new systems and policies and most annoyingly, new kids to get to know. And in that first week or so I questioned on several occasions what I was actually learning by being there. However, as my time comes to a sudden and all too rapid end I can reflect on how, yet again our tutors knew best and it has in fact been an enjoyable, informative, useful and (at times) frustrating  experience after all.

I will now spend the last few days of my placement pulling together all of the ‘evidence’ for our next monitoring point whilst simultaneously doing revision and test lessons across the board. At the same time I am looking forward to going back to ‘A’ placement, and a 4day week…at least for the time being. Back to the familiarity of what I have been used to for my first term and half. I’m just wondering if it will still be the same as when I left it.

Andrew HeinrichUnknown

Meeting Teachers

Last week I had my first opportunity to both attend and present at a Teachmeet event. For those of you outside the education sector I shall endeavour to explain the idea. Teachers and trainees may want to skip to section 2.

Teachmeets began around 2006 in Scotland as a way for teachers and educators to get together and ‘share good practice’ Over the last 10 years they have grown and are now held regularly around the world and vary in size and stature from small local events to international conferences attracting renowned key-note speakers.

As part of our training there is an expectation that we present at least once during the year and having missed the last event in the autumn I was persuaded to put together a presentation this time around. Having been to numerous industry conferences in my former life and spending many an hour listening to less than interesting talks I must admit to being a touch skeptical about the impact and usefulness of Teachmeets as a concept. However I can categorically say from the outset that they are invaluable, engaging and time well spent.

I was asked to speak about using problem-solving in lessons to bring subjects such as science to life having used just such a concept in an observation lesson earlier in the term. I decided to adapt this slightly to talk about getting students to take risks and develop their investigative skills through problem solving tasks and using their creativity to help them understand concepts and ideas. I discussed the idea that in the early stages of a science education at least the process of learning and trying out ideas is way more important than the product or the end result. Getting the right answer is not always about getting the right result. I was also able to share some of the creative ways that my students has chosen to ‘write-up’ their experiments through modelling, video and song. Not perfect science but perfect process.

One of the most popular things at Teachmeets is the use of Twitter to provide a running commentary not only to those unable to be there but also to participants and the audience in the room at the event. Here are a selection of the tweets that my talk generated.

Andrew Heinrich