Finding your way with Questioning: A practical approach for getting better at questioning

Within the pages of every teenage girls’ magazine you'll find a flow chart quiz which, if taken, will allow you to work out what your ideal pet/ band/ TV Soap character/ boyfriend would be. As a younger teenage girl who had laid her hands on a contraband 'Just 17', I would avidly pour over the … Continue reading Finding your way with Questioning: A practical approach for getting better at questioning

‘Singing from the same hymn-sheet’: school-based mentors’ partnership with university ITE/ITT subject tutors

You can read a recent research paper I've co-authored via this hyperlink: Crooks, V., London, L. and Snelson, H. (2021) ’Singing from the same hymn-sheet’: Exploring school-based mentors’ perceptions of the role of HEI subject tutors in ITE partnerships’, TEAN journal, 13(1), pp.3-16. Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on Pexels.com

Showstopper Lessons: What Beginning Teachers and their Mentors can learn from GBBO.

Photo by Vojtech Okenka on Pexels.com I love baking and all things cake.  So, having recently written about what mentors might learn from Strictly, I now turn my attention to what beginning/ early career teachers and their mentors might learn from Bake Off and the nature of the three baking challenges included in each episode.  … Continue reading Showstopper Lessons: What Beginning Teachers and their Mentors can learn from GBBO.

Strictly Come Teaching: Giving feedback to novices

Photo by Marko Zirdum on Pexels.com Watching Strictly Come Dancing this past weekend I was struck by the way the judges gave feedback to the contestants in week 1 of the competition.  Unsurprisingly my mind turned to the beginning teachers just starting out on their own journey from novice to competent over the course of … Continue reading Strictly Come Teaching: Giving feedback to novices

Setting ‘Cover’: How to plan effective cover work

Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com Many years ago, as an NQT, I ended up with a regular cover period on my timetable.  Every Thursday morning I would tentatively approach the cover list pinned to the staffroom notice board.  Most weeks I would discover that my period 5 would be spent with the Year 8 … Continue reading Setting ‘Cover’: How to plan effective cover work

Education NOT Training: The uncomfortable truth about effective initial teacher education

Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com Periodically social media is liberally sprinkled with negativity about ‘teacher training'. This isn't the kind of negativity about teaching that prompted the 'Those who can, teach’ campaign in 2000, rather this is negativity about the training itself.   For those considering embarking on teacher training who stumble across these posts, … Continue reading Education NOT Training: The uncomfortable truth about effective initial teacher education

Turning on the head of a pin: Why developing agency in beginning teachers matters

Photo by Ekrulila on Pexels.com If the pandemic period has convinced me of anything it is that developing professionals with agency is vital for society.  The ability to imagine an alternative to what is already known and practised, and to find a way of enacting that imagining, has been part of our daily experience over … Continue reading Turning on the head of a pin: Why developing agency in beginning teachers matters

Perfectionism and the honourable art of being good enough

Not that long ago, to my shame, I found that 15 minutes had passed as I scoured the web for the ‘perfect’ picture of an iceberg to illustrate a point about bilingualism in the classroom. Why did I do this? Did I imagine that my adult audience would struggle with the concept of an iceberg? … Continue reading Perfectionism and the honourable art of being good enough

Supporting the teaching of the legacies of slavery

This is a slightly unusual blog in that I am not sharing my own thoughts but rather celebrating the work of my colleagues from UoN History and seeking to point people towards a valuable new teaching resource developed for use by teachers and schools wanting to teach the history of enslavement and race more effectively. … Continue reading Supporting the teaching of the legacies of slavery

What a wonderful world: teaching Humanities

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com My first teaching post was as a ‘Humanities’ NQT. Having studied some Theology during my degree, I was excited to teach KS3 RE alongside KS3 and KS4 history. I was less than thrilled that I would also have to teach KS3 geography; having given up geography aged 14, I … Continue reading What a wonderful world: teaching Humanities

Teflon Tina: How to support a beginning teacher struggling to act on advice

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com During her first placement Tina proved to be a good teacher in the making. She has sound ideas about what she wants to achieve in the classroom, is organised and a great team player. She was quick out of the blocks at the start of the course and really … Continue reading Teflon Tina: How to support a beginning teacher struggling to act on advice

‘I predict a riot!’ Supporting your mentee to notice and deal with low level disruption

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com Low level disruption in the classroom is the scourge of teaching and learning.  It eats up time and energy and takes away learning opportunities from the wider class.  It is also something which teachers can learn to address and develop strategies for managing in the classroom.  There is an enormous … Continue reading ‘I predict a riot!’ Supporting your mentee to notice and deal with low level disruption

I don’t like Mondays: Advice for beginning teachers on making a positive return to post-lockdown teaching

Photo by Max Fischer on Pexels.com As we stand on the precipice of returning to full classroom teaching after the most recent lockdown I’ve begun wondering how our beginning and early career teachers might be feeling.  It seems I’m not alone in this thought.  Indeed, shortly after having conversation with one of my own PGCE … Continue reading I don’t like Mondays: Advice for beginning teachers on making a positive return to post-lockdown teaching

Writing job references for beginning teachers: Recommending Rahul, the Pandemic Edit

It is a tricky job writing a reference for a beginning teacher who may then be compared with more experienced colleagues, but where to begin in the middle of a Pandemic when their initial teacher education year has been so disrupted and unusual?  I first wrote a blog about writing references for trainee teachers in … Continue reading Writing job references for beginning teachers: Recommending Rahul, the Pandemic Edit

An Ode to our History ITE Mentors: A journey into training to be a teacher virtually, Part 3

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com The pandemic has demonstrated the strength and versatility of cooperation and collaboration in our ITE partnership.  This has been shown through the support and flexibility of our school partners joining with us to train beginning teachers, and through the ways in which the University PGCE has worked to develop … Continue reading An Ode to our History ITE Mentors: A journey into training to be a teacher virtually, Part 3

Bamboozled by remote learning apps? Making sense of different online learning tools

This week on the University of Nottingham ITE programmes our beginning teachers have been looking at how we can teach effective lessons in a remote learning context. As part of this work they were tasked with exploring a range of different online learning tools which could be used in their teaching. Erin Brady, one of … Continue reading Bamboozled by remote learning apps? Making sense of different online learning tools

Finding your feet with remote (and online) teaching

Helping early career teachers and training teachers to move their lessons into a virtual space Photo by Yan on Pexels.com This week I was contacted by a former tutee who is an early career teacher.  They asked if I could talk with them about the challenges they are facing moving to a live online classroom.  … Continue reading Finding your feet with remote (and online) teaching

From classroom to computer: Equipping training teachers to teach online

by Victoria Crooks and Sally Burnham Photo by Julia M Cameron on Pexels.com This year has been full of technological and pedagogical challenges, not least the speed with which teachers have had to transition to providing remote learning for their pupils.  When schools closed in March 2020 it was all so new to us – … Continue reading From classroom to computer: Equipping training teachers to teach online

Lessons in resilience for early career teachers

Photo by Vlad Cheu021ban on Pexels.com “Why aren’t they just able to cope? They need to be more resilient.” UK National lockdown in March 2020 threw all of us into a land of unknowns.  In education, carefully crafted spiralling curricula was suddenly disrupted and at every level new ways had to be found to fulfil … Continue reading Lessons in resilience for early career teachers

Discovering Lego: Growing as an early career teacher

During the SHP Virtual Conference in July, I got into a Twitter conversation with a beginning teacher who, following Christine Counsell’s presentation on ‘The what, why and how of broadening historical content at KS3’, commented that he felt like a teaching toddler:   This feeling of not having done enough or learnt enough or not … Continue reading Discovering Lego: Growing as an early career teacher

From caveman to concepts: Making history count in the primary classroom

Back in March I wrote this blog for the UoN Primary Team's excellent Blog considering six ideas for developing primary history, along with some practical strategies. I now reproduce it here in case it is helpful to a wider audience. “Mum you’ll never guess what happened today!” These words we’re delivered by my 7-year-old with … Continue reading From caveman to concepts: Making history count in the primary classroom

Why bother mentoring a beginning teacher? What’s in it for me?

I remember the moment I was first asked to be a NQT mentor. The news was delivered as a fait accompli, and my heart sank. It wasn't that I didn't want to do it, I did, but I had just gained my first middle leader promotion and was in the middle of a MA. I … Continue reading Why bother mentoring a beginning teacher? What’s in it for me?

Supporting your new NQT colleague to THRIVE amidst a global pandemic

Around this time last year I wrote about how beginning teachers could make the most of their final weeks as PGCE students in the classroom.  This year, they do not have classrooms, they only have the virtual PGCE programme to prepare them for NQT in the absence of critical practical experience.  I asserted previously that … Continue reading Supporting your new NQT colleague to THRIVE amidst a global pandemic

Embracing the space: A journey into training to be a teacher virtually

Photo by Ingo Joseph on Pexels.com Before I begin this blog it is important to establish that I am utterly convinced of the importance of partnership in Initial Teacher Education.  Training teachers ‘outside’ the classroom environment in a purely theoretical realm is just not possible; theoretical knowledge cannot be easily interpreted by teachers into effective … Continue reading Embracing the space: A journey into training to be a teacher virtually

Virtual Interviews: How to manage an online teaching interview

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com In my admissions tutor role I occasionally undertake interviews via video-call.  Those of us tasked with this job agree that, whilst video-calling is an incredible C21st development, it in no way replaces the valuable, nuanced interaction of a face to face interview.  In teaching, where interpersonal skills and classroom … Continue reading Virtual Interviews: How to manage an online teaching interview

Moving beyond delivery: The thorny issue of competency

Photo by Ivan Bertolazzi on Pexels.com It is at around this point in the ITT year when many training teachers begin to get into their stride.  They are no longer complete novices; they have built a familiarity with their placement setting and its rules and procedures, they are understanding how to fit into the departmental … Continue reading Moving beyond delivery: The thorny issue of competency

The Many Faces of Lesson Planning: Part 1 of 2

Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Pexels.com One of the best lessons I taught as a history teacher was conceived as I wrestled with the plan whilst walking down the corridor to the lesson.  In that moment, I realised that my sense of unease meant I needed to re-orientate my historical enquiry question and, therefore, utilise … Continue reading The Many Faces of Lesson Planning: Part 1 of 2

A shape-sorter understanding: Why mentees find changing teaching placements so hard

We're approaching that time in the ITE year when our students prepare to move to a new school setting for their second teaching practice. Having just settled into their placement school, having just found their feet as beginning teachers, we uproot them and transplant them into a brand new context, with different children, staff team, … Continue reading A shape-sorter understanding: Why mentees find changing teaching placements so hard