The elephant in the room: Why the subject specific training of beginning teachers matters

Photo by cottonbro studio on Pexels.com A number of years ago, I watched a lesson where the beginning teacher had been schooled in a set of systematised generic teaching strategies. They had diligently practised and tried to implement these strategies in their lessons, but they were struggling. They were also frustrated. They felt like no … Continue reading The elephant in the room: Why the subject specific training of beginning teachers matters

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Walking the walk, just not talking the talk: Developing teacher voice and classroom persona

Photo by Thirdman on Pexels.com Damien is a strong beginning teacher.  He is diligent and organised and has developed effective approaches to planning.  He can effectively ‘run a room’ and his classroom environment is calm.  Transitions between tasks are smooth, he forms positive relationships with pupils, and behaviour management is usually effective.  He fits well … Continue reading Walking the walk, just not talking the talk: Developing teacher voice and classroom persona

Unintentional Teachers: Looking beyond vocation to attract people into the teaching profession

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com I didn’t intend to become a teacher.  I knew I wanted a career which was, to my youthful judgement, ‘socially responsible’.  I knew I liked people, although I wasn’t 100% sure about young children.  For personal reasons I needed to stay living in my university town.  I also knew I … Continue reading Unintentional Teachers: Looking beyond vocation to attract people into the teaching profession

Self-care habits to help beginning teachers move from surviving to thriving

As a beginning teacher you hear about the necessity of self care A LOT.  It can, however, quickly become yet another thing on your ‘to do’ list and feel like a burden rather than an act to strengthen your well-being.  Mindfulness, exercise classes and sports clubs, religious worship, time with friends, hobbies and time for … Continue reading Self-care habits to help beginning teachers move from surviving to thriving

Pipped at the post: how to support beginning teachers struggling to get their first teaching job

Photo by Edmond Dantu00e8s on Pexels.com Every year I observe our beginning teachers applying for jobs, and every year it is hard to predict how the die will fall.  Invariably a few fortunate souls will get the first job for which they apply.  Equally, a few unfortunate beginning teachers will end up applying for quite … Continue reading Pipped at the post: how to support beginning teachers struggling to get their first teaching job

Seeking a Second Opinion: Feeling undermined by your ITT mentee

Photo by EKATERINA BOLOVTSOVA on Pexels.com The Mentor’s View Sonya is a new mentor. She has been shadowing a colleague in the role for the first time this academic year and has really enjoyed taking a more active role with the ITT student. She has appreciated how thinking like a mentor has sharpened her own … Continue reading Seeking a Second Opinion: Feeling undermined by your ITT mentee

What am I meant to be looking for?  Supporting beginning teachers to undertake effective observations of other teachers

Photo by B.Bailey on Pexels.com The vast majority of initial teacher training routes begin with time spent observing more experienced and ‘expert’ colleagues in the classroom.  The role that this observation plays in providing a ‘frame of reference’ for beginning teacher’s subsequent or concurrent practice is well established (Hagger, Burn, Mutton & Brindley, 2008, p.169).  … Continue reading What am I meant to be looking for?  Supporting beginning teachers to undertake effective observations of other teachers

A case for using historical fiction in the history classroom

  Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com I love history because I am nosy. I love people and studying the way they relate to one another.  My only other option is gossip and celeb watching.  History feels like a more wholesome way to indulge my nosiness, and historical fiction provides an avenue for it to be … Continue reading A case for using historical fiction in the history classroom

The Comparison Compulsion: Sailing your own boat

Photo by 10 Star on Pexels.com On 21st April 2020 at the height of the UK’s first Covid-pandemic lockdown, Damian Barr’s tweet, about the varying ways people were experiencing and ‘coping’ with the challenges of that period, went viral.  This analogy took on a life of its own because it so brilliantly evokes something we … Continue reading The Comparison Compulsion: Sailing your own boat

Setting the albatross free: Teaching without PowerPoint

Photo by Katerina Holmes on Pexels.com As a young teacher beginning my career just after the turn of the millennium, my first classroom was fitted with the ultimate in modern technology – a roller board incorporating both a blackboard and a whiteboard!  I also shared an OHP (OverHead Projector) with my colleague in the room … Continue reading Setting the albatross free: Teaching without PowerPoint

Feeling despondent? Why beginning teachers need to keep on climbing

Photo by Yevgeniya Fedorova on Pexels.com I am not a hill walker.  I love visiting the Lake District, but I would much rather a nice walk on the flat around a lake (perhaps with a quick stop at a tea shop) than battle up a hill which quickly turns into a mountain.  Why?  Because I … Continue reading Feeling despondent? Why beginning teachers need to keep on climbing

Teaching children about sensitive and controversial current affairs: Talking to children in schools about the situation in Ukraine

This blog has been developed from a twitter thread (27/2/2022) relating to supporting children and young people to understand the situation in Ukraine. Photo by Santiago Sauceda Gonzu00e1lez on Pexels.com The teaching of sensitive and controversial issues in school is always contentious.  Teachers are tasked with navigating the finely balanced rights of the child to … Continue reading Teaching children about sensitive and controversial current affairs: Talking to children in schools about the situation in Ukraine

Making a move: How can I switch from primary to secondary history teaching?

Photo by Sanndy Anghan on Pexels.com I feel convinced of the need to keep good, committed teachers in the profession, and am therefore pragmatic about the fact that teachers sometimes find themselves falling ‘out of love’ with their current situation even if they still feel committed to the overall endeavour of education.  For the vast … Continue reading Making a move: How can I switch from primary to secondary history teaching?

Let’s work together: Supporting your mentee to work with support staff *

*This blog is written within the context of the secondary phase.  Photo by Anna Tarazevich on Pexels.com Since Hakim started at Skyview Academy, high levels of staff absence have meant he has been working alongside a number of supply teachers and cover staff rather than the class teachers to whom his timetable is attached.  Recently, … Continue reading Let’s work together: Supporting your mentee to work with support staff *

Remote Opportunities: becoming a teacher during Omicron

Photo by Anna Tarazevich on Pexels.com “How are you finding online teaching now?” I asked one of our alumni ECTs at the end of February last year - they had contacted me at the start of January feeling anxious about how to make the move into remote learning during the lockdown (you can read about … Continue reading Remote Opportunities: becoming a teacher during Omicron

Targetting Tom’s Transitions: Moving smoothly between phases within a lesson

Photo by SHVETS production on Pexels.com The start of the lesson hooked pupils into the learning beautifully and Tom, the beginning teacher, valiantly moves the class onto the first independent task. Within minutes the lesson, which promised so much, has been overtaken by a ripple of off task behaviour.  By 5 minutes in only the 3 most compliant pupils have achieved anything even vaguely resembling a response to part … Continue reading Targetting Tom’s Transitions: Moving smoothly between phases within a lesson

‘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

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

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

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

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