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

The magic of teaching a history lesson with coherence direction and purpose

Photo by Vinu00edcius Vieira ft on Pexels.com There was a magical moment in a lesson I recently observed where you could almost see on pupils’ faces the relevance of the lesson collectively ‘click’.  Following a retrieval practice exercise on the Reformation and actions of Henry VIII at the beginning of the lesson, and the discussion … Continue reading The magic of teaching a history lesson with coherence direction and purpose

Avoiding the Observation Trap: Interpreting generic mentoring approaches through a subject specific lens

This blog is jointly authored by Vic Crooks and Laura London based on a presentation we gave at the Historical Association Conference in May 2022.   Back in January, this blog introduced you to Tom who was struggling to understand why things were going wrong in his teaching.  His mentor has identified ‘pace’ as an … Continue reading Avoiding the Observation Trap: Interpreting generic mentoring approaches through a subject specific lens

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Worrying about Wanda: Supporting your mentee’s well-being and workload

Photo by energepic.com on Pexels.com Wanda had started to struggle.  It was small things at first, a partially completed lesson plan with the promise that the full version would follow and a set of books she’d taken home for marking accidently left in her kitchen on the day they were due to be returned.  Finally, … Continue reading Worrying about Wanda: Supporting your mentee’s well-being and workload

Creation not Emulation: Developing teacher persona

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com Edward was a quiet, some might say timid, chap.  When he started his teacher training it was hard to imagine him standing in front of a hardened year 8 class, let alone 'managing' them during a wet and windy Friday period 5.   Edward was great when working with pupils one … Continue reading Creation not Emulation: Developing teacher persona

The Power of Partnership in Initial Teacher Education

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com One of our history ITE mentors likes to talk about the way she and I often perform a ‘pincer movement’ on the beginning teachers we share.  This sounds much more aggressive than the reality!  Our ‘pincer movement’ most often involves both of us praising the student for the same achievement … Continue reading The Power of Partnership in Initial Teacher Education

Optimistic, Observant and Open: What makes a successful PGCE/ ITE student?

Photo by Nikolay Draganov on Pexels.com "Come on then, what makes someone a good PGCE student?", I was asked by a friend during the summer break. The faces of those successful beginning teachers I've supported over the past few years flashed through my mind. How do you answer that question? All of those people successful, … Continue reading Optimistic, Observant and Open: What makes a successful PGCE/ ITE student?