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 be able to learn from Strictly, I now turn my attention to what beginning/ early career teachers and their mentors might be able to learn from Bake Off and the nature of the three … 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

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

‘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

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

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

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

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?

Galloping into the final furlong: Supporting your mentee to make the most of their final weeks as a training teacher

We are entering that often tricky period in the ITE year when most students know if they have done enough to meet the teacher standards and are very much in the final furlong with the finish line in view.  They now face a decision - do they gallop to the finish line, driving forward, attacking … Continue reading Galloping into the final furlong: Supporting your mentee to make the most of their final weeks as a training teacher

A Tale of Two Mentors: Mentoring with perspective

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com Fernando is a new mentor.  He is enthusiastic and keen to be supportive and to work with the university based tutor.  He is also realistic, and has taken time to understand his mentee and their needs and to become the ‘critical friend’ discussed previously in another post: Matey Mentor . … Continue reading A Tale of Two Mentors: Mentoring with perspective

Matey Mentor? Creating the right environment for our beginning teachers

Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com What are the conditions required for a beginning teacher to thrive in their training year?  Since writing my blog on ‘Bewildered Beryl’, I have been pondering upon the idea that ‘the student teacher needs to develop quickly a feeling of friendship with, and trust in, the mentor’, the key assertion … Continue reading Matey Mentor? Creating the right environment for our beginning teachers

Pulling Priya through the plateau: supporting your mentee to continued progress

Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Pexels.com For Priya, whilst it didn’t feel like it at the time, Teaching Practice 1 was a time of steady progress and success.  Teaching Practice 2 started well; it’s been a long term and she’s tired, but she is also grateful that her classes are cooperative and seem to enjoy … Continue reading Pulling Priya through the plateau: supporting your mentee to continued progress

Bewildered Beryl: Helping your mentee find the end of the rope

Photo by Felix Mittermeier on Pexels.com Beryl came to the PGCE feeling confident.  Due to various experiences working with children in her past, she felt she understood what she was getting herself into and how schools worked.  Surely teaching was just a matter of telling pupils the historical stories she herself had loved as a … Continue reading Bewildered Beryl: Helping your mentee find the end of the rope

Helping a new PGCE Mentee to start well

A cup of tea and a listening ear Standing outside my son’s primary classroom this week, I observed his teacher deep in conversation over a cup of tea with a new member of staff.  When the door to the classroom opened just a few minutes later, this young woman stood (with the class teacher hovering … Continue reading Helping a new PGCE Mentee to start well