Crossing the threshold.Posted: December 4, 2013
One of the reasons I started this blog was to push myself to be the best teacher I can be. It’s been a while since I actually contributed to it because sometimes life is more important (not something teacher think about enough). However, one of the most significant things that has happened since my last post was my performance management observation.
I, like most teachers, hate being observed. Even though I know I can do fine in front of people, I get stressed that I won’t show off my best. The class I was observed with was Year 9, a class I feel quite confident with; the topic was Audience in a Media setting, something I should really be good at because I have led the subject for a number of years up until this September. It went well, it actually went very well and I got my first Outstanding of my career.
The key to it seemed to be keeping it simple. In the lesson itself I hardly did anything. I set up a group task, which was well differentiated and let the students go. It was a risk in some ways but I knew they could do it. I didn’t know that the lesson was outstanding on the plan but I knew it had the potential to do well. It ticked a lot of boxes without trying to tick them all.
I feel I should credit some people in helping me think more clearly about planning. I used the Teacher’s Toolkit 5 Minute Lesson Plan and skim read his 100 Ideas for Outstanding book the night before for some last minute tips. It was also really helpful to observe a colleague a few days before to watch someone else teach. It was even more helpful to observe alongside my Line Manager and hear what she liked to see and what she expected from an Outstanding lesson. I went away with that in mind and planned something accordingly.
The most important thing I learnt from it all was that I can do it. I think so much of teaching is confidence and I think I now can plan a lesson with the knowledge I do actually know what I am doing. I still know that I have a lot to think about to be better but crossing the threshold into that previously unknown area was a helpful step in the right direction.