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Rebooting my teaching – Introduction

One of the things I love about teaching is that you never finish learning. Every day, every year, there’s a new challenge to be faced. However, for much of last year I started to feel a dissatisfaction rooted in the fact that the items I felt were next on my “list of things to change to make me a better teacher” were outside of my control. The timetable, the division of learning into subjects, the examination system and so on.This frustration was multiplied by the fact that the people I perceived to be doing ‘the cool stuff’, were teaching in Primary.

So I made up my mind. I would become a Primary School Teacher.

Then I thought about it some more and decided that I had better check if I could actually do it first. Fortunately I had made some great connections through my involvement in transition projects, and so for much of the Spring and Summer terms last year, every other Wednesday afternoon in a free lesson, I took myself off to a local primary school and made myself as useful as I could to year 6 and their brilliant teacher, Bron Jones.

I loved it. But I also came away in awe of the preparation and effort that each and every day seemed to take. I loved the relationship that you could build up with a small number of pupils, but I know I’d struggled to keep up with the organisation that seems to be needed. Add to that the fact that as a teacher at the top of the main pay scale I would be a massively expensive risk for a school to take I started to think instead about how I could apply some of the ideas and practices to my classroom.

As I was pondering this, I stumbled across the blog of an Austrian  Australian 1, teacher called Bianca Hewes. You know that feeling when you read something and you just think ‘that’s it – THAT’s what I want to be doing’? Well that’s the feeling I got. And so I started to investigate the ideas behind Project Based Learning.

And those two things combined, hands on in a primary classroom, and inspiration from the other side of the world have led me to this conclusion.

I need to reboot my teaching.

All my previous ideas, lessons, beliefs are up for grabs. If they work, they stay, if not they go. This, in the words of Slartibartfast ‘scares the willies out of me’, but it’s also massively exciting. I’m going to fail to live up to many of my early expectations, but I’m also going to learn loads along the way. And for the first time in a year I can see a way that I can keep becoming a better teacher.

Over the next few days I’m going to post more about what I’m planning on doing and why, and over the year I’m going to do my best to keep this blog going with updates and reflections. And if it looks like it’s drying up then nag me. Tweet me, Email me. But stick along for the ride!

  1. Dear God of Typos. What had I done to offend you that meant I didn’t spot that one?!?! – Sorry!!!

Dave Stacey

4 Comments

  1. Welcome to the dark side Mr. Stacey. Just wait until you get to student led curriculum design, and guiding a group of students through choosing their own independent inquiry projects in order to direct their own study – powerful powerful stuff. It just gets better and better.

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