I was so pleased that Martyn Reah, the demi-god of #teacher5aday decided to create a #LeadPChat. I had been conscious for a while that, whilst I regularly follow Middle Leader, Senior Leader etc chats on Twitter, there wasn’t really a forum for my whole-school role of Citizenship and PSHE Lead Practitioner to grow and share ideas.
Since taking on the aforementioned role in May 2016, I’ve struggled to engage some teachers in the new curriculum, especially as they are all non-specialists. Having to manage expectations of pupils and staff, juxtaposed with an ever-changing fluid curriculum means that sometimes I forget the essentials of being a Lead Practitioner, and can sometimes feel isolated in my role.
#LeadPChat takes place every Sunday from 11am, and is designed to share good practice among Twittee-s across the UK. I frantically took notes throughout the day on Sunday, so I thought this would be a great opportunity for me to share some of my favourite ‘take-away’ ideas.
Sometimes it’s hard to forget that we’re all passionate about our area of practice, and it can sometimes get lost under a metaphorical (and often physical) pile of admin and faffing that we’re all used to in schools. The #LeadPChat enabled me to re-ignite the passion for my subject area.
This one can be particularly tricky for those new to the post, or equally as daunting for others. Many people commented that risk taking was needed in education, and that innovation was desperately sought after amongst staff. For me, innovation and risk taking are one of the same. I was chuffed with all of the ideas that colleagues put forward on how to inspire staff to feel the same, particularly around rewards and difficult conversations.
Whilst I feel I have plenty of this, I often find it hard to instil motivation in others. Colleagues from across Twitter were quick to share their ideas, including linking practices to Performance Management, socialising and getting to know staff more, and simply building up the trust needed to know what motivates others. This, for me, is going to be the most important take-away from Question One, going forward.
Without a doubt, this was the most important take-away for me, particularly relating to instilling collaboration in others. It’s rare to find people who are willing to share ideas regarding whole-school Citizenship and PSHE, partly because many do not have embedded curriculums themselves. So many inspiring ideas were being shared as to how to encourage this, my favourite being leading by example.
As selfish as it may sound (and I’d like to think I’m generally a generous person), I sometimes feel resentful of sharing resources with others as they don’t always pull their weight. The #LeadPChat has entirely changed my thinking on this – a more holistic approach of sharing and encouraging others to do the same is needed, so leading by example is going to be my motto going forward into the Spring term.
Train to teach
After I shared the idea of ‘Train to teach’ as an answer to this question, I was pleased to see so many colleagues running similar initiatives in their schools. The idea is to simply invite potential teachers into the classroom, to engage with students and staff and to really see the inner workings of a school environment. Some schools choose to charge for this privilege – whilst I understand the necessity of this for larger schools and the administration issues they may create, I strongly feel the initial experience should be free. After all, free education is the bastion on which this country prides itself!
More funding and CPD
It wasn’t surprising that the consensus settled on asking Justine Greening for more school funding, which would be put towards increased CPD. For me, the key take-away here was how schools were getting around the problem by providing their own CPD. Following on from leading by example, teachers were running their own CPD in school, known as Teach Eats, Learning Lunches or similar. The idea was that any teacher could share an idea that had worked for them, and give their colleagues the tools to embed this in their own classrooms. My plan is to continue to encourage all teachers to in my school to engage in voluntary CPD, by leading by example and sharing as many ideas as possible!
Looking forward to next Sunday!