For me, the life of a teacher is that of growth. Educational research is ever evolving and we have to evolve with it, if we want to give the young people we teach the best learning opportunities that we can. Over the years, I have attended some fantastic training, read so many books about teaching and learning and learnt from colleagues across the sector – I have equipped myself with a vast knowledge about the subject that I am so passionate about. I have grown.
When I started teaching I had my degree and post-graduate certificate. It is safe to say that I was one of those people who thought this meant that I was there – I had arrived – I was a really good teacher! I didn’t realise how much I would have to grow to be just that. Faced with my first class, I realised that I had a great deal to learn – subject knowledge, behaviour management and how to put a display up! My first display board took me all day to put up – I can now throw one up in under an hour and that is with everything double-mounted!
My subject knowledge began to grow as I worked alongside more established colleagues. Their experience was invaluable and I learnt to listen and ask questions so that my knowledge of the various subjects could grow too. Over the years I have worked alongside some wonderful consultants and LA advisors and each time my knowledge has grown further – I have used every opportunity to ask questions and learn from them. I love learning and growing.
In my RQT year, I did a Graduate Certificate in Mathematical Education because I was fascinated about children transferring their concrete knowledge of number into the abstract. A few years later, I worked alongside Shirley Clarke and teachers from other locality schools in a research group and learnt about assessment for learning, growth mindset, questioning and feedback. This challenged some of my previous thinking and shifted the way I taught and thought. Learning about Carol Dweck’s theories regarding growth and fixed mindsets profoundly changed me. It helped me to grow as I’d never grown before. I could go on about all the fantastic CPD I have undertaken and all the wonderful opportunities I have had, but instead I shall just say that each time an educator has shared their knowledge with me, I have listened and grown.
I learnt quickly when I started teaching, that if I didn’t grow in the area of time-management I would wither! Teaching can easily be a 24/7 job and as an NQT I worked 24/7. That is until my mother intervened. She was also a teacher and shared her sage advice with me – she told me to write a to-do list, prioritise and always accept that I would never complete it. She also told me to take at least one whole day off at the weekend and try to do my work in school during the week, so that I wouldn’t have to take things home in the evening. I haven’t done this perfectly, but my time-management is now pretty good and I do know that there will always be jobs to do – usually because I come up with another great idea!
Recently, I discovered the #edutwitter community and this is causing me to grow further as an educator. I have learnt so much already and that is probably because: