Saturday, 14 January 2017

Blogging I Miss You - Finding My Feet

See here for my first endeavours in to the blogging world :-)

So, I knew for sure that I loved blogging and writing for an audience.  I had made the leap in to blogging and there was no looking back.

Writing from the Heart:
So, having other people ask me to write something for them really did let me step up and develop my writing more than I realised it would.  I started to feel like I really wanted to share my personal development a little more.  Starting out as a teacher was the hardest thing I ever did.  And the best thing I ever did.  The first two years of teaching were so, so hard.  I have never felt to stressed or learnt so much on so many levels in such a short space of time.  But I loved it!  What is wrong with me?  Anyway, because it was never just something that was easy for me I suppose I wanted to share my struggle with others and let them know that it is ok to not be a natural, to struggle and to not be perfect.  I feel like so many hide their struggles, or choose to forget them, and I just wanted to be honest about it.  I wanted people to know - you will be ok... if this is what you love and you want to put the work in it is so worth it.  The posts below are all about me finding my passion, working hard and starting to find my way in this crazy world of teaching.  (With one for my Y11 pupils thrown in for fun.)

7.  Embrace Your Inner Nerd
8.  Tremendous Teacher Blogs
9.  OFSTED 'Outstanding'... who me? Never!
10.  Unlocking the Power of Progress
11.  Targeting Teacher Training - The Importance of Good CPD

Don't Forget Your Roots
A couple of my blogs had got a lot of attention and sparked a lot of discussion on line which was great but I felt the need to get back to writing about practical in-class teaching again to refocus myself on the pupils and lesson planning - because after all that is why we are all in this game.

12.  But Miss, how do I revise for this exam? - Top Tips for Student Revision
13.  Letting Students Lead the Learning
14.  Playing with Poetry
15.  My TES English Piece - Peer marking and how to make it work in your classroom
16.  Dabbling in Digital Learning

Broadening My Horizons:
My first blog in the list below is my single favourite piece I have ever written.  I have used it with my pupils in class to analyse blogs in preparation for their iGCSE exam - which was scary - but I really feel this blog and I wanted them to know that stuff.  I also got involved in a coupe of very exciting projects and wrote about them.  I co-organised and hosted SLTcamp with the formidable +Stephen Lockyer which was immense and a really special thing to be a part of.  I also wrote again for the Guardian and was asked to write a guest chapter for +TeacherToolkit Ross Morrison McGill's first book - which was A-MAZING.  TT and SL you two rock and I have a lot to thank you for :-)

17.  Building Beautiful Cathedrals - What becomes of the children we teach?
18.  SLTcamp - Igniting Change
19.  My Guardian Piece - Immersive Learning
20.  Cultivating Creative Writing
21.  100 Ideas for Secondary Teachers - Outstanding Lessons

Dabbling in Digital Learning:
IN my first SLT role, I had the opportunity to take on the role of digital learning coordinator and loved every minute of it.  I had put forward the idea of developing this in the school where I was working at the time.  I wanted to improve what we were doing as a result of going on an amazing SSAT course where by I was able to visit five outstanding schools around the UK. One of those was leaps and bounds ahead of any school I have visited in terms of it's digital learning leadership.  I met Kirsty Tonks at Shireland Collegiate Academy in Birmingham and she, and the school itself, was an inspiration to me.  I wrote a number of pieces exploring and gathering ideas for my colleagues on different areas of digital learning.  I loved this part of my teaching and leadership journey.  (With one post for NQTs and trainee teacher thrown in just for fun.)

22. Digital Debates - Questioning - Issue 1
23. Digital Debates - Lesson Objectives - Issue 2
24.  Digital Debates - Explanation - Issue 3
25.  New Teachers - Buckle Up And Get Ready For The Ride
26.  Digital Debates - Marking And Feedback - Issue 4
27.  Digital Debates - Gifted And Talented Education - Issue 5
28.  You what? A You Tube Channel For Teaching You Say.
29.  Digital Debates - Homework - Issue 6
30.  Marking For The Masses And Feedback For The Future
31.  Digital Debates - Teacher Talk - Issue 7

Mulling over Leadership 
Writing about leadership is not an easy thing to do.  As I said in my first blog post on leadership "For me, leadership is so complex that you have a duty to be mindful, honest and to consider your impact.  Because of these points, I feel a great responsibility whenever I go to press the publish button."  This is so true.  And, for me, it is what I keep in focus whenever I write online or speak in public.  Becasuse it is not all about what you think or feel - you have a great responsibility to all of your staff.        There are some great, very experienced Headteachers who write beautifully and honestly about  leadership and they really have earned their stripes - I hope one day to be as wise and measured as they are.  I was daunted writing about leadership only a few years into it being a part of SLT... but I figured, my experience is as valid as anyone elses' and I really want to share it as I have other experiences as a teacher.  Anyway, I wrote about it - I wrote my story -  and I was really glad I did because it is important.  I need to write some more on this because boy do I have more to write. :-)

32.  Writing About Leadership - Leap Of Faith
33.  Leadership - When Opportunity Knocks
34.  Digital Debates - Issue 8 - Literacy
35.  The Start Of Something Small But Special - SLTcamp
36.  Reflections And Hopes Aplenty - Nurture 2013 - 2014

And so my second year of blogging came to an end.  What a year it was!

Thank you to everyone who was a part of my journey and supported and challenged me along the way.  It been emotional :-)

Dear Blogging,

I miss you.  I'm on my way back to you I promise...


Ms F

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Blogging, I Miss You - The Start of My Journey

So, I have not blogged since May 2016.  There are many reasons behind this that I will not bore you with now... that story is for another time.  I miss it like a dear old friend.  I have decided that I want... no, I need to get back to blogging to soothe my aching soul from this sense of loss I feel.  Starting to blog again after a break is daunting and to help me I started to read through my old blog posts last night - from the beginning.  What a journey I have been on.  I have to be honest and admit that it was really quite emotional reading all those ideas, reflections, admissions, hopes and dreams.  I decided to reflect upon my blogging past before I embark on my bogging future.    So here goes...

I started blogging in August of 2012.  

I have always loved writing and always written in some form of another over my summer holidays because  had the time to think that you just done't get during term time.  I find my head is so full of classes, pupils, marking, lesson planning and general work stuff that even if I do have a spare hour here or there my mind is not really in the right place for my best writing a lot of the time.  My holiday writing has always been a private pursuit... until then.

I'm not entirely sure how it happened but that summer I found my blogging self.  

Baby Steps:

I started writing about everyday techniques and ideas I have enjoyed undertaking in my teaching.  I just kept it simple.  These blog posts were not mind-blowing or based in educational research but they were from the heart and sharing what I love doing in my classroom.  I really enjoyed the process of thinking through and writing down what I do all the time, often without thinking about it.  It made me reflect on what I enjoy and what works for me with the pupils.  I kind of crystallised, focused my understanding of the 'why' behind it all.  It was uplifting to reflect on all the things that make me happy in my day to day job.

1.  Having Fun with Learning - Teaching Writing Through Games
2.  Active Reading Strategies - Visual Notes and Character Bodies
3.  Art in the English Classroom - Poetry and Painting
4.  Marking Matters

I was really just enjoying writing for myself and sharing the posts on twitter for others to use the ideas if they thought they may be useful.  I loved the immediacy of the feedback that blogging brought.  Each time I published a new blog post I would have people coming back to me to ask questions, discuss their approaches and ideas of a similar nature and thank me for sharing.  It was just such a lovely thing to be a part of.  It was a really useful sounding board for my thoughts and I loved the ideas I was gathering to improve my practice from sharing what I already do.

Branching Out:
A few months in I was asked to write a piece for the Guardian based on my Marking post as they had really like what they read.  I was also asked by @TeacherToolkit (Ross Morrison McGill) to be a guest blogger for a series of blog posts he was undertaking at the time - The Thunks.   

I cannot tell you how overwhelmed and honoured I was that they had shown an interest in my writing and my ideas.  We are so isolated as teacher in our little classrooms, on our own in terms of other professionals most of the time, that I think we really do get used to not being seen, not getting feedback and not feeling appreciated.  This is, in part, just the nature of the job we do.  Blogging and Twitter is a really powerful network for bridging this gap.  

And so 2012 came to a close and my first year of blogging was at an end.  Through starting my blog I discovered and gained so much more than I ever expected.  

Dear Blogging, 

I miss you.  


Ms F.