The hardest working teacher in the school

We’re busy doin’ nothin’ Workin’ the whole day through Tryin’ to find lots of things not to do We’re busy goin’ nowhere Isn’t it just a crime We’d like to be unhappy, but We never do have the time Bing Crosby There have been a lot of recent discussions around workload, and these have morphed,…

Controlling the Controllables

This last year in particular has highlighted many of the things which are fundamentally wrong in our society. From requiring a well-known and passionate footballer to get those in power to sit up and take notice that children were going hungry, to needing to provide meals for children in them in the first place, the stark realities of the inequalities in the society in which we live are staring us in the face. Many people too seem have done well from the horrors of the pandemic and many others continue to sit comfortably on their privilege, safe in the knowledge that little will topple them from their thrones.

Does this make me angry? Hell, yes! Do I look to do what I can to change this? Without a doubt. Have I managed to kick those in power up the backside so they realise what matters? Sadly, not as yet, however much I jump around on my tiny platform.

Stepping off the Treadmill

One of the things people who have not worked in schools can never really appreciate is the pace at which they work. At the start of your teaching career, especially if you took a more traditional route, you would spend hour after laborious hour working on an individual lesson, trying to perfect if and thinking…

What Shapes Us

I make no secret of my rather humble roots. I don’t wear it as a badge of pride, although my accent and less than genteel approach to language (yes I swear a lot), often reveals much about my background. Nor am I ashamed of it and my sense of a working-class collective has always been…

What’s in a name?

spend a lot of time thinking and writing about what effective professional development is. You might even say it has become something of an obsession after many frustrating years of struggling to make sense of the opportunities presented to me in INSET and Twilight sessions.

They are not the baddies

I make no secret of the fact I did not like school much. By Year 11 I had decided that I had pretty much had enough and stopped going. Before the final year of Year 10 I had 100% attendance record and realised when I first decided to go and do something else for the…

When He Was Four

When he was four his world was very small. It was contained within the boundaries of his immediate family, his neighbours, friends from playgroup and some unknown children and adults, the latter always encountered under the watchful eye of his parents. He had been on trains, buses and experienced some rather boring museums and art galleries, and some rather more exciting playgrounds and theme parks. His parents wanted to widen his world, but it was still small, enriched on the two mornings a week at playgroup, moving into a reception class before his fifth birthday had even rolled round with its cake, candles and brightly coloured balloons. It was small, safe and familiar. But it buzzed with possibility.

Getting the best from Rosenshine

Teachers have many different tools available to them. Sometimes the sheer choice of what we have available can be overwhelming, and the absence of absolutes can make these choices even more difficult to navigate. All we have available to us are ‘best bets’ as Professor Robert Coe calls them in The Great Teaching Toolkit, so…

It’s Time

So, it’s time. It has been nearly ten months since my mother’s ‘passing’ and, although I talked about it when it was all happening, most of it has stayed locked in my head. I needed to process what I experienced and the feelings that accompanied it, not ready to vocalise what it was that had…