I really enjoyed Carl Hendrick’s post this week on “5 Things I wish I knew when I started teaching” and the one from Stephen Tierney. I decided I would add my own thoughts from a slightly different perspective. What am I hoping to learn in the next few years? What are the 5 things I wish I knew now?
- How best to monitor pupil progress – This one is a real head scratcher. Is there some effective AND efficient way of recording how much a pupil knows and can do? Some way of tracking the progress a pupil is making? We currently have a combination of exams, exam questions, quizzes, PLC type checklists and it all feels like a bit of a mess. In a life without levels, what do we measure?
- What makes some ideas stick? – I don’t mean for the pupils (I think I am already getting a good handle on that) but what makes an idea stick with teachers? Why do some initiatives flourish and others wither on the vine? Is it due to the quality of the idea or their communication? How can we make sure a school or a department rows together with a common goal and a common way of working?
- How can we best put together our curriculum? – What should we do in Year 7 and 8? What geography would give pupils the best grounding in the essential knowledge, understanding and skills in the subject? I am already fairly decided that these years should not be simply about preparing pupils for GCSEs but in a subject like Geography where we can cover just about anything, what do we chose? What is the very best of our subject?
- Can we change mindsets? – Is it possible to move a student from a fixed to a growth mindset? We seem to have a cultural leaning towards the fixed – can this be changed? How can we get pupils to truly believe that they have the capacity to improve?
- How do we challenge all students? – We have been successful at increasing the level of challenge for our students but I have the nagging feeling that in every class there are a couple who, for various reasons, get left behind. How do we support these students to ensure that they are able to make sustained progress?
There we go. I have to say I found this a very useful process as a way of working out my priorities for the coming year and flushing out the known unknowns. Hopefully, dear reader, you will now be able to help by pointing me in the direction of some answers to these questions so that in a couple of years I too can write a “What I wish I knew” piece.