Posted in Uncategorized

Teacher Book Club

I’m researching into the possibility of starting an online teacher book club. I believe there are some localised book clubs happening and I know some schools/departments do currently undertake these. I want to be able to talk to other teachers about books, hear their opinions and generally feel that sense of community that I love so much.

I’ve been reading some sites on teacher book clubs. Most have an overarching educational theme such as:

What Should Your Teacher Book Club Read? by Jennifer Gonzalez

Online Teacher Book Clubs: Promoting a Culture of Professional Development by Cheryl Boes

and there’s a great group on GoodReads called Teachers’ Book Club which acts more as a recommendation site rather than a planned monthly read.

But I wonder: do I (or other teachers?) want to read academic literature as part of a book club, keeping the theme centred on education, teaching and learning? Or, do I (or again, other teachers) want something as an escape? In my book club here at home, we decide on a theme for the next month. It might be a genre, a decade, a country or something along those lines and then we make suggestions. It works well as there’s a wide selection of books that we cover over the year.

What do you think?

Do teachers want a academic book club or a more traditional, albeit online, book club with monthly themes? You tell me.

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Posted in mindfulness, teaching

#MindfulTeacherChat

I’m hoping to start a weekly or fortnightly teacher/support staff Twitter event exploring how those working in education can take time to find peace and acceptance within the educational environment we are all attempting to navigate.

I once ran #NQTchat and #RQTchat when I first started my teaching career but I’m not 4 years in and feel the need to do something new and with more refinement in regards to my own interests both personally ad academically.

Interested? Simply follow me on Twitter @MissECDavies and let me know. Let’s get something going together.

#MindfulTeacherChat

Posted in teaching

What to do now the Ma is completed?

It’s been some time since I started this blog. Well, about 5 years anyway. I always mean to engage with it more than I do but I end up getting wrapped up in day to day life that I forget to take a step back and us this space as a place to think about myself as a teacher and as a person who happens to teach for a living (the difference being that of how I define myself: the person who believes teaching is all I have to offer and the person who has a life outside of teaching.).

I’ve finally finished my Ma in Educational Innovation after starting it 4 years ago. I took a year out in 2016-17 to allow me to focus on a year working with an NQT. But it’s done and now I feel this sense of ‘what now?’. I’ve tried to fill my time with other activities. Hobbies and social commitments I’ve neglected have now been revitalised. I even took some time to step back from my teaching commitments that took up my time outside of school (for example, I’ve not done as much work with the NEU as I did before, although that will now change). So, I thought I’d take the opportunity to discuss what I now do and what my plans are for the future.

  1. I joined a book club. I used to be a part of the Birmingham Book Club a few years ago but the commute to Birmingham, even just once a month was such a fuss and I ended up drifting away. I am now a member of the Harborne Book Club which is much closer to home. I really enjoy the chance to read books I’d never have chosen myself and talk about them with others. It’s an evening a month that isn’t school related and it’s welcomed. This month we’re reading One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I use GoodReads a lot now, so you can keep track on there.
  2. I attend an evening course. Yes, because teaching isn’t enough, completing my masters isn’t enough, I’m not subjecting myself to even more learning! I’m in the middle of a 12 week Explore Textiles course at the Midlands Arts Centre and I LOVE it. Before teaching and my previous career to that, I studied fine art and photography for my undergrad degree. I’ve always loved the arts. I don’y claim to be any good but it’s a chance to be creative. The course is great for that, despite meaning that I’m home at 10pm every Monday! I’d suggest everyone to take part in an arts course! It’s a great way to relax and learn new skills and the MAC in Birmingham is just fantastic.
  3. I run, still. This year with more focus though. I’m attempting to complete every Race at your Pace challenge this year with the aim of completing the Great Birmingham Run in October. I’m doing this all in aid of Crohn’s and Colitis UK as I have family members who suffer from IBD. You can sponsor me by visiting my JustGiving page and keeping an eye on my progress.

They are the main three things I now do. I’m a lot more creative at home and dabble in jewellery making, crocheting and dressmaking when I can and always make time to go for long walks with my partner, Craig. We’re attempting to complete the Three Peaks Challenge on the 4th May too which is daunting to think about.

Another part of my life that I spend a lot more of my time doing is engaging with mindfulness and yoga. I spent January completing her Dedicate 30 day yoga challenge. I love Yoga with Adrienne. She’s so down to earth and trying to do yoga daily is hard enough as it is. It’s amazing how hard it can feel sometimes to find 10 minutes a day to sit and meditate and, despite everything I’ve tried to achieve, it has to be one of the hardest things to do.

That’s essentially where I am now. Wanting to partake in mindfulness more and engage with daily yoga. I want to explore how these two things, especially the former, can help contribute my fitness as not only a teacher navigating the education system but as an individual in her 30s living in the 21st century.

Posted in Uncategorized

A new beginning.

Right. This blog is no longer the ‘The Healthy Trainee’ but simply ‘The Healthy Teacher’ as I’m no longer a trainee or even an NQT. I’ll now be entering my 3rd year of teaching and guess what?  I haven’t quit yet!

That’s not to say the past 2 years have been plain sailing and that’s what’s led me to begin again and start anew as I now strive to complete my masters (after a differed year mind you…).

September sees me begin my career as a year 4 teacher. I’ll be working with an NQT and my phase leader will be working in year 3 with another NQT. This will be the second year I’ll be working with an NQT and I can tell you the first time didn’t go exactly well.

I ended up differing my masters due to workload and pressure and an NQT quitting mid year. I’m hoping that won’t happen again this year so as of this week, I am reenrolled and ready to dive right in.

In fact, I write this sitting from a desk at the library at Warwick Uni. I’m surrounded by lots of books and am trying to bring together the semblance of an idea for my dissertation.

I aim to research teacher wellbeing, retention and recruitment or something along those lines. Maybe not recruitment so much – that might just run alongside my literature review. So that’s where I’m at so far. I’ll update as I go through the steps to complete my dissertation. That’s it for now folks!

(proof I’m actually trying to get ahead!)

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Do you ever think you should learn to say ‘no’?

Ok so teaching – we all know what it’s like. The hours, the workload blah blah blah.

So why am I continuing with my Masters??

And WHY have I decided to begin private tutoring???

I mean my teacher training course contributed 90 CATS towards a Masters so logically I thought ‘well why not go the full hog?’. Last week the summer term at uni began and I’m not undertaking my Foundation Research Module ahead of my final dissertation which I imagine I’ll begin doing next summer.

It’s pretty intense so far. Two assignments to be handed in on the 20th June and 25th September along with 6 other ‘informal’ tasks to be submitted to my tutor. I submitted one tonight so that’s progress!

I’m thinking of doing my research on deeper learning and maths and how learning styles can aid autonomy in pupils’ learning in maths.

But maybe not. I’m not sure.

The private tutoring idea came about with me thinking about how I can keep busy/earn some money over the summer holidays. I registered with Tutor Hunt and unbeknownst to me my profile went live before all my credentials had be verified so I honestly wasn’t expecting anything to come of it. That was until I got an email for an interest parent. We sent some emails back and forth. They have a KS1 child they’d like to do some work on reading comprehension and sentence writing.

I was a bit reluctant just because of my other commitments. But tonight I gave in. I said I’d be willing to help – when do I start?

Let’s see how well this goes then! Is it weird that I’m more nervous a bit tutoring this child then I am my observation tomorrow?

Why can’t I ever just say ‘no’?

Posted in Uncategorized

Is there only really 10 weeks left?

I have been an absolutely terrible blogger. So much for me documenting my NQT year! It’s been a rollercoaster, as I’m sure most other NQTs’ first years have been. So to avoid boring the socks off you, here’s a brief low down of what has happened during each half term:

Autumn 1

  • Got laryngitis and missed going on my first school trip.
  • Cried in front of the head teacher because I don’t know why.
  • Tried to understand how to teach Talk for Writing and mostly failing.
  • Tried to understand how to teach Singapore Maths and mostly failing.
  • Generally enjoy being in class though – kids are great!

Autumn 2

  • So very tired.
  • Is it Christmas yet?
  • Only x days until we break up!
  • Still don’t understand teaching maths in ‘greater depth’
  • Parents -_-

Spring 1

  • Only a 4 week, 4 day half term?! Get in!
  • Ok, starting to get this teaching lark
  • Observations aren’t so daunting!
  • I’m actually taking on board feedback as a way to become better and not as an attack on my ability to teach
  • These kids are EXCELLENT!
  • Oh no it’s week 5 and I’ve not been able to cover all the English/maths content this half term!

Spring 2

  • Pupil progress meetings are stating to get a bit more intense. It’s like nothing I do is good enough!
  • I feel like I spent most of my time worrying about the children who are behind and not spending time on all the other children as well – feel guilty for this.
  • It’s not longer dark when I wake up in the morning!
  • I am not in the second half of my teaching year and I’m still alive.
  • Gosh – aren’t we getting good at this text mapping lark! It’s really quite fun!
  • And hey…is that mastery we’re achieving in maths? When did this happen?

Summer 1

  • The kids are growing up – just look at how tall they’ve gotten?
  • I won’t always teach these kids…I’m going to miss them.
  • Preparing for my penultimate observation and I’ll be teaching exploring perimeter to achieve deeper understanding – I’d never have taught this kind of lesson back in September.
  • Actually feeling PROUD of what I’ve achieved.
  • Oh no! my Masters module has started and now I’m £1k down and about another 20 hours per week poorer! Why did I agree to do this?
  • Excited for next year – what can I do better/more efficiently next year?

So yes. That’s over and done with. Now to move forward…

Posted in Uncategorized

The Dreaded List of Anxieties

This is a post simply to list all the things I’m anxious about entering into my NQT as purely a way to get it out now and not try and dwell on it later.

  • I’m in a new school this year and still don’t quite know what daily routines are
  • I don’t know anyone other than the HT, my TA and the other teacher in my year group
  • I don’t understand how Singapore Maths works yet I have to teach it!
  • I’ve not yet met my mentor or know what I actually need to achieve this year
  • I’ve only met the kids for 20 minutes and can’t remember any of their names
  • I’m not sure exactly what the marking policy is
  • I’m also none the wiser as to what the behaviour policy is and what the rewards and sanctions are
  • …well there’s talk of these marbles in a jar? No idea
  • I’m worried the parents will know that I’m new and judge me because of it
  • I’m terrified about data and what I’m supposed to do
  • I’m worried that the kids won’t make progress and my superiors will have a go at me
  • I’m worried I won’t be able to make them progress and would feel like a failure
  • I have to teach Spanish. I don’t speak Spanish
  • I have to teach P.E. which is also something I’ve not had much experience in doing

I may come back to this and edit when needed. At least all my worries and anxieties are in just one place.