The Sunday Confessional, and this Blog returns…

First use of the blog since July. (shakes head at self)

I want to use this time for better focusing on what can I do differently, rather than veering towards whining about the actions of others. I am keeping a journal (badly) failing to write in it at the end of every day, but I am writing in it, and using it to write this!

Tuesday was a classic piece of work procrastination, as I focused on tidying my educational books behind my desk. They are collected thematically now, and look nice. This was of course an essential task to get done.

I now have two to do list note books, one for keeping track, and then one for daily to dos. I need to, there are lots to do!

Wednesday was a tough day, I had been involved in a couple of meetings that went very well, meanwhile some students of mine behaved badly and so I had to deal with that rapidly. I have been blessed so far this academic year with general good student behaviour, but there was almost a teacher muscle memory in terms of speaking to the students, their parents and anybody else involved.

Thursday was great, a friend of mine came to the college and delivered Stand Up comedy workshops. He spoke about stand up, delivered some set, attempting to make 15 teenagers laugh, and then they were supported to write their own material. A whole 30 minutes. And what was great was that they did it, all of them, and most of them took the opportunity to perform it. Times like this I love my job.

Friday was another tough day. Went into work Saturday, to do timetabling, this has been a them that I am a Martyr to. Had to move some classes round due to staff change, and I did my classes last. Like I said, I’m a Martyr. I don’t mind going in on Saturdays however as it means I spend less time working from home.

You know the old work/life balance.

Targets:

Plan more. Plan better.

Blog more. Blog better

Be seeing you.

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Contrarian

This isn’t a full and proper Sunday Confessional.
Becuase if I was to write it, I might get so depressed that I’ll drink this golden rum, I was given by a mother as a thank you gift, all in one.
(Note I’m only 50% joking about that, as the rum isn’t here with me)

I had emotional intelligence training this week, and I have resolved to become more positive, as I didn’t appreciative how negative and contrary I had become. My optimism score was particularly low.

I need a holiday. one week left to go. Lots to do, between now and then, and i’m not actually going away on holiday.
I plan to sit somewhere in the shade with an enourmous pile of books.

I”m really excited about next academic year, about programmes of study, about working with my new students.

I’m tired.

The End of Term

The last academic week, and the funny thing about running 1 year courses, is that at the end of every year the students finish and some of them I might never see again. Might develop detachment issues.
In previous years there was a real tension to the week, with highly strung students about to quite at any moment rather than do that final piece of work and pass the course.
This year students were very committed to finishing the work, in a very very relaxed way, they had four days, why come in monday or Tuesday.

So whatelse happened?

MONDAY
Had an important meeting with the line manager about the course specs for (2014) which I will talk about in another post. (this is unlikely based on my current blogging achievements)
I met for a cup of tea, with my TDS buddies, but I still havent spoken about TDS…

TUESDAY
Had a great meeting with the student welfare officer to discuss ways we can improve student involvement in the course planning process.
Sat down with my manager and HoF, to get course timetables sorted, 2 steps forward.
Met with my Dtlls tutor to discus my experiences as a speaker at the FoE, but I haven’t blogged about that yet.

WEDNESDAY
Had a brilliant meeting at the Institute of Education about studying for an MA.
Proposed plan of study:
Module Title Start date Submission and Exam board
Independent Study Module April 2014 1st Sept 2014 Nov 2014
Supporting Learners and Learning July 2014 1st Dec 2014 Nov 2015
Teacher as Author Oct 2014 2nd Mar 2015 Nov 2015
Assessing Colleagues Learning April 2015 7th Sept 2015 Nov 2015
The Action Researcher Oct 2015 7th Mar 2016 Nov 2016
Report Thesis Jan 2016 Sept or Dec 2016 Nov 2016 or Nov 2017

THURSDAY
Had a meeting with the Manager of Functional Skills, about how it will be embedded on my courses next year, and they seemed very happy with what we are planning.
I will also be teaching Functional Skills next academic year, as I’ve discovered that the best people are involved in UKFEChat.

FRIDAY
Focus Day.
Emotional Moments as the college Principal leaves post.
Bulk of the morning spent on how we can make the faculty outstanding ahead of any future OFSTED visits. Shared some of my best practice which people seemed to like.

TARGETS
Write this earlier in the day
Write other blogs.

Classless not studentless

Working without a timetable, I seem to be even busier.

This is of course my rubbish excuse for not blogging this week, still nothing on the Talent Development Scheme, no new Teacher’s Life, no new 344 Questions and nothing on the Festival of Education.

Forgive me T’interweb, for I haven’t blogged. It is 7 days since my last confessional.

Principally Monday through Friday was spent in 1-2-1s helping students across the finish line, and helping others towards progression onto Level 3, but what else happened?

Monday

Department meeting. I didn’t think it was effective and I did not hide my feelings, growing increasingly despondent and irritable. Me Head of Faculty asked to speak with me afterwards.

I apologised, but said I felt that meetings were focused towards Level 3, and as a course tutor for Level 1 and 2, i get frustrated. We agreed that meetings for level 1 &2 should occur.

The college has ‘the common meeting slot’ Mondays 3.30-4.30.

Overall though, the meeting with my HoF was great, made my sensitive soul feel much better.

Tuesday

Came across a combination calculator, and whilst I didn’t do what I needed, it did enthuse me to discuss it with a college and arrange a snap meeting with the ICT lead for PLP.

The meeting was great not only did they agree that the calculator could be developed and put online, they made me aware of a simple checklist tool available on Moodle. that I will be making use of next academic year.

Midday I had a meeting at a nearby SEN school, to talk toa  group of students about coming to college, specifically my new Level 1 course, however, there had been a miscommunication, and of the 7 students that attended, 5 were already signed up.

I was asked if there was something else I could do with them for the hour. My brain froze.

And then I pulled out of the tool box, an old film literacy class, and it went really well. So maybe I’m not that bad at this job after all. as Students and teachers responded well to it.

Wednesday

As part of the Talent Development Scheme, had to do an Emotional Intelligence test, and I had a meeting to discuss the results. Not ready to discuss the results here yet, but to say that at one point I was almost in tears.

Had a productive planning level 2 meeting, discussed which teachers for which units, and we came to agreement, so this is great, moving forward.

Took my level 1 January start students for lunch at the college restaurant, as a congratulations for completing the course. The restaurant is great, amazing food cooked and served by students. Was able to award prizes for achievement and student development, and then said goodbye.

Thursday

Had a planning discussion with my HoF about the new Level 1 course. Managed to agree hours, curriculum and teaching staff, so that was all good, by any bodies standards.

I have been introduced to somebody who is further ahead in their journey of Teaching Media in F.E and studying for M.A, but we agree about a great many things. Had a first in what I believe will be a series of telephone conversations, as we put these thoughts to paper.

Friday

The Long Goodbyes (alt blog title)

Had my three L2 classes in for cake and to celebrate them will mostly it seems almost finish the course!

A big surprise was when the majority of one class announced that they were no longer seeking to progress to L3, but were looking at alt provision so they could pursue Computer Game development.

On the Level 2 we offer studying Video Games, not making them, on the Level 3 they offer neither. This has led a casual conversation with my colleagues and line manager about ‘we should do more on video games’, to a planned meeting about establishing a Video Games pathway in 2014. First up a Skype chat with fell UKFEchatter @enorichards.

Had lunch with the September start Level 1 class, they really excelled this year, and am looking forward to what they achieve in the future.

3 weeks left before summer.

Future Activity

Book Monthly meetings for level 1 and 2 course tutors.

Follow up Calculator meeting.

Set up checklists on moodle

Go back to SEN school and speak to year 10 students about coming to college and the Level 1 course.

Computer Game Pathway meeting(s)

Targets

WRITE WRITE WRITE WRITE WRITE

Don’t overuse checklists on moodle.

Be Seeing you

Speaker

So this week I didn’t post an extra blog, so I failed that Target. I did however speak twice at an Educational Festival (Spoiler alert) so that was a trade-off.

Monday
This week was a series of lasts.
This year in an effort to improve study skills, I introduced the Learning for Life course into the curriculum for my Level 1 and 2 classes. it’s worked relatively well, enabled us to add focused time to the timetable, try new things. It won’t be on the timetable next year under the ‘Programmes of Study’, so there will be a renewed focus on embedding Personal, Learning, Thinking Skills (PLTS) into the SOW, and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

PLTS

So following a mammoth reflection activity, this course was put to bed.

Talking about Programmes of Study, we had a faculty meeting at the end of the day, to discuss this, and for some faculty members this was a first time. Due to launching a new Level 1 course next year I benefitted from being fairly fully aware and I am looking forward to the possibilities, which include; a fully formed Induction Project, work experience and a final term focused on progression, at both Level 1 and 2.

 

Tuesday

Was my last teaching day with my January start course, and it has had high and low points, if I was being more frank with you I’d go into details, but I’m not. Overall I think it was successful;, I learnt a lot and was certainly challenged about my preconceptions about who these students would be and what they would get out of the course and input into it.

At least one of the students names gets added to the list that haunt me late at night when the demon’s come, and i wonder, could I have done more for them.

 

Wednesday

Featured my last teaching hour of the academic year, a fairly inauspicious occasion, and I’ll now be spending 30 odd hours a week with students on a 1-2-1 basis. My line manager has asked for a department meeting Monday, an agenda item is ‘At Risk Students’, my answer is the whole of the Level 2, they’ve still to either Pass the course, or Progress onto their next one. Teenagers even this late in the day can go ‘F*ck it’ and walk away from the course. In fact one student who was doing great, and then didn’t come in for over a month, returned, so it can go both ways.

 

Thursday

Admin and 1-2-1s.

I did get to have a long conversation with my #FuturePrincipal, as the college had received an award for being a Super Club by Filmclub, they had said some very flattering things about me, so it was good to share that. I learnt her the book Rework, as I thought she might find it enlightening, after a talk she had given on the talent Development Scheme TDS (Something I have yet to blog about!) and I was able to drop very unsubtle hints about wanting a conversation about my aspirations in the near future. This led to a conversation about what we should be doing more of to push colleagues forwards and Nikki‘s piece in FE Week.

 

Friday and Saturday

I went to the Festival of Education. To talk on a panel. You know, as you do.

speaker

 

Future Activity:
Discuss PLTS, with Curriculum team, ensuring all areas are fully covered within (Next year’s) existing timetable.

Write up the SOW for 2014 with my Level 1 and 2 teams.

Blog about TDS

Coffee with the #FuturePrinciple

Blog about the FOE

 

Target:
Post at least one blog between Monday and Friday.

Confirm 2014’s Level 1 and 2 curriculum teams.

Be more Frank with the #SundayConfessional

Blog about Speaking, before July!

 

Be Seeing You.

The first week of the last term

Due to crazy math and course hours, I now only teach 2 days a week. Coming back off half term was it a blessing or a curse that those days were Monday and Tuesdays?
Working with my January starts that lead to three levels of tension.
Firstly, that the January starts are a challenging class.
Secondly there is only three weeks left of the course.
Finally on the Tuesday the class was being observed and the observer was being observed by an Ofsted inspector.

Monday’s lessons went relatively well as I hoped they would.
Tuesday we focused on the rights of a citizen, the lesson was research and writing processes. Not sexy but showed what they could do when focused and little room for it to go wrong. The observation went well. They were behaved enough for us not to get closed down and misbehaved enough to show why they where on a January start course. The observer and the inspector said it was a Good lesson and I was happy with that, if we can provide consistently Good lessons for these Learners then that is great.
Wednesday was 1:1’s
Thursday was training, and I’ll talk more about it in another blog, because there is something I am
still processing.
Friday was a day of meetings, and again one of them I’ll come back to.

All in a good week. Still need to work on the reflect, learn and goals though.

Be seeing.

Just because

i-work-because-i-love-to-dribbble

When is a good time to start a reflective diary?

I used Posterous for reflection. I didn’t stop because they closed down, i stopped in 2010, because… just because.

I did some reflection this year as part of my teaching qualification, and decided that next (academic) year, I would keep a diary and post on a sunday.

1) because I like the symbology of the Sunday Confessional

2) because there is less chance of my tiny audience reading it.

Catharism before reflection, as i start today, not next year, because… just because.

Though feel free to join me in sunday reflections, we can absolve it other.

It was half term this week. when i go back my NEET class have 3 weeks to finish the course and on Tuesday they are being visited by a OFSTED inspector, not sure which prospect is making me more nervous.

But that is next week.

Lets look at this week.

Didn’t get a lot of work done, is that okay? It was half term after all, how much are we meant to do?

Tuesday there was a training session, it featured a 5 hour powerpoint. no really. I struggled to stay focused and awake. The focus was on what the college needs to do to achieve its goal of being ‘outstanding’.

A laudable goal, one i am certainly supportive of.

Yet, I did not leave the session feeling inspired to discuss the goal, with my peers and leaders, i had a tension headache.

On more than one occasion I should have spoken up and challenged the gatekeepers, but i didn’t. because… just because.

Friday, I went to CoFWD, I worked on a lot of blogs I haven’t published, but i set myself a blogging schedule. that counts.

I need to develop confidence in my opinion, if i am to expect anybody else to,I took part in a MERJ conversation, discussing my lack of confidence as a researcher. Time for the size of fish and pond. In both ponds my fish has a big voice, it’s just in the big pond, I’m not sure I’m ready for anybody to listen to it. because… just because.

 

GOAL: Reflections must contain analysis… just because.