I’m back…I hope!

24 09 2011

I had never intended to abandon this blog the way I have, there has been loads I wanted to write about but I just haven’t made the time to do it.

I love my new job; the SMT, all of the different staff, the pupils, the learning and teaching, the open areas, the ICT, my actual post as principal teacher and having made a move to a new, smaller authority.

What was supposed to be a term at the end of last session just to get to know the school, staff and pupils was turned on it’s head a bit by the arrival of the ‘box’ about 4 weeks after I started!  This was to be my third inspection in my 8 years of teaching but although I had a bit of a panic having only just arrived I was actually in an ideal situation.  I had technically not been there long enough to be responsible for much but would get the chance before they arrived to get stuck in and gain some credibility among the staff. 

The head teacher and I had already discussed a re-arrangement of the open area before we got the box for next session but this just meant we speeded things up.  This allowed me to have something to lead and to show that I was going to put in as much, or more, work on it as anyone else.  I also tried to do it collaboratively, consulting all of the infant teachers and involving them, as well as the learning assistants, in the planning process.  (I have to say I have never worked with such fabulous learning assistants and the fact that they feel part of the whole p1-3 area team is due to the great ethos in the school.)  I also consulted with pupils in the area to see what they would like/felt the area would need and the pupils are certainly confident individuals and effective contributers being able to discuss and express their opinions.  Plus little things like providing lunch on a Saturday when the school fayre was on and we were in working on the open area helps too, even just in providing time to chat and build relationships, and this includes learning assistants again.

The actual inspection process, of which we were a pilot for the new approach, went very smoothly.  Mary Ritchie, whom I have worked with before, led the inspection and from the start we were put at our ease and made to feel involved in the process.  On the Monday afternoon one inspector and the lay inspector were in and around classes while myself, the depute, the HT and our QIO met with Mary Ritchie.  This part was far removed from what I have heard of previous presentations etc by the HT.  There was no presentation, just an open discussion around what the school had ranked itself against the quality indicators they were inspecting us on.  After school all of the inspectors met with staff and after introductions and a description of what would happen during the week we split into small groups with an inspector each to ask questions/have our minds put at ease really and this then just set the positive tone for the whole week.  We were asked to put up post it’s on their door of things we wanted them to come and see and the door was pretty much full by the next day!  They spent a lot of time with different children and they certainly did us and themselves proud!

They disengaged by the end of the day on Wednesday, talked to all the children about what they had seen at assembly on the Thursday morning and spent the rest of the day writing their report.  I can’t remember when they talked to the rest of the staff but they met with the SMT and the QIO after school on the Thursday for a very positive report!  The format of the new report can be seen here:

http://www.hmie.gov.uk/documents/inspection/Clydemuir%20PS%20FINAL.html

The only negative about the inspection, or the bad timing of it anyway, was that on the Friday night at 1am at the end of that week I was attempting the 95 mile West Highland Way race.  The sheer mental and physical exhaustion must have had an effect but finally it was an injury that forced me to pull out.  I’ll be back next year to put it to bed, and at least I know I won’t have an inspection before it!

I am teaching primary 2 again this year and have 24 of them.  I am sharing the class with a fabulous teacher ( I am out Thursday and Friday) whom I love working with.  I wasn’t sure how I would get on sharing a class but as we are both there all week it works out great as we get to talk so much together about the class and really share it.

The class have just started a blog but as this is totally new for the school I think it is going to take a while to get it going properly.  The parents that have been on think it is a great idea for improving communication and involving them in their child’s learning.  You can find it here:

http://p2clydemuir.wordpress.com/

The only thing this term is I feel I have had hardly any time to take on my PT role even though I have 2 days out a week.  I have been out of class loads,  in particular because I was accepted onto the SQH programme and have had a few days out for that so far.  I am really enjoying it but it does take up a fair amount of time both in and out of school.  I particularly like at the moment how directed it is so that I know exactly it is I have to do and there are only 5 of us in my group which means we are getting to know each other well.

As if that was not enough I am going back to Malawi a week on Thursday!  This is with my previous school at my head teacher’s request as it was already set up before I left.  In fact we just had the head teacher and depute head teacher over here at the beginning of term which was quite an experience for them!  I’m not ready at all as life has been so busy but I’ll get it done in the end!

Advertisements




Moving on and up

16 03 2011

As I stated on my running blog the other day:

I’ve been waiting a long time to make this news public but now that I have all the necessary documentation and the children in my class and their parents have been told, I can finally tell everyone that I have a new job!!!  Hence why there was not too much running in January; I really, really wanted this job so was too busy studying and it paid off!

So after the spring break I will only be travelling 15 mins to work, just over the Erskine Bridge, to a school in West Dumbartonshire where I will be the principal teacher, particularly of the infant department which has 6 classes. This is definitely the job that was meant for me as the ethos in school seems great, there is lots of outdoor learning and other initiatives, it’s 15 mins from home after years of lots of driving and the head teacher whom I liked immediately ran the WHW race a couple of years and has done the Fling etc!  I’m really excited about starting and things really feel like they are going in the right direction for me.

I will be sad to Castlefield as it and the people there have been a big part of my life for quite a while now but I’ll still be keeping in touch with, particularly for our reciprocal visit I am arranging with the headteacher and the deputy head teacher of Gwengwe Primary in Malawi.

I plan to start writing on this blog again now to reflect on my new role and responsibilities.  I concentrated on my primary 2 class blog this year and really loved what that offered the pupils and parents and will definitely do that again but I want to use this one for me again now.

Not only have my class been blogging but my primary 2 pupils are getting very used to using Glow!  At first they were just using it to play glow games but now they can find the log on page at school and home, log on themselves, get to our class group and into our wedding topic group.  I have been using the text editor web part a lot to put in hotspots to direct them and this has worked very well.  With, and now for some of them without, adult help they are able to add to discussions, use weblinks, use the news web part and view and add pictures on our photo gallery.  I am loving using these things with them, as are they and the parents.  One parents comment when they found out I was leaving was:

“How will I cope without having the blog and Glow, I hope someone is going to carry them on!”

I’ve just had two fantastic days RM update training on various software programmes that are going to be of use in school after the refresh, some of which we already have and I have used before like Podium, textease and Comic Life and some others like Stop motion pro and revelation.  One of the things we were focusing on was how these could be used as some kind of eportfolio and I think there are huge possibilities for this with these programmes.  We also mashed different programmes together, putting a lot of what we did in other programmes into textease to then enhance it further.  Here are some examples of what I was working on, they are very much just a quick taster. 





First day out

16 02 2008

While I am being acting principal teacher I am only in class until 10.45am on a Friday and I could get used to that!  Mrs Bromley, who is in p.2 the rest of the week and will take mine on a Friday, came in with me until then to get used to the class and see what we are doing for our rich task.  As it is not that long since I was a student and did my probationary year I am used to having other teachers in the class with me and it doesn’t bother me.  In fact I am quite happy with any extra help!

The pupils worked in their pairs to plan their story and have now started writing it as a first draft.  A good thing about having someone else in the room is I try to do things properly and I remembered to do a plenary, which is something I forget to make time for.

We talked about how well they had worked together, or not in a couple of cases, and they had done really well today, in fact they left me open mouthed with their good behaviour this morning and I made sure I went on about how I was pleased I was with them.

I got to be ‘het’ from interval until lunchtime as the head and deputy were away which was exciting, although of course uneventful.  I did worry slightly that the fire alarm or something like that would go off!

I took the whole school for a hymn practice and I have to say I prefer taking ‘Star of the Week’, especially as the songs were quite high.  I had to tell p.2 to be quiet and some of them spent the rest of the time staring at me, seeming terrified!

I spent some time working on podium in the afternoon and got a great recording of some of the p.5 girls saying their Burns poems.  I am not sure how I am going to publish it though as you had to put in a password which I don’t have.  I seem to remember when I did the training there was a bit of an issue with it, depending on the computers you had or something so if anyone has any ideas that would be great.  I saved it on my flash drive and am going to see if I can still put it on the school website.

It is taking me twice as long as usual to write this entry as for once I have control of iTunes and I flick over and chose a different tune every time one finishes! My other half is on one of his crazy training runs for the 95 mile long in under 35 hours West Highland Race in June (or in his case hopefully under 23 hours) and I can be on the computer as long as I want without being pestered that its his turn!  My turn tomorrow, although its only a long run for a marathon!