What I wish I knew as an NQT/ECT
What I wIsh knew with Sara Trickey

What I wIsh knew with Sara Trickey

October 13, 2021

Sara Trickey is a highly successful secondary teacher who writes a terrific blog called Teach with Mrs T, which is full of great advice on pedagogy and practice for trainee and newly qualified teachers and is highly relevant for primary and secondary colleagues. Sara is currently Head of Faculty for Business, Computing and Media Studies. She is also a Fellow of the Chartered College of Teachers, has an MA and has just started studying for a doctorate. She enjoys reading Stephen King books, plus she is an expert builder of Lego masterpieces, though how she finds time for that I don't know!

In this podcast we talk about ...

  • How Sara forced her younger siblings and cousins to be her school pupils, with no playtime until the work was done!
  • The teachers who inspired Sara, made learning fun and her school experience phenomenal.
  • The importance of explaining to students that not everything can be really exciting but by building foundations future learning will be highly rewarding.
  • The need to raise student aspirations and how essential this is to enable them to see where their learning can take them, both in their school career and afterwards.
  • How positive reinforcement for what you expect from your students can help develop their enthusiasm for a particular subject or for learning in general.
  • The excitement of using Super Mario to grab students imaginations in order to motivate them and give them a clear purpose for their learning.
  • How important it is not to be fooled into following the latest educational fads.
  • Realising that the fundamentals of great teaching have not changed over the years and understanding that new ideas and initiatives are very often a re-hash of teaching approaches that have been used successfully for decades.
  • The challenge of dealing with parents who are older than you when you are a young teacher, but by demonstrating your professionalism and expertise consistently you will gain respect.
  • The value of Socratic questioning and the need to constantly ask students to explain more deeply by asking 'Why?' or 'So what?' when they give short answers.
  • Sara's fantastic blog Education | Teach With Mrs T

You can connect with Sara on ...

Twitter @teachwithmrst

Instagram @teachwithmrst

LinkedIn Sara Trickey | LinkedIn

You can read Sara's blog at www.teachwithmrst.com

Dual coding with Zachary and Isla

Dual coding with Zachary and Isla

October 6, 2021

This podcast discusses the vital teaching and learning strategy known as dual coding. Although the term has only been used quite recently, good teachers have used the approach for decades. Even Confucius knows the value of dual coding, though he wouldn't have called it that! I'm joined by 2 secondary school students, Zachary and Isla, who talk about their primary and secondary experiences with dual coding and how it helps them to understand new or complex ideas.

In this podcast we talk about ...

  • What dual coding is.
  • How it can be used in the classroom to develop better understanding of tricky concepts.
  • How Jeremy learnt to use dual coding when he was an NQT playing with toy cars in a science lesson with a Year 5 class.
  • Providing a summary of learning in a diagram makes an idea much easier to comprehend and avoids overloading working memory.
  • If teachers only talk, especially if they talk too much, this can lead students to zone out and stop listening.
  • The value of dual coding when looking back at work that has been done previously.
  • How important it is to present information in different ways so that all students can access the learning.
  • The need to plan the visual image if you are new to dual coding so you know what to draw as you are explaining key ideas.
  • How students can use dual coding in their own recording to help them understand and recall key information.

For more information on dual coding (or anything discussed in previous podcasts), you can contact Jeremy on Twitter @whatnqt or via email on jnc.edu@gmail.com.

What I wish I knew with Louise Howlett

What I wish I knew with Louise Howlett

September 29, 2021

Louise Howlett has not been teaching long, but she is already an Assistant Headteacher in an outstanding school. What has made her so good, so fast? Probably it's her forensic attention to detail, because Louise had always wanted to be a forensic scientist before catching the teaching bug when helping an excluded boy see that school could really change his life. And that is what has motivated Louise to be the very best teacher she can be for every child. She knows if she does her job really well it changes children's lives, and, believe me, she does it really well.

In this podcast we talk about ...

  • The similarities between forensic science and teaching.
  • How helping an excluded, vulnerable boy change his life was the moment Louise realised she must become a teacher.
  • Why children remember the people who have made a real difference to their lives.
  • The fact that it feels like your training hasn’t prepared you for day 1 minute 1 with your first class.
  • How a dragon fly helped to break the ice with her first class.
  • Telling children they would be fine performing their Y6 play on a very hot day as it was going to be really fanny in the hall.
  • How relationships must be built consciously and unconsciously through every action that you do as a teacher.
  • Being sick in the classroom bin before her first parents evening as she was concerned she wouldn't know what to say.
  • The value of making a folder full of the many positive comments made by children and parents over the years and looking at it after a tough day to remember all the good things that have happened.
  • Being a perfectionist is ok but it is not attainable every moment of every day, so accept this and aim to be the best you can be.
  • Accepting you can't know everything and know when to stop working.
  • Becoming very skilled at prioritising the things that really make a difference to children's learning.

 

What I wish I knew with Katie Dixon

What I wish I knew with Katie Dixon

September 22, 2021

Katie is an outstanding teacher and someone I have known since she started her SCITT training. From her very first day as a trainee, she stood out as someone who would have a big impact in the education world, and the years since she qualified have proved just that. Perhaps her greatest quality (though she has so many) is her ability to intuitively build great relationships with her students and colleagues so that the maximum is gained from every situation. Putting people first is what enables Katie to achieve such high standards with her children, as she knows what to do and when, and that is a skill that every great teacher has mastered.

In this podcast we talk about ...

  • How being thrown in at the deep end to teach in a school in Germany having received no training, led Katie to realise she actually loved teaching.
  • The terrifying moment of facing 30 children for the first time who are all your responsibility and all different. But how quickly the terror passes when you find out what those children need from you and how you can do the best for them, as that's what really counts.
  • The importance of getting to know them all as little individual people and how essential it is that they get to know you too. Because, when you know what makes them tick, you can drip feed that through the day and create a happy classroom. Then anything is possible.
  • Being creative and getting children to have fun whilst learning, as this 100% leads to better learning and higher standards. Who would have known that magic potions in fraction lessons and TAs dressed as aliens could so successfully motivate children to learn.
  • The challenge of finding the balance between getting things done and letting children learn in their own time so they can explore concepts in depth.
  • How taking a dead fox into class that had been killed by a car in snowstorm created lifetime memories for a class.
  • When you start teaching you are focused on not making mistakes, doing things right and getting through the day, but how you need to take some time to look back on the wonderful light bulb moments, that everybody has, because those are the moments that remind you that teaching is an amazing thing to do.
  • The importance of linking learning to the real world in as many lessons as possible. We are preparing children for the real world, so we must make sure they can see how their learning links to real life. Every teacher should ask themselves, 'Why are we learning this?', and then share that information with the class.
  • How teachers can get resources to teach children about what is happening in the world today that will enable them to develop their critical thinking skills when considering problems across the globe and recognise when they are being fed fake news.
To find out more about the inspiring work Katie is doing to educate students about the real world go to:
What I wish I knew with Maria Rumsey

What I wish I knew with Maria Rumsey

September 8, 2021

Maria Rumsey is an outstanding teacher and headteacher. Indeed I think of her as education royalty! She has achieved so much as a teacher and headteacher. She does this by always putting people first and she trusts her intuition to decide what is right and what is the best thing to do. She is a refreshing presence in the educational world, as she does not feel bound by Government or Ofsted diktats, but always weighs up whether a change will benefit the people rather than simply tick a box. Visiting her school is a wonderful, enriching experience. In her last SIAMS report, the inspector stated that Maria's impact in a short space of time had been transformational. And she does that everywhere she goes!

In this podcast we talk about ...

  • How great teaching can change the lives of all children for the better
  • The role of creative arts in developing the confidence of those who are seen as less academic and how this improves their learning in all areas
  • The importance of mutual respect between teacher and child
  • Why a broad and balanced curriculum is essential to provide a great education for children and how it raises standards
  • How truly believing in children's potential maximises their ability to succeed
  • The excitement of topping the bill performing a musical that she and her children wrote at the reopening of Liverpool Street Station in front of the Queen
  • The feeling of responsibility you have on your first day as a teacher, especially when the parents think you are too young to be teaching their children
  • The value of having staff who encourage and support you and avoiding those who make unnecessary judgements; find the ones who are happy to offer guidance and advice
  • Why your classroom organisation must not be allowed to dictate the children's learning

 

Making learning expectations clear with Maisie Smith

Making learning expectations clear with Maisie Smith

September 1, 2021

Maisie Smith has just qualified and starts her teaching career with a Year 3 class in a school in Basildon, Essex today! This podcast is a must listen for any teacher at the start of the autumn term because Maisie discussed the one thing that every teacher (not just NQTs) should do at the start of any school year. And what's that I hear you ask? It is the importance of making clear to her class what great learners do, what their habits are, and how they need to behave all the time if they are to succeed day after day. Maisie has already laid the foundations for this when she worked with her class for 2 days at the end of the summer term, but she realises that there is still much to do to embed the expectations into children's day to day behaviour.

During our conversation we discussed ...

  • How fascinating children are because they get excited by different things and as a primary school teacher you can bring out their best qualities.
  • The importance of making children feel excited about being in your class so they look forward to each day.
  • How critical it is to use humour with the children to engage them and keep them healthy. You could even buy a joke book!
  • How observing children gives you so much useful information that you can use to make them better learners.
  • How swapping class rules (that they have had in every other class) for class learning expectations means children know what they are meant to do to be great learners, and it makes them behave well too.
  • Giving children ownership of their learning and behaviour in class. This, according to assessment for learning guru Dylan William, is one of the 5 key aspects of AfL.
  • How independence can be developed in children and how a simple strategy like the 4Bs can support this.
  • If you praise the learning behaviour that you want again and again it makes it much more likely you will see that behaviour every day.
  • The value of regularly extending the list of learning behaviours you expect children to demonstrate, so the list stays fresh, relevant and challenging.
  • How questioning can be structured so children have to think more deeply and how learning to join different thoughts together helps them to form more complex ideas.
  • Why asking children to justify their answers is so good for learning.
What I wish I knew with Polly Wicks

What I wish I knew with Polly Wicks

August 25, 2021

Polly Wicks qualified as a teacher in 2016 having trained as an events manager. Having realised that wasn’t the job for her, she was unsure of what to do next. Feeling the draw of teaching, she became a volunteer in her old infants school and instantly knew that teaching was what she really wanted to do. During her training, she made such a good impression in her placement school that she was offered a job. And so began her love affair with teaching that is still very much alive today. Her enthusiasm and passion for making a difference to children’s lives comes through loud and clear in our thought provoking chat.

During our conversation we discussed ...

  • No day is the same in school and that’s what makes people love the job
  • How she instantly felt that buzz and that warm feeling when enabling and empowering children to learn successfully, a feeling that she had never had in other jobs
  • Falling in love with teaching and still being completely in love with the job
  • How the pandemic made the job much harder when trying to support every child
  • Day 1 of her career, when she arrived at school before the caretaker
  • The terror of being in charge for the first time, but how her natural instincts kicked in immediately the day begun
  • The need for praise and a pat on the back for all teachers
  • The importance of focusing on the positives and the amazing impact you have on the children
  • The need to ask, and give, when you or others need advice and support
  • How dressing up as Goldilocks made the learning more powerful

You can connect with Polly on LinkedIn - Polly Wicks | LinkedIn

What I wish I knew with Sandy Thornton

What I wish I knew with Sandy Thornton

August 11, 2021

Sandy Thornton has been a primary school teacher since 2003. She is passionate about learning, and has a ‘can do’ approach to all things educational. After gaining QTS, her natural teaching ability was quickly recognised when she became part of the fast track teacher initiative. Then in 2010 she became an advanced skills teacher which enabled her to use her outstanding teaching skills both in her own school and to support teachers in other schools. But she didn’t stop there! In 2011 she became an assistant headteacher, before completing the Post Graduate Certificate for Primary Maths Specialists, and then she became a Specialist Leader in Education. She is currently a Cohort Leader and Senior Trainer with Suffolk and Norfolk Primary SCITT. That sounds enough to be going on with, but on top of that she even finds time to coach the Great Britain junior and senior netball squads for the Maccabiah Games in Israel. She is one busy lady!

During our conversation we discussed ...

  • The joy of seeing those magical moments when children light up after they have learnt how to do something new.
  • That moment when you are both thrilled and filled with fear as you walk into class for the first time with the stabilisers off!
  • How to break the ice by getting the guitar out and singing a song that everyone joins in with.
  • Using music and singing to help children learn. Every lesson has a song don't you know, so learn the key ideas by singing about them.
  • The importance of having high expectations of all children because invariably children will meet the high expectations you have of them.
  • How the Pharaoh's motorbike in a production of Joseph and his Technicolor Dreamcoat enthralled and energised one boy who was a reluctant learner.
  • Teaching is all about having a transformational impact on children and making their lives much better because you have taught them.

You can connect with Sandy on Twitter @thornton_sandy 

Looking at the learning through the eyes of the child with Cara Carter

Looking at the learning through the eyes of the child with Cara Carter

August 4, 2021

Cara Carter has just qualified and starts her NQT/ECT year in September in a school in North Essex. Her first career was as a garment technologist (and the shimmering drape behind her in her picture shows she intends to use this talent to the full to brighten her classroom!). In this podcast Cara shares with us her light bulb moment, the turning point in her training year, when she came to realise the importance of looking at the learning through the eyes of the child. 

During our conversation we discussed ...

  • The fact that teaching is such a challenge and that is what makes it so enjoyable.
  • How working with 1 teacher makes you think 'That's how I am going to do it' before seeing another and thinking 'Oooh that's good', then realising that you can learn useful things from every teacher you observe before deciding on your own unique approach. 
  • How devastated she felt when she taught a lesson and introduced all sorts of relevant ideas, only to realise the key learning in the lesson was not secure because she wasn't seeing the learning through the eyes of the children. This was the turning point in her training year.
  • The importance of having the extra ideas to introduce in lessons, but only teaching them to the children who need them, not to everybody.
  • The value of asking the right question at the right time.
  • How essential it is to find out what children have been taught and more importantly what they have learnt and retained before moving them on.
  • How knowing where the children are in their learning makes it much easier to take them forwards step by step in manageable chunks. This is what it means to look through the eyes of the child to understand what they need to learn next.

 

What I wish I knew with James Troughton

What I wish I knew with James Troughton

July 28, 2021

James Troughton is a primary school teacher. His route into teaching took him through 2 non-teaching occupations and a couple of years in South Korea (where he got his first taste of teaching), before returning to England and training to teach with the Essex and Thames Primary Consortium. Although he only qualified in 2014, he is now Assistant Head at Newlands Spring Primary School. He combines this demanding role with fatherhood and being a published author of science fiction stories. He is one busy man!

During our conversation we discussed ...

  • The value of teaching abroad to wide your experience.
  • The joy of seeing young children get excited by learning.
  • The demands posed in your first morning as a teacher and how to get through it.
  • The challenge of coping with the hundreds of micro decisions you have to make everyday as a teacher.
  • How important it is to be excited by what you are teaching and the value of inspiring children with your passion, whatever that might be, so that they can develop their own unique talents.
  • Knowing when to stop working at the end of the day, because more tweaking of the plan is unlikely to make a significant difference to the quality of learning.
  • The value of observing other teachers to develop your own teaching strategies.
  • Using all you have learnt from other teachers to develop your own unique teaching style. There are loads of ways to be a great teacher, so be yourself, don't try to be like anyone else.
You can connect with James on:
Twitter: @JRTroughton
LinkedIn: James Troughton
You can find out about James' science fiction stories at: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7203144.James_Troughton 
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