I imagined that I would eventually reply, having so proudly told people I'd been invited, but be told it was too late. It was the perfect get-out clause to all the people I'd told about it, concealing my cowardly fear. However, the team at @BeyondLevels had other ideas, and I am so grateful they did! That very same day, I received another email, signalling that someone was still considering me. It was a sign. Firstly, of my apparent need to grow and pair and give it a go, and secondly that I might have something of value to contribute.
I arrived to hear someone call my name - it was Dave, my minder for the day.
"I've been following your Twitter and reading your blog for ages. You've got some great stuff coming out!" I felt immediately calmer, everyone was so welcoming!
I walked into a room (where the biscuits were kept) to see that people had actually signed up to see me, and the list was growing!?! I can't describe how strange that feeling was. (I hope it was worth seeing!?!)
I listened to Doctors, Senior Leaders, well-travelled researchers and authors. People whose papers I'd read, or videos I'd watched. There was a strong sense of community in the room; strength in ownership.
1pm. Workshop time. People walked in. I'm proud of myself for not passing out instantly. I'm still shocked they were there. With a limit on each workshop, we were at full capacity.
Unsurprisingly, the workshop went by in a blur, but like all good nights out, it begins to come back to you the morning after.
Thank you so much to everyone at #LearningFirst for their kind words of encouragement and support. I want to have another go, just so I can right my wrongs:
To everyone I met, sat with, ate chocolate with...
To all the names on my sign-up sheet...
To the likes of Kerry Jordan-Daus (for the best hugs), Mary Myatt (whose voice I could listen to for hours), Binks Neate-Evans (whose presentation on learning from the Early Years was one of my highlights), Ruchi Sabharwal (one of most encouraging speakers I've ever heard), Lucy Rimmington (telling it like it is), Julie Lilly (for whooping at my name during the role call) and Dame Alison Peacock (who was the best first person to be greeted by as I walked in)...
Learning has no limits. And, slowly, I'm discovering that neither do I!
Thank you! Mr N. x
The countdown to the #LearningFirst Conference is down to single figures, and I might be the most frightened I've ever been. Saying that, I'm so grateful to everyone at @BeyondLevels, and Canterbury Christ Church, for offering me the opportunity to push myself outside of my comfort zone - I'm excited to learn from this experience.
As part of a packed programme, I've been asked to present a workshop, detailing different ideas regarding living in a world without levels, which, to me, is the best scenario; take back control of assessment, and put learning first. Amongst an itinerary of PhDs, Masters Graduates and big names, I'm hoping to be the reassuring voice of you - the teacher. I'm petrified, but looking forward to meeting you.
Naturally, my learners are far braver than I am, so I've roped them in to help me. Here's a preview of what you can expect...
See you at the weekend!
In a previous setting, I remember a big debate forming part of a staff meeting; how can we change the phrase 'Book Scrutiny' to something less demonic? For many, these two words send a shock of fear down the spine. However, I fail to think of many professions that don't encompass some form of Quality Assurance, and ours is no different. Moreover, it shouldn't be. It's just, as per usual, the strategies employed have often left a bad taste in people's mouths, resulting in negative connotations of such actions: scrutiny, observation, audit...sweating yet? Don't.
The silly thing is, unsurprisingly, whatever you call the Quality Assurance in any profession, its primary objective remains the same. Therefore, it's not the idea of being scrutinised that we don't like - it's the idea of 'failing' it. Furthermore, it's the proceeding steps that cause the discomfort; what happens next? That's the bit we need to get better at. It's common sense to check the quality of a product. Your car goes for an MOT, restaurants leave you a comment card, and I know you've heard of Trip Advisor. It's a necessity. Often misconducted.
My post today comes with a couple of aims:
Below, you will find 2 pieces of writing, each, from a small group of children in my English class. They will be presented as a series of paired sliding photos; one pair per child.
My writing process is very much based on Pie Corbett's methods. I first starting writing about him here. Check it out!
I teach writing using a three step process. I presented each step in 3 separate blogs that you can read by clicking below:
I was once asked how I plan English. After giving a terrible verbal answer, I wrote it down. Give that a read here and here.
All of my teaching relates to what I call the ToolBox. Whether displayed or otherwise, you can read more about that (with free resources) here.
Now I feel scared. I wonder if I'm actually brave enough to press POST.
Disclaimer. I'm more than aware we are very much 'working towards' age expectations. However, I am so proud of how far they have come in a single term, and I am really looking forward to building on our strong foundations. I am pleased to be developing a class of young writers, who are seeing themselves as such; writers. We will add further tools to our ToolBox in the coming terms. Let me know if you'd like updates!
I must confess to my love of sticky notes. You know, the non-specific, unbranded, squared sheet of paper with an adhesive strip on the back. They're perfect for posting ideas and attaching them to the wall. For a couple of years, not consecutively, I would write down my ambitions for the coming 12 months, and have them displayed in my bedroom. Interestingly, the years I didn't do this were far less successful, just generally.
Now I have this platform. So here we go:
1. #WeeklyBlogChallenge17 - I am aiming to post one blog every weekend in 2017. This is likely my biggest target for the year, and I have a few titles and creative ideas in mind. However, I worry about my commitment. Is it possible to run out of words? Fortunately, there's a glorious network of aid out there! Friends, family, colleagues and pupils, who have been there since the very beginning of teachmrn.com, have been so generous in their support and constructive feedback, leading to the exciting directions this could go in. I'm also proud to be part of a growing network of teaching-types on Twitter and Instagram. If you're ever questioning this profession, head there; it's astounding.
2. Share More - As part of my target above, I want to offer more to my audience. I quite enjoy making and designing solutions to problems and, I imagine, with both you and I in the same field, you might find similar issues. So it would be silly of me not to share my solutions (because I'm always using yours!). At the request of some lovely Twitter followers, I am already preparing to post examples of my planning, and I also want to start sharing opportunities for our school communities to collaborate. We can start with these:
3. Take More Risks - The trouble with the 2 targets above, is that you leave yourself open to a lot of criticism, but in a game of self-improvement, that's a risk worth taking. Many of my resources, in various media, have taken hours to create, so a bad response would be crushing. But the idea that it helps even just one person is far more valuable. I'd like to create a new app this year. I still can't get over each sale of Booked, especially from around the world, and I'm so grateful for the feedback. I'm also presenting a workshop at #LearningFirst later this month. Again, I think I'll learn a lot more from the experience, than anyone sat there will learn from me! (Get the apologies in early!)
4. The Rest - In a time where health and well-being are much publicised, I am looking for more instances to travel, meet people and broaden my horizons with regards to professional opporunities and personal experiences. I am in a lucky position where a lot of my personal worth comes from my professional life, becaused I enjoy what I do. Although, in many ways, that's probably not the healthiest way to be. If anything, I'd like to find a way to encourage others, regardless of what they do, to show passion, spread positivity and be more nuturing to the talents of others, like I have found since the launch of this site.
You have a lot to offer, and don't you forget it.
What are your targets for this year? And how will you go about achieving them?
2017 absolutely terrifies me, but in the best possible way.
That was a LONG sticky note!