After 15 years in the job, I’ve had my fair share of professional development about the importance of developing my teaching craft to better meet the needs of the young people in my care.
And I get it. I really do. It is why I am a teacher; I genuinely love spending the time on getting a kick-ass day of teaching ready to roll and seeing my students’ learning happen right before my eyes.
The problem with wanting to develop my teaching craft is finding the time. As a rough-enough guide, between 8.30am and 3pm my time is spent with students, with a short toilet stop and a snack on the run.
The hours either side of that are jam-packed with administrative meetings that I am required to be at. I get scheduled to turn up in the staffroom before and after school so senior leaders can talk at me about how to email home, use the student management system, write reports, run a parent-teacher conference, find out the learning needs and pastoral needs of this cohort, action the school’s strategic vision, implement a BYOD rollout, hear about the uniform issues or be instructed on how to marshall students for a sports day, a house day, a matariki festival or a prizegiving.
When I first started teaching, there would be the teachers that bought their pile of marking as both a form of protest and as a way of getting the job done. Nowadays these teachers hide behind their laptop screen sending emails to parents or marking those digital submissions and no-one says anything much for fear of the meeting running on.
I have had enough agendas that tick off committee obligations, act as pseudo-consultation or function as whole-staff reprimands for jobs left undone by some. I have had enough of speakers that use circa 1993 powerpoint skills to monologue at me while preaching co-construction and differentiation. I have had enough of being at school until after 5pm, then sitting down after dinner to ponder about how to best teach the next sequence of learning.
To make it through another 15 years, I need my working days to be different. Starting now, I want working conditions that build time into my working day to inquire into my own teaching, I want to observe my peers in their classrooms and be inspired by how they teach, I want to be coached into new insights. I want the chance to tell my stories. Above all, I want to leave meetings with jobs done, not with a new list of jobs to do.
Let’s meet up about purpose, possibilities and pedagogy. Email me about digital moderation, detentions and duty.
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