Tuesday, 10 August 2010

People in glass houses...

Every so often, you start to think about things in more detail. With me it is not a regular occurance. I have what my wife calls selective ignorance syndrome (my apologies if this actually exists - as far as I know she made it up). All the more reason why this particular wave of fresh thinking has perturbed me. Over the last few years, I have been amending my teaching based on the needs of the children I taught and my own desire to better myself and become the teacher I wanted to be. No harm in that, but I was looking inwards, seeing myself as the only one who needed my help.
Selfish. In a way, yes. What I perceived was that by furthering myself as a teacher, I would be better able to meet the needs of the learners in my care. If I had been a deeper thinker, or a more humble person, I might have considered how I could help my colleagues by looking outwards. Be that as it may, I have reached a point in my career where I feel that a strong, well-rounded collective is far more beneficial to the long term success of children than any one maverick teacher - however good he purports to be.
That's one reason why I am ready for the next step. A new challenge where I am able to provide opportunities for others to develop their skills with my support - and where I can develop my own through theirs. There's really nothing groundbreaking about this type of thinking. What's new is that I seem to have somehow changed my perspective on my individual role. When did this happen? Seemingly overnight as far as I can tell.
With the disappearance in the UK of various Quangos & agencies due to the new hegemony, I fear that schools will potentially lose the support networks that they have relied upon for the last 10 years. Networks which supply CPD, resources, advisors & opportunities. That's why looking outward is more important than ever. We are all in glass houses, but rather than cover them up in our own individual maverick ways I suggest we could open the doors and paint the outsides of each others, showing our colleagues across districts, counties & countries that, actually, together we are able to provide CPD without the approval or consent of the status quo.
Take the upcoming event at our school - teachmeet Blackpool - for instance. Tom Sale & I went to an event last year, around autumn in Manchester & were so enthused by the potential of it, that we immediately set about planning our own. Once that was done, the response from local schools - those away from the 'twitterverse' prompted us to rethink our approach to the next event. We wanted TeachMeets to reach everyone, rather than solely those who were actively looking for the next challenge. So far we think we are on the way to achieving this. Lots of local teachers, to whom the concept of a TeachMeet is alien, are attending. The hope is that, very soon, they will take the benefits back to those who didn't want to come & the next teachmeet will be bigger, locally & nationally - perhaps even internationally.

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