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Miscellaneous

My Thoughts On Every Kid Needs A Champion

  • Category: Miscellaneous

You may have seen or heard the current stereotypes surrounding teachers in the media. For example, they teach for the long holidays, and they do not have to like the children in their care. These unflattering and over exaggerated thoughts couldn't be further from the truth. As a teacher myself, we go into the profession brimming with passion and a deep desire to make a difference to the education of impressionable young individuals.

This ideology led me to stumble upon Rita Pierson's highly inspirational Ted Talk 'Every Kid Needs A Champion'.

Rita's TED Talk is rooted in her extensive experience teaching underprivileged children but it's seasoned with her abundance of energy and humour making it such an engaging and powerful video to watch and learn from!

Rita's humorous speech focuses on the sheer importance and often under-valued, need to build lasting relationships with the children in your care. As a former teacher myself, I wholeheartedly agree with her viewpoints and I feel that in an increasingly results-driven, policy ruled world, education is losing the importance of making the classroom environment a place where children are happy and feel supported, no matter what their abilities are.

As many of us will have experienced in observations concerning the "learning environment", we seem to be wholly graded on displays and not on the true nature of what "learning environment" means. Rita's ideology on how to enforce positivity in any circumstance is a welcome change to the current circumstances of education and her simple tactics on this are something I would include in my own pedagogy.

Her talk re-affirmed my central educational beliefs and it was a delight to watch and listen to someone so enthusiastic and inspiring.

I was also rather saddened to learn that Rita, unfortunately, passed away in 2013. However, her perspective on the true value of education and relationship building is such a fantastic legacy to leave behind, along with the many students she inspired from the many wonderful years she spent in the classroom.

Her sensational Ted Talk is something I would recommend every teacher watch!

We'd love to hear your thoughts on Rita's Ted Talk so do let us know in the comments or by getting in touch with us on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.

Stories Straight From The Classroom

  • Category: Miscellaneous

To mark the end of National Story Telling Week, we asked a whole range of teachers and education professionals on what their most heartwarming, amusing and inspiring stories they have to tell. 

 

I had a student last year who would always walk into my classroom in the funniest way possible. He always brightened my morning. His face would always be beaming as I waited to see what creative way he invented to enter the room that day, making his performance all the more fun to watch. - Doug James

Triangle Maths EquipmentI was working with a bright seventh-grader on his take-home geometry work. One question asked for the perimeter of a diagrammed triangle, but only two sides of the triangle were labelled. He had no idea how to answer the question. It happened to be a right triangle, so I told him that while I was absolutely positive it wasn't the method his teacher intended him to use I could show him a way to find the missing side. We spent half an hour on the Pythagoras Theorem and he loved it. The next time I saw him I asked how he'd done. The teacher had given him full marks but was bewildered that my student had used an algebraic theorem to solve a simple addition problem. (They hadn't even covered exponents yet.) Apparently the class was supposed to find the length of the missing side of the triangle by... literally measuring it with a ruler. The student and I agreed our way was better. - Reddit User

 

Years ago, when I taught 5th and 6th grade, a girl came to me after Christmas with her brand new Sponge Bob watch on her wrist. "Miss," she said. "I think my watch is broken." She held out her wrist. "It says '8 S L'" "Here, sweetie," I responded as I unbuckled the buckle. "Let's put that on right-side up for you." - Jennelle Zarn

 

I taught English at a high school in Spain last year. We did a geography exercise where I would pronounce the English version of a country or body of water's name, and they would repeat it in unison. I came a across the Aegeon Sea, and I had no idea how to pronounce it. In my flustered confusion I tried, and said "AY-jeein sea... I think," and without hesitation everyone repeated "Aegean-Sea-I-Think." I lost it, and to this day I'm pretty sure they still don't know why. - Reddit User

 

Teacher and StudentOne of the most memorable inspiring stories I have to tell about one of my students was seeing them go from being a complete mute at the beginning of the year to a confident individual by the end of the year. It took a lot of motivation and grit and salt determination but the rewards was endless. A moral from this story would be don't be afraid to push your student out of their comfortable zone there is so much adventure and opportunities outside of their comfort zone - Miss G

 

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Ray Of Sunshine

  • Category: Miscellaneous

In the first of our blog posts for 'National Story Telling Week', SEN specialist teacher and therapist, Nicky Harvey relays her fond memories of a kind hearted student who flourished in an autism friendly environment. Nicky regularly shares inspiring anecdotes and teaching ideas on her blog 'The Journal Of Miss H'. You can also find Nicky on Facebook and Twitter.

"Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves." James M Barrie

Ray Of Sunshine

It's that time of year when I reflect on the past few months and make changes for the new term. One person that sticks to mind is a 10 year old boy who I've renamed Ray for this article. Ray is a sensitive, artistic and kind hearted boy on the Autistic Spectrum. He joined my class towards the end of the Spring term at a busy time last year, but slotted in perfectly. Like many children with autism, he had experienced a great deal of upheaval in life because of his diagnosis.

Autism is a developmental condition affecting how a person perceives the world around autism3them. This can include difficulties with social interactions; expressing feelings; nonverbal and verbal communication with others. There are over 700,000 people living with autism in the UK, with 2.8 million people affected in some form by the condition, and the numbers are rising.

Ray was born in south-eastern Asia, to loving parents who were pleased to have a healthy happy baby boy. Ray's parents soon discovered he behaved differently compared to other children, but assumed he was a late developer. Upon reaching school age and starting at elementary school, Ray's parents received feedback with hints of his specific learning needs and behaviour traits. The school tried their best, but due to firmly rooted cultures and learning customs, they were unable to understand, teach or effectively communicate with Ray.

After originally leaving the UK for Thailand over 10 years ago, to start a new life in the sun, Ray's parents felt they had no choice but to pack up, close the family business and return to England. His family wanted Ray to receive the education, empathy and therapeutic support he was entitled to.

"Get to know someone on the autistic spectrum and your life will truly be blessed!" Stephanie L. Parker

Upon arrival in the UK, Ray was assessed and diagnosed as a child on the autistic spectrum and was given a Statement from his local authority detailing his academic, social and therapeutic needs. He also joined a local mainstream primary school which recruited a 1:1 learning support assistant to support Ray. At first, everything seemed great because on the surface, the school wanted to offer inclusive provision for Ray to access the curriculum and participate in school activities. However, in reality, within Ray's classroom and wider school environment, the understanding of autistic behaviours and his learning style were not there.1280-Are-You-Sort-Of-A-Loser-Dont-Worry-It-Means-Youre-Probably-Really-Creative.

In the end Ray was asked to spend most of his time away from his classroom to learn in a private room with his 1:1. He would spend around 80% of his time reading books and drawing pictures alone, whilst his classmates undertook timetabled activities together throughout the school day. To make matters worse, invitations to class birthday parties and playdates began to dry up and he became more and more isolated as the years past by. Ray's parents felt he had been rejected and misunderstood by the school because he could not conform. He was simply being himself: a non-violent, inquisitive and self-conscious wide eyed boy, unable to completely read social situations.

Every day presented a new challenge for Ray's parents, who over the years constantly battled to get the school community to recognise their son's needs.

Fortunately, Ray's parents refused to give up and like many parents in similar situations, entered a lengthy legal tribunal for his transfer to a school with an autistic friendly environment. The dark cloud hoovering over Ray's education eventually lifted when his parents won their legal case. Lucky for me, Ray became our ray of sunshine when he joined school I worked in.

"Every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being re-directed to something better." ― Steve Maraboli

Blue Sky and SunshineRay's presence was immediately felt in my class. This bright, peaceful and charming young boy could not believe his new surroundings as he looked around in amazement during his first few weeks. All of a sudden, Ray was with other children presenting their own unique traits; he had full access to the National Curriculum through multi-sensory learning; integrated therapies; and was exposed to visual timetables and SEN resources to help clarify activities and set expectations.

Understandably, because Ray had been through a lot of rejection in the past and was unable to express his feelings, he felt anxious about being not being good enough to remain in the school. He would repeatedly ask me: "Am I being a good boy?", "Can we have a class photo with me in it? or "Are you happy with me?" It was heart breaking to experience and hear his fears and vulnerability. Ray had been isolated and conditioned by educators to feel like he was misbehaving for being autistic.

Over time, with lots of support and reassurance, Ray released some of his anxieties and started to believe in his abilities. His artistic side, humour, quirky personality and kind nature began to shine. He slowly improved his social skills; and continues to be assured that it is okay to feel and express different emotions. Ray is now set to move up a class group in September and has come a long way since starting at the school.

"Never be a victim of life; be its conqueror." ― Mike Norton

I am incredibly proud to work with children like Ray. Every day I learn about what it means to go through turbulent life events at a young age, and come through it all with immense courage, inner strength, humility and a grateful heart. In Ray's case there was a fundamental lack of understanding; and insufficient special needs training at his autism2mainstream school.

Cases like this are becoming more familiar within schools. So much so, the Department for Education recently called for "a sound understanding of special educational needs" to be delivered in university training before student teachers can become qualified class teachers. This is NOT to say all mainstream schools show a disservice to children with autism because many schools provide excellent inclusive SEN learning environments. In some cases children simply cannot access mainstream because their needs are greater than what can be provided in a class of 30 kids, not because of the school.

A great deal needs to be done to raise awareness of autism and other specific learning needs within schools, communities and wider environments. This applies to the UK and internationally. After experiencing Ray's journey, I hope that one day we come to a stage in education where every child is treated equally and has the support and compassion they truly deserve.

Yours truly,
Miss H ♥

This article has been reproduced with the kind permission of Nicky Harvey. The original article can be found on 'The Journal Of Miss H'.

5 Amazing Reasons To Celebrate World Teacher Day

  • Category: Miscellaneous

World Teachers DayTeachers across the world have reason to celebrate as October the 5th marks World Teacher Day! Teachers are without a doubt some of the most inspirational, important and influential figures across the globe and great teachers have the capabilities of unleashing a wealth of wisdom that is soaked up by students. In this blog we take a look at why teacher and all the efforts they make should be celebrated by all!

1. Teachers are Inspirational

There's no question about it, teachers ARE inspirational. They give hope when students feel that all is lost and they give their time and effort into helping you reach every single one of their student's goals. Teachers offer their wisdom, expertise and passion in order to help their students enjoy learning and get the very best out of spending most of their day in school.

2. Teachers work hard.... Very, very hard.

Teachers don't stop when the bell rings at the end of the day. There's after school revision sessions, planning next terms exciting lessons and making sure pupils get appropriate feedback in order to progress and that's just scratching the surface of it! Teachers often bring masses of work home with them just so they can give their all to make a real difference to the kids in their class.

3. Teachers care ever so much.

They don't just care about grades or how well their pupils doing in lessons, they take a genuine interest in the lives of their students. Fantastic teachers show so much interest into life outside of the classroom especially when there students are concerned. Some teachers even go out of their way to support students in there extracurricular activities.

4. Teachers teach more than their subject

You kind of guessed that teachers obviously teach, but have you ever considered that teachers teach so much more than their own subject or specialism? Values, manners, behaviour, self-discipline and how to be kind are at the heart of every teacher's lesson. 

5. Teachers shape the future of every single one of their students' lives.

Without someone to guide, inspire and care, where would some of the world's greatest, leaders, celebrities and stars be? Maya Angelou, the highly renowned author whose work has been read and idolised by both children and adult alike may never have been able to produce the stunning pieces of literature that she did if it weren't for her neighbour turned teacher, Mrs Flowers. Mrs Flowers encouraged her to read, taking her to the library and telling her to read every book within the small room. As she read, Angelou found a love of poetry, a love that was deepened as Mrs. Flowers had her come to her house and read to her, so that Angelou could really learn to love poetry as she spoke it aloud. – Source: Online Universities

Whether you have a family member or friend who is currently a teacher of if you have a colleague who is in this brilliant profession, do make the effort to thank them for the contributions they make to the lives of every student. Teachers, we salute you!

Exciting Activities For Teachers To Do In The Summer Holidays!

  • Category: Miscellaneous

The 6 weeks holidays are just around the bend and teachers and students will be taking some much needed time of away from the classroom. Naturally, the summer holidays have a tendency to fly by and become a distant memory by September, so here are some fantastic ideas to enable you to make the most of your well-earned break!

Have Some Much Needed Me Time

Relax

Fully relax and unwind this summer with an array of soothing and peaceful activities. Be sure to fully recharge yourself ready for the new school year with these suggestions

  • Spend the day in bed – Curl up in a blanket, open the DVD boxset and spend the day totally immersed in quality films or TV.
  • Book a Spa treatment – Head to your local spa and try out the many treatments they have from floatation therapy, massages and facials.
  • Meditate – Evidence suggest that two sessions of meditation daily can relive stress and depression.
  • Read a book – Uncover the likes of J.K Rowling, Stephen King and countless other authors. Find a quite spot and let the pages turn. If you're feeling ambitious you could even have a go at writing your own material!

Try A New Hobby

Try a New Hobby

We understand that teachers can sometimes struggle in keeping up a hobby as well as working in a worthwhile profession. The 6 weeks summer holidays are the perfect time to discover a new interest and here are some we have suggested below.

  • Attend a cookery class – Inspired by the likes of Jamie Oliver and Mary Berry? Look for a local cookery class and hone your skills in the kitchen. There are many to styles and cuisines to suit you and your tastes.
  • Get Dancing – If you enjoy watching shows like Strictly Come Dancing or popular dance films like Step Up, why not give your local schools dance classes a try? Dancing is an amazing activity that burns calories, enables you to socialise with others and improves your overall fitness.
  • Make Music – Everyone takes comfort and enjoyment in music but imagine the possibility of creating your own unique sound. Why not have a got a trying a new instrument. From the double bass all the way to the bassoon there's an instrument for everyone.

Embrace The Outdoors

Embrace The Outdoors

Now that you're out the classroom, you can make the most of the potentially good weather the UK has to offer. Make sure you don't spend all your time indoors by trying these outdoors activities.

  • Head To Beach – It wouldn't be the summer holidays without a trip to the beach! Grab your bucket and spades, and head down to the coastal areas for a day of sun, sea and sand. Also, fresh Fish and chips on the beach is a must.
  • Go Camping – Camping Holiday's may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it is something we highly recommend. Get back to nature and spend a few days outdoors in the countryside.
  • Bike Riding – Find local riding routes in your town and spend the day with your feet on the pedals. Bike rides are hugely popular and sociable activity if done in groups.
  • Have a BBQ – It wouldn't be summer without a traditional BBQ. Get the coals hot, bang on the food and have a fun filled evening with your friend and family. You could even invite your teaching colleagues too!

Get Planning For The New School Year

Get Planning For The New School Year

As much as summer is the time for relaxing and unwinding, it's always best to get a head start for the new school term. With new classes, new pupils and maybe even a new role, we recommend the following in order to get you ready for the September term. Spend a no more than a few hours a week ensuring that your curriculum knowledge is up to date, your lessons are planned and your classroom displays are sorted. Getting ready for the new school year can get you buzzing for excitement for when you return to the classroom!

Use Your Skills To Help Others

Teacher and Student

Teachers are without a doubt, some of the most skilled and knowledgeable people who have the necessary tools to help others. If teachers have exhausted the above suggestions and are itching to get back into the classroom there is an array of opportunities to enable them to use their highly advanced skillset to make a difference. If you have a subject specialism, tutoring is one key way you can help a person over the summer break. Some students and even adults need additional support in order for them to progress on a particularly week area. Tutoring also allows you to earn additional income over the summer, giving you that little bit extra!

We'd love to hear your thoughts on Summer suggestions so do let us know in the comments or by getting in touch with us on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.

Celebrating The School Nurse!

  • Category: Miscellaneous

Celebrating School Nurse DaySchools across the UK are made of an incredible team from teachers, classroom assistants, pastoral staff and many other important figures. But one thing every school has a place for is the school nurse.

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New Infographic: Benefits of Supply Teaching

  • Category: Miscellaneous

Why should I become a supply teacher? Supply Teaching is a fantastic way of experiencing the very best of various schools and classrooms. Recently we blogged about all aspects of Supply Teaching in a great FAQ post 'The Supply Teacher Job FAQ'. We've complied all the great benefits of becoming a supply teacher in this fantastic teaching infographic. 

Benefits of Supply Teaching Infographic

The Experts Guide To Supply Teaching

  • Category: Miscellaneous

Kickstart Your Career In Supply Teaching! 

Supply TeachingThis blog was partially updated on the 10th October 2017 for improved accuracy and comprehensiveness.

 

As you probably know, a supply teacher covers lessons across the curriculum on a daily basis or short-term period in the absence of the timetabled class teacher. Supply teachers play a crucial part in ensuring the continuous progression in students' learning during these absences. However, what makes a supply teacher truly exceptional? How can current supply teachers make even more of an impact in the classroom?

How To Become A Supply Teacher

As outlined above, a supply teacher is a regular classroom teacher. Because of this, teachers must hold UK Qualified Teacher Status which can be obtained by a PGCE, Schools Direct, School-Centred Initial Teacher Training and various other routes into teaching as outlined by the Department of Education.

When a teacher opts for working on a supply basis, the easiest option they can do is to register with a teaching agency. Agencies are the most common way for teachers to find local work. As a supply teacher, your agency acts as your employer rather than the school, therefore it is important to form a positive working relationship with them in the same way you would strive to achieve this when working in a school.

Building A Relationship With Your Agency

  • Always keep your agency regularly informed of your availability for work. That way, they won't contact you with work assignments that you are unable to do.
  • Changes surrounding your work life and personal life are always inevitable, e.g. you may desire to go back to working on a long-term or permanent basis or you may have a new role starting shortly. Keep your agency in the loop so they can offer an additional level of support should you require it.
  • Communication is key. An education recruitment agency has many educational practitioners on their books and many schools require support from agency staff to cover their absences. Because of this, an agency proactively will get in touch with suitable candidates for each assignment. If you are looking for daily work, it is a good idea to keep your phone ready for any morning calls. In addition to this, your consultant may send you an email and text message with some important information on too.

What Are The Benefits Of Being A Supply Teacher?

There are many fantastic benefits and advantages of supply teaching which make it a highly desirable and favourable career choice for any Primary School or Secondary School teacher.

  • On a supply basis, you can choose which days you are available for work, giving you control over the hours you can fit in in relation to your lifestyle and circumstances.
  • Most supply teaching agencies operate locally, so you can easily obtain work without the stress of having to travel too long a distance.
  • As a supply teacher, you can earn a good income without all the full-time commitments of a regular class teacher such as planning, parents' evening, tests/exams and other additional responsibilities.
  • Whilst working on a supply basis, you can get a genuine feel and understanding of schools you aspire to teach in should they be recruiting for long-term or permanent, full or part-time teaching work.
  • Work assignments in schools vary greatly. One day you could be covering a Year 1 class focusing on Literacy and the following day you could be teaching an outdoor PE lesson with students in Year 4. Having this variety enables you to gain a huge insight into a school, plus emphasising your versatility as an education professional.

What Occasional Challenges Do Supply Teachers Face?

Supply Teaching, like many other teaching jobs, has its challenges but these can be easily managed and overcome with experience, knowledge and support from your teaching agency. One common challenge that has been brought to our attention is teachers can sometimes struggle with short notice bookings. Sometimes last minute assignments are taken and teachers can have a limited time period to prepare themselves as well as their chosen method of transport. In order to stop mornings being a mad rush to the school, ensure that you are prepared by leaving your clothes out the night before and that you have your phone ready for when your agency contacts you. Despite this, some supply bookings are booked well in advance giving you extra time to prepare yourself ready for a day teaching.

As a supply teacher, it's unfortunately quite common for students under your watch to play up and misbehave due to the absence of the regular class teacher. Being a fully trained teacher, you have a clear understanding of behaviour management so make sure that when you enter a classroom you outline your behaviour expectations. Don't forget to ask your school contact as to what their rewards and sanctions policy is to maintain consistency. 

Expectations Of A Supply Teacher

  • Turn up early for supply bookings so you can be introduced to the school Cover Manager as well as any key staff members or the Senior Leadership Team.
  • Ensure that students are fully engaged with the work and complete all activities as outlined in the lesson plan. If student's complete all tasks before the lesson has finished, set them additional stretch tasks. 
    • If the lesson relies on the use of a textbook, is there another activity they could complete?
    • If there is homework to be set in the lesson, why not have them start it?
    • If there is neither a textbook or homework, get in touch with the school Cover Manager or the department lead to obtain additional work.
  • Report back to the school Cover Manager with any examples of outstanding work and behaviour as well as any issues you encountered. 

What's The Difference Between A Cover Supervisor And A Supply Teacher?

We asked a number of school Cover Managers as to whether there was any difference in terms of the responsibilities and expectations of a Supply Teacher and a Cover Supervisor. They outlined that there was no difference in terms of the job that they do but only down to qualifications. A Cover Supervisor is an unqualified teacher but with previous experience teaching in a classroom setting. A Supply Teacher has Qualified Teacher Status but all duties are the same.

If you enjoyed this blog on Supply Teacher, do let us know in the comments or by contacting us on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Google+.

The Top New Years Resolution for Educators

  • Category: Miscellaneous

The festive season is very much upon us and the Christmas Holidays are in full swing. 2016 is fast approaching and we have some fantastic suggestions for some terrific New Year's resolutions to enable you to get the most of 2016.

 

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What does The Great British Bake Off tell us about how students learn?

  • Category: Miscellaneous

This week's TV listings left us caught between the Bake off Bubble and Jamie Oliver's War on Sugar and revealed the national obsession with cooking and nutrition that has become a national obsession since the rise of the Celebrity Chef. Nadiya Hussain Great British Bake Off

Whatever we think of this national phenomenon, watching shows like bake off is a pleasure for millions, especially for our children. With 13.5 million tuning in, it has been this week's media event for Kids. With so many of our students interested in icing sugar and frosting what opportunities does this present to schools.

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