“The thing I loved the most – and still love the most about teaching – is that you can connect with an individual or a group, and see that individual or group exceed their limits.”
– Attributed to Mike Krzyzewski
I thoroughly enjoyed the role that I had last year as an RFF teacher focused on teaching digital literacies. It afforded me the opportunity to experience a wide range of students, to try pedagogical strategies with different class groups to see what worked, and on occasion, what most definitely did not work, and to get a greater feel for what kind of teacher I want to be, without the pressures of being a permanent teacher on a single class and the associated additional responsibilities that are attached to that role such as the extra administration, reports (though I had to complete reports, it was significantly less stressful and time-consuming than my colleagues), PLAN data, parent communication etc.
This year, as mentioned in my previous article, I am job-sharing with a more experienced colleague on a Year Five class, and while I am feeling more nervous about teaching a single class and having those additional responsibilities, I am also more excited than I was last year. In particular, I am excited about the sentiment expressed in the opening quote. I saw growth in many of my students last year, and formed some strong working relationships with various students, however, I found it difficult jumping from class to class, or even Stage to Stage and regularly not being able to continue with a particular lesson that the class was thoroughly engaged with and where deep learning was occurring because my timetable required me to move on to the next class.
This year, whilst there is a timetable that needs to be adhered to, learning milestones that need to be hit and external factors that need to be allowed for, I will have the opportunity to really connect with my students and see them day-to-day, rather than once a week, and see learning opportunities through to completion and experience the growth across the year that students will undergo.
I met with my teaching partner, Mrs. W, a few times throughout January to get some planning and programming completed, to determine the mechanics of how the classroom would function, management strategies, division of labour across particular Key Learning Areas etc. and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that, largely, we were on the same page to begin with. Mrs. W had some fantastic ideas that she wanted to implement and she was accepting of many of my ideas.
This start makes me believe that we will be able to successfully work together during the year, as long as we continue to communicate. I have never worked in a job-sharing arrangement in any of my previous occupations, though I know many who have, and have heard both horror and success stories. I am encouraged that my school has a strong history of successful job-sharing partnerships in recent years.
The year ahead promises to be exciting, and Mrs. W and I have had lots of conversations about various programs we want to put in place including both literacy and numeracy, and classroom management.
Have you taught in a job-share arrangement before? What strategies made it successful or unsuccessful? Let me know in the comments.
After completing my initial teacher education (ITE) last year, I began casual teaching and then was targeted for a temporary teaching block this year. After tomorrow, I cease being a First Year teacher. The conversations I have had with my job-share partner for next year, Mrs W, and our classroom neighbour, Mr H, about next year leave me feeling more nervous than I did this year.
Next year I am on a class, three days per week in a job-share arrangement, and while there will naturally be some negotiation going on as to how Mrs W and I structure and run the class, I am actually feeling more nervous about my capability to actually step up. This year I have been teaching in an RFF (release from face-to-face, or non-contact) capacity, specifically teaching technology skills, and at most, I have each class for only one hour, once a week. Next year, this is no hiding, no giving them back after an hour if they or I are having an off day.
While I have plenty of support around me, colleagues, mentors, Mrs C21st and a number of students telling me that I am an excellent teacher, I still have that whisper in the back of my mind that laughs at the concept of me being a good teacher. For many teachers, or so I am led to believe, the first year old ur is the make or break year. I feel like it will be next year for me and am rather nervous about it.
This is not helped by the fact that my room for next year currently is non-functional in so far as there is no network or internet access, meaning that in a class which is supposed to be BYODD, I am unable to even mark the role or view notices on the school’s intranet. Not the most positive start to the year. Mrs W, Mr H and I have arranged already to meet during January to plan and program together, as it makes sense, given that we have the only two straight Year Five classes and are in adjoining classrooms, to work together. We have brainstormed some ideas already, and Mrs W and I are hoping to sit down after the SDD on Thursday to begin hashing out our own workload division to enable us to begin our own planning.
Additionally, I hope to find out a provisional class list so that I can sit down with the teachers in whose classes my students next year have been in this year for a handover discussion. It makes sense to me to have those conversations before the end of the year, while the students are still fresh in the various teachers’ minds in order to begin constructing a 365-Chart to allow Mrs W and myself to learn about our students, as much as we can, before the beginning of next year to enable us to build strong relationships from day one.
While I am most definitely excited to be on class next year, I am also incredibly nervous. Do you do a handover of y students? How do you manage that process? What would you like to be able to do? Let me know either in the comments, or over Twitter.
This will most likely be the last article for the year. I have spent the last few days running the AV controls for Presentation Day and the Year Six Show, and intend to spend the remainder of the yea, after tomorrow and the SDD on Thursday enjoying the new Star Wars movie (I am very excited to have tickets for the midnight premiere. yes, I am a nerd) and spending some time with Mrs C21st, preparing for Christmas. Have a safe and happy Christmas break. Take some time for your own well-being and be ready to hit the classroom refreshed and rejuvenated next year. Thank you for reading this year.
One of the most exciting and practical speakers, for me, from the FutureSchool expo in Sydney this year was the Flipped Learning Masterclass lead by Jon Bergmann that I was fortunate enough to attend. When I was offered the temporary teaching block that I have for the coming term, I decided that I was going to flip at least some of my classes.
I’ve finally finished my programming, and it is now time for the rubber to hit the road, and for me to actually record the videos that I will use with my classes. I have just finished recording and editing my first video, and it is currently rendering in Camtasia 8. It was a long process, with a lot of time devoted to my attempts to figure out the best way with the space and tools I had to record the actual video, and then how to get the video off the iPad onto the computer and into Camtasia. That was more of an ordeal than it needed to be.
This particular video is a book study in the leadup to ANZAC Day here in Australia. I was able to source the book And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda by Eric Bogle, and the song (also by Eric Bogle) of the same name. I recorded myself reading the book on an iPad, and then took a photo of each page and stitched it together.
For a first effort, I think it is reasonable. I certainly want to fine tune things for further videos, and I will be looking into chromakey to enable me to be a bit more precise with the video work.
I’d love to hear some feedback on the video from anyone who has been flipping for a while, or has experience with chromakey work as to any tips they may have.
As you may be aware from this article, I have picked up a temporary block for next term as a teacher-librarian, without a library, delivering a digital skills program. As I have been working through the process of planning and programming for the term across each stage from Early Stage One up to Stage Three, it has occurred to me that I do not know that I will be able to achieve everything that I want to achieve with each stage group.
Much of what I want students to do, and what I have been asked to do with them requires computer access, and while there are two classes trialing a BYOD program, the rest of the school has no more than two or perhaps three computers in the class, plus an internet connected interactive whiteboard, or Promethean panel. There is a bank of school laptops which can be booked for use, but of course it would be highly unfair of me to book them for the whole term, and so I need to consider how I am going to go about having students, particularly in stages two and three, complete the problem based learning research task.
This, I believe, is where the flipped class will come into play. The specific skills and concepts that students need to learn, I can record videos to teach, and utilise in-flipping, where the video is watched together in the classroom as a whole class group, or the ‘traditional’ out-flipping where the students watch the video at home and bring their learning to the classroom. I may need to apply this to the research process itself though. Have students do all, or at the least the majority of their research at home, and do the synthesis and analysis, and prepare the presentation at school, in their lessons with me.
The other alternative, which will require a conversation with a variety of stakeholders, is to arrange for BYOD for my lessons. That is, allow students with access to devices to bring them in for use in my lessons. This frees up the school’s resources for those students that do no have access to portable devices, allowing them equal opportunity to complete the learning.
I am still undecided as to which approach I will take, however the point at which I will need to implement that aspect of my program is later in the term, and so I can have that conversation over the holidays via e-mail with the school stakeholders, and then begin the dialogue with the parents early next term.
I would love to hear from any of you who have had to juggle the issues of access to resources in this manner, and how you negotiated the challenges in order to get the best outcome for your students.