Sarah Findlater is assistant principal at Riddlesdown Collegiate.
This year I am committing to ensuring I celebrate successes as much as I can, both with my staff and students alike. We all need to be and feel appreciated. I want to continue to strive to be the best leader I can; I care deeply about the staff and students I lead and hope never to stop wanting to be better for them. I have reflected a great deal about my marking and feedback practices and hope to continue improving them with my classes; it is one of the most powerful tools we have as teachers and I want my students to fully benefit from it. I have learnt a huge amount about educational technology over the last year and a half and now want to use it consistently well to help my students to progress. It is the future and we as educators are lagging behind. I have some great classes this year and I want to have fun while we learn. Here’s to a great year.
Lindsey Newman, physics teacher, Buckinghamshire.
This year I want to start leading my own department because I know my ideas work in my classroom and I want to try them out in a wider setting, I also want to be more involved in the wider running of the school. I’m being supported by my current line manager and previous head of science, who have been mentoring me in preparation for taking on some responsibility and I’m on the look out for jobs to apply for. My second career resolution is to get better at sharing resources within the department. I see so many excellent learning resources being used so often in my department and we should be better at sharing what is working and what isn’t. As teachers we are continuously reinventing the way we present information and so sharing the ways that are working can help us to plan outstanding learning experience while also saving us all some time.
Kevin Jones, headteacher at Luckwell Primary School, Bristol.
My professional resolution this year is to do everything I can to persuade people coming in to the job that despite all the uncertainty and negativity around teaching at the moment it is still an enormous privilege to work with young people in education. In practice, I want to model this around my own school by celebrating my team’s achievements loudly and publicly, and thanking those responsible sincerely for them. I want to maintain my own positive mood in the face of any latest morale-sapping policy announcement, and surround myself with colleagues who can do the same. I want to share this with the new generation of school leaders by getting more involved in induction, mentoring and coaching for new heads. Life is too short and the job too important to become jaded, especially before you’ve even started. Tim Taylor is a teacher working in Norwich, a visiting lecturer at Newcastle University. He edits and writes for Mantle of the Expert and Imaginative Inquiry. My New Year’s resolutions for 2014 are a bit coloured by a year spent on chemo tackling Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. This year I would like to spend more time teaching. My illness means I’m unlikely to take up a full-time post any time soon, but I’ve been working supply since September from nursery to year 6 and I love it. There is something wonderfully exciting about working with children across the primary age-ranges: in their different ways, they are always full of energy and always open to a challenge. Imaginative Inquiry and Mantle of the Expert are still teaching approaches outside the mainstream, but their use and application are growing and more and more schools are developing an interest. Since the start of 2013 I’ve been writing planning-resources and blogging information to support this work, I would like to do a lot more of this in 2014. I’d also like to attend more conferences and do more work supporting and working alongside other teachers. My view is teaching and learning is a complex business and we will never develop the perfect approach. But by striving towards that elusive goal through professional practice, review, and dialogue we will develop ever more effective strategies.
Joanna Duncan, history teacher Mill Hill School, London.
I decided to join Teaching Leaders last year to develop my career. The programme focuses heads of year and heads of department on raising standards, and in 2014 I will track the progress of an entire year group. I have set myself challenging targets, and will attend evening sessions and weekend seminars designed to boost my own confidence and help me achieve my goals. I’m excited about doing this over the next 18 months, as the scheme has a really good track record and should help me to improve teaching and learning in my department.
Ross Morrison-McGill, assistant vice principal (teaching and learning, continued professional development, intitial teacher training), Greig City Academy.
Those who know me as @TeacherToolkit, know that I have been using Twitter in professional and inventive ways to enhance my own professional development. Last January, I started an online campaign to use social media as a forum for my very own job hunt; an audacious move for any teacher, albeit a senior teacher. This is for a 500-mile career move from London to Scotland, utilising my Twitter followers as my eyes and ears for advert awareness and application support. After an eight-month battle to gain registration with General Teaching Council for Scotland, the online search is working and I believe Twitter, blogging and my professional learning networks will help me find a new opportunity in 2014. You should consider it too?
Peter Smith, assistant headteacher at East Bergholt School in Suffolk.
Be better at my job. Not that I’m knowingly not now, but have a fresh pair of eyes for everything I do. Not be suspicious of new or leftfield suggestion and not do things as that’s the way they’ve be done before considering whether it works. Keeping in mind what’s right, what I’m good at and listening to others. I hope through that sort of approach my career will continue to develop. The best form of personal continued professional development I’ve ever completed was by studying for my master’s in education. Through the research of educational theory, and deliberate and sustained reflection on my own professional performance. I’m going to make a concerted effort to keep this approach. I’m also going to continue to read about good practice (Twitter helps!), learn from others and reflect on what I do. I feel that this will allow me to progress my career further.
Eugene Spires, assistant headteacher for teaching and learning, The John of Gaunt School, Trowbridge.
I am looking forward to using some new video technology to reflect upon my own teaching. I have not been filmed teaching for some years but know how powerful it can be to improve practice. I am also looking forward to using this technology to support our joint practice development across the school by tapping into our extensive reserve of skill and experience to allow our staff to learn from each other in non-judgemental ways. We want individuals to be able to reflect on and improve their own practice without any input from anybody else. We want pairs of teachers and small groups to be able to use the footage for coaching conversations that will support those involved to develop a specific area if their practice. We also want to be able to share aspects of best practice across the whole school and to promote a culture of learning and developing together.