Skip to main content

My Teacher Toolkit

New academ

Recently quite a few bloggers have been writing to their younger selves.  Their intention is to impart some advice in order to tackle the challenges ahead.  This is the first in a mini-series of posts related to getting ready for the new academic year.  I’m hoping that some will find these tips useful.  I’m starting with revisiting my toolkit.  As I begin to get ready for my 9th year in the classroom, I’ve reflected upon the tools that are really useful to me on a day to day basis.  There are also a few thrown in from a Curriculum Leader perspective that my NQT self at 24 years would have found useful. I’ve tried to add in a short explanation from a personal perspective. 

The list is not exhaustive, and I’ve only included those that I use on pretty much a daily basis.  Also bear in mind that my commute to work consists of a 45 minutes train journey with some walks on each side.

In no particular order:

Good Coffee.photo

A good friend and all round inspirational bod Ollie Bray  passed on the following pearl of wisdom: ‘Life is too short for bad coffee.’  I’m not a coffee addict, but decent coffee is a morale booster! Instant coffee is not quite evil, but it’s just not the same.

3G Donglephoto2

Attitudes to blocking excellent sites that help learning is frustrating.  This helps get around it, mainly when planning lessons in PPA time.  Also very useful for clearing my work inbox during the morning commute – I rarely check school email outside of school.

Moleskinphoto3

Although I may move in digital worlds, I’m an analogue thinker. I like writing down stuff and plan lessons for the first time in long hand / random doodles / arrows.  I like Moleskin notebooks as they have a handy pocket in the back and an elastic type fixy thing to stop stuff falling out.

Leads and stuffphoto4

My school bag is full of leads:

  • Kensington PC remote – great for allowing me to be anywhere in the room and still control my school machine. I also love using a Mac, Keynote and the Keynote Remote for iPhone. I don’t have a teacher desk, and getting anywhere I like in the room allows subtle classroom management and ensures that I ‘own’ the space.
  • Good quality headphones – Good for the commute and great for creating a little space to think in a noisy school when on PPA.
  • VGA lead – and all sorts of stuff to ensure I can connect my technology with a projector and speakers – basically a little IT tool kit
  • Chargers – for everything
  • 4 way extension lead – you can never have enough power..
  • Card Reader – very, very handy

ColleaguesP3050097

I work with a great bunch of people.  I try to get into the staff room as much as possible in order to share experiences – both good and bad.  If you’re not careful, teaching can isolate the teacher. This sometimes means that a mindset develops where everything is going wrong / is your fault.  Talking to people in the staff room, not working through every lunch and break time and having a laugh are important. 

As a Curriculum Leader, looking after people are important.  We hold meetings in cafe’s, tea rooms and the occasional pub.  Productivity and creativity goes up.  Teachers can leave a school and still be professional.

Finally, look after the following people: caretakers, reprographics technician, IT technicians, all Office staff, the Head’s PA, the Minibus trainer. It’s these people that make the school work and who are the most useful when you need help.

Friends, family and Plans DSC03405

They will always be there for you when school is getting you down.  Always support your mad cap schemes and always provide the tea, ale and malt.  Don’t forget to take the time to maintain the relationships that you’ll need throughout your career. 

Also have plans.  Climb a mountain, go skiing, go running, zorb, jump off a cliff, cycle the length of Wales.  Life really isn’t all about school or the classroom. Taking a break will result in more ideas, inspiration and opportunities for good ale.

Always have a Plan B for when things don’t go exactly right in the classroom.

Kindle

I force myself to read for pleasure, even during term time.  My reading rate may decline, but I read on the way home.  This forces me to switch off and is a source for many lesson ideas.

iPhone

Especially Evernote, Dropbox, calendar and Geocaching. 

Connect with others

Read blogs.  Connect through Twitter to other teachers. Learn.  I wish that I knew that during my NQT year. Banter, support, laughs, ideas, motivation, recognition, banter……. You lot are great!

Also, if I had my time again, I would have this reflective blog from the start.  It’s a great space to hammer out ideas and the process of writing, drafting and publishing is rather quite cleansing.

And last but not least, a sense of adventure, humour and some comfy shoes Winking smile

What are your must have tools?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

#GAConf22: A paradigm shift for anti-racist, decolonised teaching and inclusion

 " You can't start a fire,  You can't start a fire without a spark" Bruce Springsteen.  Well, it's been a fair while since I felt the motivation or the need to blog. Whilst not a story for now, over the past five years I've danced along the knife edge and, often, the call of the abyss has been both tempting and compelling. Certainly, my failing in both my personal and professional life have been numerous. But. This is not about me, but the people that have (re)ignited the spark to the fire in my soul. I realise that this is from the perspective of a privileged, white, middle class male view. I even have a beard. I am scared of getting it wrong on this topic. Teach me if I am wrong, it is from the position of a learner. I was looking forward to the GA Conference this year, the first face to face since 2019. I have to say that Alan , as president, and the Geographical Association's team did a fantastic job at being inclusive. The hybrid format allowed peopl

What makes a learning experience profound? Personal reflections and possible implications for classroom practice.

I have recently begun a Leadership Pathways journey.  As part of the first core day, we were asked to reflect on a profound learning experience. This got me thinking about how many profound learning experiences I have both been involved in, and how many I have been able to give to others.  Our group came up with a huge long list, but these are my five. Emotional Connected Demanding Reflective Collaborative As always, these are personal thoughts and quite mixed up.  I put them here so that I can look back on them (plus they’d get lost inside my world-cup-free brain) 1. Emotional I can’t think of a time where deep learning hasn’t engaged my emotions.  From being awe inspired to that tingle feeling when a student gets a light bulb moment.  From this-is-the-happiest-day-ever, to I-think-I’m-about-to die.  How often do we engage the emotions of those we teach?  Here, I would argue that having a safe learning environment is not always conducive to profound

Trust and support our school leaders, the role of the governing body in the Covid times

One of the roles that I love is being the Chair of a Governing Body.  The aim of this post is to share what we are doing, as a Board, during these difficult time.  I will refrain from commenting on the role of the Government, DfE and local authority as I intend for this to be both a positive and useful post. What is clear is that governing bodies have a crucial part to play. I am grateful both to the brilliant Clerk and the National Governance Association whose Covid advice pages are fantastic. Firstly; from the outset, the brilliant leadership team that I work with have my unwavering and public support. Regardless. As this is a fast evolving crisis, often with pages of advice, guideline and directives to decipher and digest on a daily basis. As such, the role of governing bodies is twofold: 1.  to prioritise the providing of support to the Headteacher and all colleagues in the school, and 2. to allow them to get on with operational matters and decision making. The role of