JFK declared that ‘education is the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there IS a private hope and dream, which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation.’
My private hopes and dreams are essentially that. Private – finding secret expression in certain elements of my teaching journey – filling me with fizz or frustration but staying resolutely put even as my practice improves to facilitate their fulfilment. They are something like this:
To connect with pupils and to cause effective communication.
To inspire, impart and gain continued insight. To be a good teacher that gets better.
I suppose its a cycle of sorts…
To give, to gain and to grow
To teach and be taught
In blessing to be blessed.
Sometimes, the stars collide and force a pause to question whether we’ve fundamentally cracked, or clicked. A moment, maybe once, maybe daily, and we adopt, adapt.
During my 2nd placement I began to feel the ‘click’ – I was coming together as a teacher somehow. As part of our Emotional Intelligence PLC2, I was really struck by a journal that discussed the myriad of factors that act upon a teacher to form their mentality, their motivations and subsequent pedagogy and practice, and the importance of considering this as an essential element of our teaching ability. It’s the airline oxygen mask approach really- get your own mask on before you attempt to help a child affix theirs – because losing your own air supply will wipe you clean off JFKS ‘benefitting others’ educational agenda.
We’re becoming increasingly familiar with Kolb’s approach to the reflection process and whilst it is cyclical, it is also highly impersonalised toward the user. Rachel Lofthouse’s 8 interrelated Professional Aspects are more orientated toward personal professional development with one focus on confidence and ‘teaching’ identity. However, the aspects suggest a balanced approach to each of the 8 elements, or a targeted focus on a few as our training progresses, and ultimately assume a professional uniformity of end product that doesn’t seem to provide for factors that influence and enrich each individual ITT.
In business I became very familiar with the virtuous cycle of
Happy Staff produce Happy Clients produce More $…
that led one Examining Board that I worked for the be named as one of the UK’s top 100 SMES to work for. Hearing a similar comment from an SLT member at my second placement school was a real ‘click’ moment for me. He remarked that so often we focus on making pupils happy, but this has to start with happy teachers. Seriously simple, seriously smart.
Happy teachers produce Happy students produce Progress…
Obviously personal factors beyond pupil progress will influence the ‘Happy Teacher’ , but this is the essential starting point. I’m sure I’ve spent way too long musing about this, and should have cracked through all the SOWs for my next placement, but somehow I feel that understanding my own cycle and improving my personal emotional intelligence is time well spent at the beginning of a half term. I’m not sure if this will translate into a viable PLC2 project, but it is bedrock.
P.S Here’s a cycle for free I put together based on the Jackie Beere approach to lessons