Archive for the ‘Decisions – job satisfaction’ Category

Firstly (short aside) I’m very much a newcomer to blogging and have spent much of my 27 years actively avoiding technological advances.  Afraid so, I’m one of them.  If anyone ever indulges in the 80s brilliance that was ‘The Young Ones’ and recalls Neil’s bewildered cries of technophobia…well, I’m pretty close to that.  So…I’m not entirely sure I’m even ‘publishing’ these here ‘posts’ accurately or whether there are additional things I should be doing – any advice (if anyone can even read this!) would be great.

I have read a bit about targeting a clear audience – something I really should know as an English teacher who speaks about purpose and audience an irritating minimum of at least twice a day. And indeed an English teacher that teaches lessons on blogging believe it or not! I’m not sure I’ve really made my ‘point’ of blogging clear as of yet – probably as it isn’t too clear.  It’s a sort of mixture between keeping a record, and hopefully getting a bit of a conversation going, about my current situation of being a teacher and living in Devon and my prospects come 2013 when I travel to Brisbane to study a CELTA (English language teaching course) and then try out CELTA teaching as well as try to find some tiiiiimmme to read and write (a little known luxury) and travel about the world a little more.

For the next six weeks, as I draw together my time at my current school, I’d like really to be able to converse about education in England at the moment – with its many changes and controversies – as well as hear from teachers elsewhere and perhaps those who have studied CELTA themselves or travelled abroad as a teacher.

And, whilst I’m outlining the plans, I’d also love to learn Spanish, walk the Camino de Santiago through France and Spain, walk in the mountains and hills of England to get a little closer to gaining my Mountain Leader qualification and much, much more…hopefully an exciting time and I figured it was time to seek the advice and company of the international online community.  Here’s hoping… x


So I’ve embarked on this blog 51 (now) days before I embark on my adventures so I can recall and share with suitable truth the realities of my existence here in Devon.  Both my work as a secondary school teacher and my social life in my much-loved ‘dirty old town’ of Dartmouth have both engaged and inspired me on numerous, often extended, occasions.  But there are two gripes I have at the moment, and both (quite usefully I suppose, given my imminent departure) are steadily blossoming at present: namely, my work as a secondary school teacher and my social life in my much-loved ‘dirty old town’ of Dartmouth.  You’ll see my predicament.

Despite last night’s brief delve into the dark underbelly of Dartmouth’s pubs offering ample fodder for the social life gripe, this afternoon’s reading material has brought my concerns about teaching to the fore.  For the first time in my six year teaching career, I haven’t enjoyed my job very much since returning this September.  I have been variously attributing this to an internal acknowledgement that I’m about to go on sabbatical and so am not as engaged, having a particularly difficult collection of lower set classes and, at times, to the dwindling staff morale evidenced all around me.

I have just this moment finished reading Ken Robinson’s ‘The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything’, a book in which ‘world renowned creativity expert’ (Amazon) details, amongst an array of successful stories of individual’s finding their true passion, how the current education system – worldwide – is a decaying relic of industrialism, set up and suited to a now outdated model.  Moreover, much of the assessment and, in some cases, pedagogy evident in schools today stamps out, rather than fuels, creativity.  Sadly, I couldn’t agree more and despite the admirable efforts of our Head teacher to foster creative and student-centred pedagogy and a host of superb colleagues working just about as hard as I think is possible, I am left feeling deeply inadequate each time a brow-beaten bunch of teenagers traipse out of my classroom – not desperately unhappy or demotivated (I hope!) but certainly not inspired or fired up by the creativity and excitement of my lesson.

As I am reading Robinson’s book, which finishes with a section (a little too short of suggestions and advice for my lagging professional pride at this point) about education and how it needs to better foster creativity and avoid the pigeon-holing of subjects and devaluing of the creative subjects, I am simultaneously scanning my mind for how on earth to make Monday’s lessons more creative; how to somehow inspire that handful of students in each class that loathes the quiet reading time at the start of each lesson; how to make ‘learning […]more experiential and contextual’ (Robinson) when I have six lessons until my bottom set Y10s will enter the school hall and for two hours (they manage 40 minutes tops) write a review of a TV programme which will be judged on a very specific set of written word criteria.

And on that note, that’ll be my plea for the day…any suggestions?  Or any further thoughts on either Robinson’s work or suggestions of other authors to read? Right, now I’m going to read something lighter…and have a beer.