We Are What We Do: The Life Of A Deputy Headteacher

Reading Time: 2 minutes

This week I spoke in three key stage 3 assemblies at school.

I thoroughly enjoy speaking in assemblies. There is a real opportunity to engage with the entire school community and as a senior teacher, establish and support a school culture for excellence. This week, the theme of our weekly SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social, Cultural) calendar is ‘We are what we do,’ a quote by Erich Fromm.

Using this strapline, I designed this school assembly – my first at Quintin Kynaston – and linked this to the values we want all our students to develop; Aspiration and Resilience. These values evolved as a series of student and staff consultation – prior to my arrival – and these words are etched on the lips of every student and teacher.

The assembly:

After a brief introduction, the assembly starts off with this short and simple video:

.

Context:

This is then followed with the main body of the assembly, lasting from 10 – 15 minutes. Throughout the assembly presentation, students are guided through the meaning of actions and values, and how ‘actions can speak louder than words.’ There is a short introduction to Erich Fromm and some of his work, emphasising the importance of ‘what we do’ as the essential core of human existence. There is an interesting video interview here with Fromm explaining how humans beings prove (define) who they are.

In the latter part of the assembly, the resource highlights various obstacles we may try to overcome as we grow older and how learning is best achieved when we face challenges. Here, I emphasise the importance of working hard, choosing the harder option, being able to adapt to change and getting the basics right from the start. The assembly resource also focuses and reminds students on our school’s values – you may wish to adapt the resource to suit your own context – and provides a simple definition of each.

Aspiration

Resilience

There are 36 slides in total and the Powerpoint presentation can be downloaded by clicking the image below.

We Are What We Do Erich Fromm Assembly

Never, Ever Give Up:
  • Intended audience: 5-18 year-olds.
  • Length: 5 minutes
  • Theme: Weight-gain, health and determination.

The assembly¬† – and values – are finally encapsulated in the following video at the end of the resource. I’m sure you will be able to find countless other examples that can be associated to the values of your own school. For me, the video of ‘Aurthur’ is a great lesson on ‘perseverance’ for all of us.

.It was reassuring to hear feedback from staff and students after my presentation. Staff were inspired to read books; others shed a tear. And with most assemblies, the power of conversation can be supported with whole-school assemblies. For me this week, there have already been many conversations had with students in corridors, classrooms and in the playground. I look forward to getting to know our students even better and being able to use our own examples of aspiration and resilience within our own community.

Never underestimate the importance of an assembly.

Planning:

Of course, none of this would be possible without the use of The 5 Minute Assembly Plan! Click the image to download the template.

2. The 5 Minute Assembly Plan
2. The 5 Minute Assembly Plan

@TeacherToolkit

In 2010, Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit from a simple Twitter account in which he rapidly became the 'most followed teacher on social media in the UK'. In 2015, he was nominated for '500 Most Influential People in Britain' in The Sunday Times as one of the most influential in the field of education - he remains the only classroom teacher to feature to this day ... Sharing online as @TeacherToolkit, he rebuilt this website (c2008) into what you are now reading, as one of the 'most influential blogs on education in the UK', winning the number one spot at the UK Blog Awards (2018). Today, he is currently a PGCE tutor and is researching 'social media and its influence on education policy' for his EdD at Cambridge University. In 1993, he started teaching and is an experienced school leader working in some of the toughest schools in London. He is also a former Teaching Awards winner for 'Teacher of the Year in a Secondary School, London' (2004) and has written several books on teaching (2013-2018). Read more...

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