Memoirs of a Teacher: Part 5 by @TeacherToolkit

Reading time: 3
shutterstock Geisha in Kyoto, Japan, August 2014


Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, and today, he is one of the 'most followed educators'on social media in the world. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of...
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These are the memoirs from my trainee-teacher placement. You can read the context in the footer and other parts of the series here. This is part 5.

This is a blog for newly qualified teachers and those interested in what keeps teachers stuck in the classroom beyond 5 years …

Reflections Journal:

During the process of writing my second book about teacher-resilience and what keeps teachers stuck in the classroom, I have delved into my teaching practice file to rediscover my reflection journal from a 12-week teaching practice in 1996. I am reading the notes to see what issues have changed (if any) in teaching over the past 20 years. I am also keen to understand if there are any indicators in my own memoirs to suggest a certain type of character or resilience is needed for the classroom.

shutterstock fountain pen on text sheet paper closeup Memoirs of a Teacher

Image: Shutterstock

4th October 1996:

This is a one day / one entry extract.

Class 7H – Periods 1+2:

Having taught this lesson yesterday, this lesson was even easier! I was even more prepared than usual; with resources and instruction. I had an excellent visual aid prepared and it came in very handy to demonstrate the principles of electrical components and their functions.

I used a technique to pull out pupils to the blackboard to point out symbols, draw and label. This created a great deal of enthusiasm and was merely down to coercion and teacher-enthusiasm.

Pupils were very helpful and were determined to finish. To be honest – I didn’t encounter any problems at all and there is no reason for me to criticise myself. All I failed to do was cope with the homework set. I failed to organise the homework set. The topic I had pre-set and organised, students had already done. So, in stepped K.R. to save the day! (Observational Scalpel?) It was very basic and simple change in instruction; something I wish I had thought of.

It reminds me how much teachers need to be able to think on their feet.

Towards the end of the lesson I made time to clear up and organise a re-cap so pupils could remember and familiarise themselves with what we had learned about components at the beginning. This proved successful and I used the blackboard and models to involve the students. Is there a need to recap on what has been learnt every lesson?

Overall, I am very happy and increasing in confidence.

End of extract.

shutterstock The question What Have You Learned? on a wooden ruler asking you to assess what knowledge you have attained through education, training or other life experience

Image: Shutterstock


These are the memoirs of my trainee-teacher placement from 1996.

This diary is taken from the 4th school that I was placed in during my 4-year BAEd Design and Technology with Secondary Education (11-18) degree at Goldsmiths College, University of London. This placement was at a comprehensive school in Hextable, near Dartford in Kent. I believe the school is now an Oasis Academy, Hextable. This was a 12-week school experience.

In my school-placement journal, there are over 20 handwritten pages that I kept as part of my teacher training. My tutor regularly asked me to write my reflections after a very long commute home. What I was totally ignorant of, was that during my 4-year teacher-training degree, I was laying the foundations for me to become a reflective teacher; something that I still (thankfully) withhold today … and also via this blog.

Contact me if you would like to read the full-digital memoirs. You can read more about my teaching memoirs in my forthcoming book, released in the autumn of 2015. Click to pre-order …

What would you say to ensure teachers stay stuck in the classroom beyond 5 years?

@TeacherToolkit Book Vitruvian Teacher Man Resilience Version 2


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