Memoirs of a Teacher: Part 6 by @TeacherToolkit

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shutterstock_193197959 Diary and fountain pen. LOMO style. Selective focus. Memoirs Diary


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 6.

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 dating October-December 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.

Goldsmiths College University of London Ross McGill @TeacherToolkit July 2015 Conference Initial Teacher Training CPD Design TechnologyThe original classroom where I first learnt my practice (Goldsmiths College – July 2015)

7th October 1996:

7E – Period 2:

This was a very simple lesson which I enjoyed, although I was warned by J.P. that I should always be clear about what I wanted to teach the kids and what I expected them to know. I found myself giving a demonstration to a group of year 7’s, about soldering and the equipment they would be using. It was at that point I found myself a little confused, becoming too technical and trying to ask the pupils information from them that I really didn’t expect them to know.

7G – Period 3+4:

Again a similar lesson earlier today, I had previous practice of what went well and what I could improve. Everything went according to plan. I had prepared plenty of graphics and ‘key-terms’ on the board so I had plenty of resources to fall back on. I needed them!

Two pupils arrived late – which I ignored as I was being observed by J.C – and I should have questioned them to show my authority; or detain them after the lesson. J.C. picked up on this. My usual problems of vocal monotone has at last settled (as I have in this school). This has been a problem for me as I tend to mumble. It’s a good sign if a teacher tells me my voice sounds bright and bouncy.

One other problem was making sure all pupils could see my demonstration model in the actual demo itself! It was also good using a pupils work as an example, but I left pupils at the back who probably were struggling to see at the front (and who probably were too shy to say anything). Perhaps I should make it an ethos to myself to make all demonstrations for all pupils around one desk.

It appears that demonstrations are equally important as the lesson itself!

End of extract.

You can read the full series here.


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


3 thoughts on “Memoirs of a Teacher: Part 6 by @TeacherToolkit

  1. TeacherToolkit Fascinating extracts, thank you! I am starting tracher training with Schools Direct in September and intend to keep similar memoirs throughout the year in order to reflect on my practice. I think real and effective self-reflection is one of the hardest challenges facing any trainee teacher and ultimately helps determine whether you stay afloat.

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