What do you believe in that goes against the status quo?
From the moment I started to mentor or another teacher, I realised how important it was to share ideas to help others become more effective. As a school leader with this responsibility to support all teachers, this obligation was significiant.
Leading a virtual school…
Supporting teachers worldwide has become a full-time job for me. Having written on this website for over 10 years, reaching over 10½ million readers and now conducting research in social media and its influence on education policy, I am starting to evaluate the digital and sociological impact of my life as a teacher online.
In some respects, I would argue that I have been working as a virtual head teacher for a number of years, observing teacher behaviours, supporting NQT’s and school leaders, as well as parents and pupils through online requests, connections and face-to-face meetings. I have developed a good sense of what is most needed within our teaching profession – and this has led to countless teacher training opportunities across the world!
Standing up for something you believe in…
Standing up for something you believe in is never easy, particularly when you face criticism. This can be even more challenging if you have a large audience online, and in most cases, it can feel quite isolating, particularly when some of the issues that you stand up for go against the status quo.
For many years, as I have found my space within the (online) teaching profession, I have started to advocate that teachers should do less work, not more, in order to increase their effectiveness. Time and time again, I think I am now showing how to achieve this in much of the work that I’m doing. I know this because of the 25 years I spent in the classroom, as well as observing the analytical behaviour of teachers behind the front page of this website. This data signposts what solutions they need…
My work-life balance has immeasurably improved!
Once in a while, someone contacts me and it grabs my attention – a message which boosts your moral compass. On this occasion, one teacher who was part of my verbal feedback research project, contacted me this week to share why she is no longer using written marking in her classroom.
With her permission, the email said:
“It’s really exciting to see how Verbal Feedback is now challenging the profession and we are really lucky to have you leading this change on your travels! A colleague and I are due to lead a session to NQT’s and ITT’s soon which will be exciting – I’m keen to encourage the next generation of teachers to embed VF within their teaching early on!
Finally, I just wanted to say a huge thanks Ross – I know you must hear it a lot, but being a young female teacher, so early on in my teaching career with a lot of responsibility as subject lead, things have been quite daunting and challenging at times. I have always wanted to be ‘me’ and share my own thoughts and ideas, doing what I have felt is right and more importantly, what my students needed but this has always been a worrying prospect when you are surrounded by older, more experienced peers who in most cases, don’t feel it necessary to change.
I spend more time with family…
Being part of this project has not only changed my life and career, but more importantly, it will change my students’ experiences. You have given me the confidence to be me and believe that I can make a difference. I feel empowered to react to students in front of me and know that VF is enough to push progress of students forward. My work-life balance has immeasurably improved and I am now spending more time with my husband and family. I feel so relaxed and no-longer feel weighed down and pressured by the job.
Honestly, Ross, I cannot thank you enough for all the confidence and knowledge you have given me. You really are an inspiration for teachers and the profession has a much brighter future with you in it.”
It is vital that all teachers work together to solve complex, classroom problems. The benefits for pupils and teachers is significant…