17 July 2016

Looking Ahead

So how was your 2015/16? Careers have their ups and downs. This was the best year of my teaching career so far, thanks to a wonderful set of colleagues.

I got my new timetable on Friday which means I can now start thinking about what I need to do over summer to prepare for September. My school has increased the time allocated to maths for most year groups, so this is where we now stand in terms of the number of one hour lessons per fortnight:
I think this will work well. It differs from allocations at other schools - discussions on Twitter this year have shown that there is little consistency in maths timetabling across the country. 

The changed allocations at my school mean that most maths teachers will be teaching fewer classes next year, but seeing their classes more often. This has clear advantages in terms of relationship building and teacher workload (eg a reduction in test marking, parents evenings and so on). However it has come at a cost - our class sizes are now very large (from what I've gathered on Twitter, we have larger 'bottom sets' than most other schools) - this worries me.

Teaching Year 7 (my only Key Stage 3 class) will be my big challenge next year. We're moving to a quasi-mastery curriculum and, without any proper training or guidance, I think we'll all find this difficult. Half a term of fractions, eek! 

My other classes are Year 11, Year 12 and Year 13. It's funny to think that this will be the last year that we will teach C1 and C2. Just when I was starting to get the hang of it...

I'll be taking my top set Year 10 through to Year 11 next year. I intend to continue with regular low stakes quizzes (as discussed here).

I still have a lot of GCSE content to get through and fear that there will be very little (if any) time for revision and exam preparation in lessons after Easter. This means I need to think carefully about how to use lessons and homeworks effectively throughout the year.

I intend to trial using ring binders instead of exercise books with this class next year. It might be a disaster, but I use so many worksheets that I'm no longer convinced that it makes sense to use exercise books. I'll report back on how it goes...

I recently delivered some training on the new GCSE which I'll blog about next week.

My school now leads a SCITT, which means (with my Lead Practitioner hat on) I'll be much more involved in teacher training. Next year I will be a 'Lead Subject Mentor', meaning I'm in charge of maths-specific training and assessment for our cohort of maths trainees. I'm excited about this - it's exactly what I want to focus on. It's a good career development opportunity for me.

We have five new teachers (of which three are NQTs) joining my department next year, plus at least one trainee. That will keep us all busy! I'll be mentoring one of our NQTs and assessing an NQT in another subject.

Numeracy Initiative
I've been put in charge of whole school numeracy next year. To get an idea of where I stand on numeracy, read Dani Quinn's excellent post Headaches Across the Curriculum: what’s the point in whole-school numeracy?.

The way I see it, the best thing I can do for my students is increase their fluency when working with numbers - from that flows the all-important confidence. So I'm going to use my numeracy budget to start a big push on times tables for Year 7. We will subscribe to Times Tables Rockstars and promote it through a launch assembly, an after school 'Rock Gods' club, competitions and prizes, and dedicated time in maths lessons and afternoon registrations. If all goes well we'll have a large proportion of our Year 7s loving numbers by the end of the year! 

I look forward to spending some quality time with my family this summer. My eldest daughter Maddie starts primary school in September.

I'm a Year 12 form tutor so will have 32 personal statements to review and 32 references to write over summer (my tutor group is unusually big for Sixth Form). I've not done this before and I have a feeling it will take me ages, so I definitely don't want to leave it all until September.

Over summer I'll also be starting to plan my one-day subject knowledge enhancement sessions for the SCITT, and I've signed up for some paid proofreading work for an A level textbook (just to make ends meet). I'm not yet sure if I'll have my own classroom to tidy and decorate but if so then I'll do that when I go into school on GCSE results day - thanks to Twitter I'm never short of display ideas!

Lots to look forward to! Do let me know how your year went and what you've got planned for next year. I know that some of you have already broken up but for those of us still going - enjoy the final days of the school year! Nearly time for a well-earned rest.

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