FE Reflection wk 4 – minion

This is week four of doing a weekly account/ semi reflection in response to @drkeevil idea #SundayConfessional for FE teachers on Twitter. Disappointinly no principles (apologies if I am wrong) have not done this. This weekend @headguruteacher posted a blog on a typical week for him which was really insightful – see here. Just like we want our senior management to remember what it is like on the ‘shop floor’ I think we also would benefit from hearing what it is like in a senior position. Anyway I digress, here is my offering for this week.

Monday 24thJune

Staff development this morning on forms of assessment (summative and formative). As I mentioned in a previous post we teach both BTEC and CACHE so it was quite interesting to look at both awarding bodies guidance on assessment. In small groups we wrote down all the types of assessment we have used. Then in our groups fed back on the two we use the least and why, the two that were high on the list was role play and video. After that we took a unit from either awarding body and discussed what forms of assessment would work best. The afternoon was spent working on SOW and creating BTEC assignments.

Tuesday 25th June

Spent the morning continuing on SOW and assignments and checking all students claim forms for their Level 3’s in Health & Social Care had been processed.

Later in the day it was our departments QAM (quality assurance meeting) where we get to summarise a large report each personal tutor completed in relation to their tutor groups. Each of us had to highlight a strength and a weakness of the course. General consensus was that a strength was retention but a weakness was attendance. Attendance has been a real issue this year and a various strategies have been put in place. New academic year’s primary focus is to tackle this issue right from the off!

Wednesday to Friday 26 – 28th June

Planning at home.

Finally a bit of reflection

Just recently I have been having a rethink on my teaching career, a few months back I was all ready for applying for as many senior roles as my experience and qualifications would allow me. This was partly because of pressure from my husband but also because I have always progressed well in any job I did and saw no reason why I couldn’t do the same in this job. Especially as I have always been graded good to outstanding as a teacher. Although after so much coverage over the year on grading I am now less in awe of getting certain grades, it no longer has any real value to me (although I did actually consider getting last years ob report framed!). What does is coming away from a lesson knowing my students learnt something and enjoyed it.

What got me thinking about my direction in the FE environment was primarily due to an article by @mrssarahsimons for the IFL’s journal InTuition (page 24/25 if your interested) I had along with other female FE teachers discussed progression and opportunities for women in FE. It was reading my own comments again that made me realise I was happy being a subject teacher. I think had I been 10 years younger or my children older I would have happily taken on board the challenge to ‘rise up in the ranks’. However I don’t have a time machine and even if I did I probably wouldn’t change a thing. So in conclusion I am happy to stay as I am, a little minion in the ever changing world of FE.

Don’t forget Thursdays between 9 till 10pm it is #ukfechat on Twitter, please join in we don’t bite!


Reflection – Week 3

Day off.

An emotional day to be honest, finally got all my students completed and all have achieved their qualification. When I informed my CL (curriculum leader) I actually nearly cried. It was like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Why? Forty one of those students were my responsibility as I was their personal tutor (first year being one). If I didn’t hit my retention/achievement targets I needed to have a really good reason why not!

I now have my teaching timetable and I am happy to see that I will be teaching mainly BTEC National Diploma for Health and Social Care. I am actually really looking forward to creating the assignments.

Completed a report that had data on students achievement, destination etc… That’s all I really want to say about that.

Thursday and Friday
Spent time with with my family and generally catching up on housework and the poor neglected garden. However it did give me time to reflect on what I wish to achieve in the new academic year and like @drkeevil I have decided to set myself some targets. Next week I will be finding out which units I will be teaching and starting SOW therefore the targets are to

  1. Create my resources and upload them straight away onto our Moodle site (not at the last minute as I have been guilty of). 
  2. Add some of my most effective resources to blogs and explain how well they worked and why.

The ‘Mopping Up Month’ part 2

Ok this is a continuation from last weeks post. I should explain why I’ve called it the ‘Mopping Up Month’, its basically at this time of year a case of helping students that have fallen behind with assignments through one reason or another and a month of collating data to do reports and tying up loose ends. Ready for starting curriculum planning for the next academic year. I’m actually enjoying doing this as it is giving me time to reflect…(but don’t tell anyone!)

Monday 10th June

Today was a none college day. However spent it flitting from housework to marking and answering emails.

However the evening was spent at an awards night for our students. A good night and lovely to see them all dressed up, also very impressed at how some of them can manage to walk in such amazing heels! It was also good for them (and staff) to be introduced to the our new principal.

Tuesday 11th June 2013

Right lets see if we can help another few students get completed today………..yes two more!

Have also written several references for late applications through UCAS. Also started another lovely report for course review. More collating data and inputing!

Today we had an EV visit which is always stressful and yet we always do really well thanks to a fab team…..Just heard it went great tonight 🙂 This is when I remember why I love my job, I work with amazingly hard working and dedicated people. Very proud to be part of this team 🙂

Wednesday 12th June 2013

Bloody knackered! Spent the day with several students and chased several other students up with phone calls. All the time in the back of my head I keep reminding myself I have a huge report to complete aswell as the individual student reports! Also another thought pops in to my head – what I am going to cook the kids for tea tonight, trivial I know but important none the less.

Later I got brave and asked my CM (Curriculum Manager) when the staff timetables were being given out and did I even have one? She looked at me as though I were mad “of course you have one”! However I am still none the wiser as to what I am teaching or what days, hours etc…Still its been the same every year so far. Grrr

Thursday 13th June 2013

In again, had a student to see and that large report to start.

Started doing an action plan (to go with the report) for the new academic year, this made me reflect on my practice and where improvements could be made. It also got me thinking about the Eportfolio we use for our students to submit work – OneFile. I have had some real ups and downs with it as have my students! Wonder if any other FE colleges have used this? Would be great to hear thoughts.

Tonight’s discussion on UKFEChat was on TED . It was really interesting it hear how different FE lecturers use it in their sessions. Here is a clip I saw from Sir Ken Robinson a few years ago on creativity. Recently on Twitter it has become apparent that there is a definite mixture of feelings towards TED and indeed creativity. If I had more time and was better organised I would add links to several blogs! I promise I will do…..eventually.


Day off today, which worked out well as I have reached the point of not being able to think or function…

Wonder what will happen next week? Maybe I’l get my teaching timetable! That would be quite a handy thing to have!

Anyway I will leave you with a song (saw these in March) just for the Hell of it 🙂

The ‘Mopping Up Month’ – my weekly ramblings. Week 1

I have foolishly promised to do a weekly reflective diary with @drkeevil and I believe @fossa99. The blog diary will relate to our weekly adventures within FE. I actually don’t officially need to go in. At present I am only on a temporary contract, so all I am doing is completing various paperwork and chasing a few students who have gone AWOL. I hope you don’t get too bored reading this!

Monday 3rd June 2013

Nothing to report, day of entertaining kids and housework!

Tuesday 4th June 2013

Ok some good news, I am still being timetabled for Tuesdays and Wednesdays till the end of this month! So that’s better than nothing at all, however a permanent contract would be nice!

I spent Tuesday helping several students behind on coursework, mainly due to them being absent on numerous occasion’s and generally life getting in the way of study!

Wednesday 5th June 2013

Just one student in but managed to get hold of a few of my AWOL ones, which was a relief. Trouble with vocational courses (especially ones with placements) is that students can get offered jobs. Don’t get me wrong, it is great when this happens. However once they start working, they fall behind on assignments. Unfortunately at this stage they are too far into the course so no chance of moving them to a part time option because of lovely things like retention!

Thursday 6th June 2013

Day off, but left looking at a timetable of this month and next months compulsory meetings. I cannot believe the amount of meetings we have! Still I shrugged it off this morning for a trip to the zoo with my own children.

On Twitter tonight Ukfechat (see here for more info) was about QTLS and professional status via the IFL. We never actually came to a decision, but it was good to chat and throw ideas around. Its interesting to hear what other lecturers think in other colleges and what they do for such things as embedding functional skills and dealing with classroom behaviour. It does amaze me how few there are of us engaging in it, considering the amount of staff working in any one college! Are we just geeks or do we need to promote it more, probably need to promote it more! I feel some staff development sessions coming on…

Friday 7th June 2013

Into college again to see some more students.

Bit of a difficult day, found out yesterday my dad has to have a pacemaker fitted asap! Over the last four years he has also fought against prostrate cancer, esophagus cancer and had a kidney removed due to cancerous cysts. I’m not mentioning this for sympathy, I just think its important to remember that we are human beings and often with our own personal problems. Yet despite this we troop on and go in to class as though nothing has happened. Then we fall apart in the staff room or car on the way home….

Anyway, that’s the end of my first weekly diary. Next week will be all about course reviews, and collecting data (yawn) and what I thought about being a personal tutor this year. I think I’ll do this again next week, it has been quite interesting to do and since my memory is like a sieve it may help me aswell!