Nurture 2013/14 – updated 8th July

I have added to this original post from December 2013. The updated parts are in bold.

Having read a few posts by other teachers on Twitter for #nurture1314 I decided I would do one aswell. So here is my humble offering.

2013

  1. Got my teaching timetable and flipped out when I saw I was teaching math aswell as my usual child/health care related subjects. Thankfully @bucharesttutor and @fossa99 gave me some great resources and offered sound advice. After doing the first session (which went ok, something I keep meaning to blog about) I realised it was just not acceptable to teach it. In my mind it should be taught by someone who has the relevant qualification for teaching it! I passed the session onto a maths teacher.
  2. Started engaging in #ukfechat on Thurs on Twitter. I mainly lurked but occasionally I’d comment. This has been a useful sounding board for me. It has also been good to converse with other FE teachers. However there does not seem to be a lot of FE teachers on Twitter. Wonder why? Still wonder why? Mission in September to sort this! 
  3. My dad after fighting cancer yet again started having difficulties in breathing. Thankfully it was not cancer related this time and having a pacemaker fitted solved the problem. Although my brother in-law got diagnosed with liver cancer and is still going through chemotherapy. I mention this because obviously it was stressful and added extra pressure to maintaining a high level of quality teaching. The fights continue! 
  4. I enjoyed reading some education books, two that spring to mind are by @tombennett71 Teacher Proof and @ICTEvangelist The Perfect ICT Lesson.
  5. Met the lovely @cherrylkd in person socially (turned out we lived a ‘stones throw away’!) and had a brilliant afternoon visiting one of her classes.
  6. Ran my first staff development session and shared a teaching resource that I had created. It received a very positive response and is now being used with our departments workforce students.
  7. I tried to keep on top of the homework set for my children aswell as their reading books every night. This bit I found hard – work/life balance. Consequently I decided to give up on being anything other than a subject tutor (or minion as I like to call myself). It seems progression only works if you have certain support systems in place. I don’t, so that is that (well for now anyway).
  8. Survived Ofsted and our dept was graded outstanding. Overall so was the college. However the amount of pressure put onto us was astounding and it bizarrely increased after the inspection. Something I wish to blog about but I have read so many posts on Ofsted I really don’t think I have anything new to add.
  9. Attended an FE Teachmeet at Bolton college and met some tweeters in the flesh which was great – @MrsSarahSimmons @bobharrisonset @MoodleMckean and @FungineeringLec. With the help of @MoodleMcKean and his team I nearly had a Teachmeet at my college but had to postpone to the New Year.

2014

  1. I have put myself on a ‘refresher session’ on using the interactive whiteboards. I love my whiteboard pen and board but since the interactive pen has been sat in my desk for a year (still wrapped in cellophane) I decided I’d give it a go.  Well I gave it a go and surprise surprise there was a ‘technical error’ and training never took place. So I’ll be doing my usual DIY until I get it right.
  2. I use our VLE quite religiously but I can improve on this. I’m determined to get my students reading more articles, watching docs and more. I have even given them blogs to read. Since they are all on track to go to uni its of benefit to them. I have actually managed to do this with some of my groups and it has stimulated some really great debates in class. I will continue to do this and use my teaching Twitter account more with the next cohort in September.
  3. Harvard referencing – despite the obligatory session given to them at start of academic year students still elude to using it. I am taking up the gauntlet and aiming to not have to keep writing about the lack of it in my feedback on their assignments. This was not as successful as I had hoped. I did get some students improving on this but more work is needed here.
  4. Try to blog this year – share ideas/ resources or just reflect. Epic fail here! However I have just done a ‘Who I am’ post for @EddieKayshun and updated this blog. Therefore I will try to meet this target.
  5. I am going to Northern Rocks 2014 with the lovely @cherrylkd and I hope to attend a few more events this year. I was sad that I couldn’t make it to ResearchED13. I had a ticket but life got in the way, hey ho. Northern Rocks was fantastic and a great first experience for me at an edu event. I did not feel like the ‘FE imposter’ I thought I would. Also I am going to ResearchEd in September and am really looking forward to this. 
  6. Reorganise  Teachmeet. Currently sorting this out with my department and a teacher from a secondary school. This is very exciting as my main hope is to connect primary, secondary and FE within the local community. 
  7. For my sanity I am going to take up some form of activity that is unrelated to education. There has to be a little switch off time. Not sure what though…knitting, bird watching, bungee jumping? Probably will dust off my badminton racket to be honest. Er well, no I didn’t manage this until now. Thankfully I have reacquainted myself with my love of gardening and swimming and my bike. So getting there.
  8. I will continue to keep my children on track with their reading, writing and numeracy. After all whats the point of banging on to your students about the importance of it if you don’t care about your own flesh and blood. This I have done and at times it has been very hard when marking, meetings, lesson plans…beckon. Still regardless of the struggle I have not wavered on this one.
  9. I am getting itchy feet and therefore by the end of July I will have enrolled myself on some course. I can’t help it I am actually missing studying! I am still trying to decide what to do for this one. There are a few options in the pipeline. Watch this space.

Well that’s it, nothing amazing just me rambling but it has kind of helped think about what I’ve done, not done and what I’d like to do. Not really sure if I’ve done this right but to be honest I don’t really care. I was never one to read the instruction manuals, I always glance at them and thumble through my own way. Happy New Year folks hope 2014 is a good one!

It has been a mixed year emotionally for me. My dad was diagnosed with cancer for the forth time and my brother in laws battle against liver cancer continues. However my sister gave birth to her second child,  a beautiful boy (3 months old now) but only a month ago he nearly died after contracting a serious virus and at the same time her mother in law was diagnosed with liver and stomach cancer, sadly she lost her battle against cancer. However my dad managed yet again to fight back and we are celebrating his 70th birthday today (party at the weekend). Ironically today is also when we hear how effective the chemotherapy has been for my brother in law.

On a more positive note I have met a lot of people who I converse with on Twitter this year. I have had a great year teaching in my department and attended a lot of good CPD sessions (I should probably blog about this). Last month I attended my first #UKFECHAT event in London and I am very exciting about what we are going to be doing in the future (watch this space!)

Hopefully today will be bring good news and what’s left of 2014 will be a heck of a lot more positive! 

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4 thoughts on “Nurture 2013/14 – updated 8th July

  1. Jill Berry

    I don’t think there is a ‘right’ way to blog – I’ve read a lot of the #nurture1314 contributions (I find people’s stories fascinating) and they’re often quite different, which is part of their charm!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and I hope 2014 is a positive year for you – at work and for your family. I think you’re right when you say “It seems progression only works if you have certain support systems in place. I don’t, so that is that (well for now anyway)” – it can be very tough without a support network behind you, but there may come a time when it IS right for you to take on something different. It’s all about choices and priorities and feeling comfortable with the choices you make/priorities you have at any particular stage in your life.

    Good luck – and may well meet you at Northern Rocks!

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to read and for your kind comments. I am sure there will be a time to progress eventually.

      Have a great 2014 and hopefully our paths will cross at Northern Rocks!

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  2. Jill Berry

    Good to read your update, Carolyn, though sorry to hear about on-going health issues in your family. Hope your father’s 70th birthday celebrations go brilliantly.

    Keep blogging! It would be good to read about your various CPD experiences. And perhaps this summer holiday would be a good time to make further progress with the resolution “to take up some form of activity that is unrelated to education.” Absolutely agree that “there has to be a little switch off time”.

    Have a great summer!

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    1. Thank you Jill. Things are on the up thankfully and I am very much looking forward to my fathers 70th birthday celebrations.

      I promise I will keep blogging! I have already started a CPD one. As for activities my garden is now my ‘switch off time’.

      Hope you have a great Summer too!

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