Posted by: Shireen | September 18, 2008

Seizing the opportunity

There are not many teachers who get a chance to be part of the beginning of a school.  I have a chance to share my ideas in what kind of ethos we set for the school and what kind of community we build here. All the things that I found frustrating at my last school (even though I loved the school) can be different at this school.  For example, in London, we had a lot of pressure to get a certain amount of work in the books each week.  I think, that while it is important to have high expectations of the children, it should not be at the expense of their creativity and curiosity.  We should not have to abandon making our paper mache volcano that errupts using baking soda and vinegar just because we do not have the prescribed amount of work completed in our Maths books.  What is the point of having children who know all the facts but are never encouraged to take risks and investigate in their learning?  In this school, I think I will have the time and the space to be more creative with the children.  I want them to make books and publish their writing and I want enough time to finish a project, I want to do lots of messy Science experiments and build real bird boxes in DT and work on a drama production and use oil paints in Art and plan exciting investigations in Maths and this year, I think I can make most of that happen and still make sure that these children achieve their highest potential by the end of the year.

It is also easier planning creative lessons when you have less useless paperwork to fill out.  Schools in London looooove their paperwork.  And really, shouldn’t teaching to a high standard using creative and challenging lesson plans come before filling out a piece of paper?  That is where teachers should spend their time, not filling out endless reams of paper!I am not saying we should not be accountable – of course we should.  I am just saying that it should be productive and useful and not just ticking a box.  And it should definitely not take away from planning lessons that make children want to learn more.

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