Every Tuesday and Thursday I have an 8am class. It’s year 11 Philosophy, which I love, so no resentment there at all. It’s just an early class, and given that I have been really committed to exercising before school every day, and given that this is the first week back of full-time face-to-face teaching since schools went to Learning From Home, well… maybe it’s excusable that I put my head down for a quick rest of my eyes only to wake up ten minutes later. Right? Luckily for me I have my own office, although I am pretty sure that a teacher in a classroom that looks into my office saw me asleep. What a great image for one of my colleagues to have of the head teacher of teaching and learning! Oh dear.
Philosophy was great, students are always keen even if they do meander in well after the bell (who can blame them – asking 16 year olds to be at school for 8am is a deal, at my old school our before school classes started at 7.30am!). Following my philosophy lesson, I had a prep period so I used it to get resources ready for ILP. ILP = Independent Learning Project (you can read about it here on the website I made www.ilpmanly.weebly.com) and the six teachers come from a range of faculties. We try our best to put on teachers who want to teach ILP, but sometimes we get teachers who have gaps on the timetable. Not this year though, which is really nice. We haven’t seen our ILP classes since Week 9 of Term 1, so the focus for the lesson was to catch up, but to also give them an opportunity to add evidence and annotations into their MLP. MLP = Manly Learner Portfolio. I haven’t made a website for that yet, although I probably need to because we hope to run it across all year groups soon. It started this year, and we are running it with year 7 in Praxis and year 10 in ILP. You guessed it, I’m the coordinator of it, haha. Who knows what will happen when it’s introduced into years 8 and 9 where I don’t have any whole grade courses that I coordinate. I made a video explaining to students how to add content to their portfolios (we are using Google Slides) and some tips on writing annotations etc. Students identify evidence of where they have demonstrated growth towards one or more of the nine attributes of a Manly scholar. We decided on these attributes in collaboration with staff and students. I presented on it parents earlier in the year, and they loved it. (Please don’t steal these without crediting me/my school as your original source, thanks!)
Period 3 was year 7 Praxis! The first time I have seen these guys since Week 9 of Term 1 also. They’re currently working on the Games 4 Good project, which you can read about on the website I created praxismanly.weebly.com. They’ve tried really hard to keep collaborating on their game designs remotely, but it was much better being together in the one space. We just spent the lesson going over what the game designs were for each team, and writing a little 150 word summary of it. It was funny overhearing one of the teams re-introducing themselves as they had forgotten names! We have to remember that year 7 had just over 2 months with each other before COVID-19, so they really didn’t know each other that well! It’s like starting school all over again – I can only imagine what Kindy kids are like this week!
Period 4 I was off class and spent most of my time responding to emails (yay, not) and finishing that Henry IV article – finally! This is the period when I fell asleep at my desk, haha. Once I woke up, it was lunch so I went into my classroom and tidied it up – I share this space with other teachers (two of my classes are offline, so that means a lot of time when others are in my room) and it had got into a bit of a state. I put up some new posters, and moved my desk to a new position. I’m not sure the other teachers will like the new desk situation, so I’ll have to check in with them to see. I’ll move it back if they don’t like it. After lunch would normally be my flexi-time (when I can go home early because of my off-line classes) but my son attends my school so I have to stay. I spent the period giving feedback on year 12 bell work and checking their team analysis tables.
Oh, I also forgot – it was Public Education Day, where we celebrate being an awesome system. At the end of lunch a colleague caught up with me to ask about the pay freeze to the public sector that the NSW government has just proposed. I assured him that the NSWTF will be doing something about it, and it reminded me to email my colleagues. Here is some of the email, if you want to follow some of the links and have your say about teaching I recommend you do because this data will be used to support union action on teacher workload.
Happy Public Education Day!
Whilst today is a day to celebrate our wonderful profession (and you can read some lovely notes of thanks from notable Aussies here), we must also acknowledge that we are facing another blow from the government – this time an attack on our wages. As you may have heard through the media and via an email from the NSWTF, the NSW government has proposed a pay freeze (which is effectively a pay cut) for all public servants. You can read the NSWTF press statement in response here. More information about the nature of the NSWTF response will come soon, no doubt.
Given the timing of this proposal, in the first week back of full-time face-to-face teaching, it is really important that we use all opportunities to have our voices heard. The best opportunity we have is to contribute to the ‘Valuing the teaching profession’ independent inquiry. If you would like to make an individual submission to the inquiry, you can do so here.