Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Numbers, numbers and even more numbers.

Numbers freak me out. Data? Forget it. Spreadsheets? Nah. Not for me, ta.

So imagine the pant-filling horror of receiving an email from my deputy head concerning the coming week's data intervention meeting complete with a full bulleted summary of what I needed to analyse. FSM. SEN. EBD. FFT5.
 It was 4:30 on a Friday and I had just sat down for some reflection time (the pub).

Data is unavoidable. I didn't see myself having to analyse data like this for at least another few years on in my career but as Lead Teacher (and the only language teacher in the school) it just had to be done.

As an NQT, this is the first time I've ever had to look at data in such depth. I never thought numbers would make me reflect so much on my teaching.
Girls doing better than boys. 100% of Bangladeshi students making 'exceptional progress'. White Eastern Europeans doing better than White British.
How? Why? More importantly, what can be done to bridge those gaps?

Are the boys growing tired of my ironic use of Justin Bieber and One Direction images on the white board to exemplify likes and dislikes?
Is it the linguistic links between Spanish, Bengali and Eastern European languages?

In a bizarre, hugely nerdy turn of events, I've in some ways enjoyed analyzing (American spell check?) the data. It really does give a bigger picture of where our students are at (thanks in part to the amazing spreadsheet and input from our deputy head).
Overall, the students are making good progress, which is a relief, but what about those that dropped a sub-level or didn't progress at all?
Intervention. That's what.

The next step now is put those interventions in place and see what will benefit the students as a whole or on an individual level. Maybe regular vocab and spelling tests to ensure a secure knowledge of the concepts learnt. Make some students our Spanish leaders. I think some students could really benefit with some one-to-one sessions. Part of me is excited to see the results. The other part wants to lock itself in the stationary cupboard with just a box of staples for company. More the former than the latter.

Update in 6 weeks.

Saturday, 9 November 2013


Hola. Me llamo Joe. NQT and Lead Teacher of Spanish at School 21. A free school in East London.

I've done it. I've made the leap. I've created a blog about teaching.

As an NQT, I need to show some form of reflection for my portfolio to reflect the Teacher Standards and being the attention-seeking, approval-needing person that I am, what better way to share these reflections than in the public domain.

Reflection plays a big part in teaching, from the 'What Went Wells?' to the 'Even Better Ifs' and for me, it has always has been easier, even somewhat cathartic, to get those thoughts out and onto paper (or blog).

Here, I will discuss recent lessons, recent CPD, MFL, current issues in teaching and learning, along with other aspects of the teaching zeitgeist. I hope other teachers can relate and find humour in my future posts.

Yes, this may be a way for me to vent but this is not a place for criticism of neither teachers nor students. All views are my own.