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Love To Teach, Teach To Love

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Whoever said “those who can’t, teach” got it all wrong. I wouldn’t be writing this right now if it wasn’t for a teacher, and more to the point, you probably wouldn’t be reading it either. Some would say it’s the best job in the world, and others will continue to argue that even with it’s rewarding nature, the challenges that teacher’s face are just not worth it. Think about it like this, if we asked you if school was some of the best days of your life, it’s pretty probable that most of you would say yes, right? This is why people choose this profession, and will continue to do so for years to come. Many of us were inspired by certain teachers, subjects or lessons when we were younger, and as a result, we’d like to dedicate this piece to reminding you all why so many individuals should take on this superhero role in the classroom.

tiny starLife Long Learning

You will never learn a topic better than when you start teaching it. The irony is that the person who learns the most in the classroom is in fact the teacher. Not only do you spend most of your hours a day taking on new challenges, subjects and frequent syllabus changes, you’re adapting to different methods of teaching in the profession as a whole. It may not always be facts about the world in which we live in, or a subject that we never thought we’d teach, but even if we end the day knowing something about a student that we didn’t before, we’d say that this is definitely an achievement.

tiny starStaying Young (At Heart)

Surrounding yourself with the younger generation gives you the chance to keep up with on going trends, ideas and helps you to understand the ways in which they work. Watching students get excited about ideas can be contagious; their enthusiasm can be just as warming as the cup of tea & comfy slippers you pop on at the end of the day (or close enough). Either way, being immersed in youth culture helps to keep you mentally young, which is always a bonus, after all you’re only as old as you feel!

tiny starEvery Child Has Potential

Every classroom will offer a unique community of learners, each having a range of different qualities to offer. The truth is, not every child will be easily educated, and some will ask for help in the most unloving of ways, but taking this challenge over others will certainly be one of the most rewarding. It gives you the opportunity to encourage and guide them to success.

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Never A Dull Day

No two days are ever the same. You’re up, you’re out & you’re lucky enough to be able to spend every day showing off your creativity. Of course, there are tough days, it’s a challenging job, just as any worthwhile job should be, but you’ll never ever know the meaning of the word ‘bored’ ever again. If your approach last year didn’t work so well, you have the opportunity to rework it the next year. You have the power to engage different ways of learning, thinking & teaching, the classroom is your oyster, go wild!

tiny starEncourage To Dream (The Bigger The Better!)

As cheesy as it sounds, encouraging your children to dream is the best way forward. They may not turn out to be Superman or the princess they were desperate to be when they were five, but these types of wishes are what can help drive a child to success. Take a look at Amy Mathers, 14, who designs games, writes her own software and was named the European Digital Girl of the Year in 2013. Or Grace Akello, who at only 14, is a youth ambassador for the charity ‘Free The Children’, and has helped to raise almost £2000. We should commend these children – and their parents & teacher’s for believing in them.

tiny starGive Back

Being able to offer what you know to future generations is more than appealing, to give back what we received and even offer more. Being the best that we can be ensures that our children are given the opportunity to be the best that they can be, and I’m sure you will agree that this always counts for something.

tiny starFuture Impact

Your job creates other jobs. It creates opportunity, creativity and productivity in society. Everyone wants to succeed. You challenge and reach most of the students who walk in through your doors. This happens every day because most teachers and administrators are motivated, smart and eager. Yes, the role has it’s downsides, what job doesn’t? The fact of the matter is, teaching is one of the fundamental necessities of life, and the way you educate your children will impact their future, for the better.

Social Media Gurus

social media talkMany on going debates argue whether social media should be incorporated into the classroom. Although some suggest that it continues to interfere with the more important aspects of learning, others feel it gives the option to offer a more meaningful and relevant way of distributing information, and we agree. By welcoming new technology, teachers not only encourage students to engage actively in the material, but they also provide online communities for students that might not exist for them in real life. Social Media has become a part of our everyday routine and this is even more true for students in our increasingly-connected world.

We can hear alarm bells ringing already, or maybe it’s the school bell? Who knows? But just in case your having doubts just give yourself a little reminder that Facebook, Youtube, Linkedin & Twitter are in the top 15 sites on the web & that most of these apps and publications are completely free, so why not give it a go.

But HOW are teachers infusing social media into their everyday lessons you ask? Here we’ve popped together a few of our own ideas on how to best engage students…

Twitter & Facebook

Class accounts can be set up on both, so no need to panic about students coming across your private or own personal pages. With this in mind, it makes managing your class both inside and outside of school that little bit easier. Daily updates & posts mean that you can provide quick, easy and immediate information to a wide spread audience, whether it be an unexpected absence or reminding them to prepare for an upcoming test. Sometimes it seems impossible to contact the younger generation by email, so this way, questions can be asked and answers given in a matter of minutes. Not to mention links to tomorrow’s homework can be uploaded, so you can be confident the dreaded ‘my dog ate it’ excuse will inevitably die out, result!

Twitter offers plenty of useful hashtags for both yourself and your students, such as #EdChat #HigherEd & #Acadamia. These type of hashtags will keep you posted about what is going on in the world of education, enable you to ask for advice from other experts, initiate discussions and make new acquaintances to enlarge your academic circles. Not only this, but following world leaders, or informative accounts could help to influence your children on a daily basis outside of the classroom, so you can rest assured that they’re always learning.

Both offer a range of privacy settings and accounts can be locked & made visible only to the invited participants. Facebook groups make it possible for members to connect without actually having to be ‘Facebook friends’ and people can contact each other through twitter simply by attaching their username.

Pinterest & Instagram

All hail the world of wonderful imagery. Both publications offer constant access to millions of people’s work & crafts & ideas, which leaves their audience with no choice but to be inspired. Creating bulletin boards on Pinterest full of lesson plans, useful links & pupils work is a fantastic way of keeping your classes, their parents and other teachers up to date with your creative on goings. Encourage your students to create accounts and share their own work, it’s great for them to be praised and acknowledged by people all over the world, and gives them something to be proud of. Both Instagram & Pinterest seem to be taking the teaching world by storm, so make the most of this and follow others to swap lesson plans and classroom crafts, aspire to inspire!

LinkedIn

This social network has over 200 million participants, with thousands of students signing up every day. For pupils looking for summer internships, recommendations for coursework or experience, and connections with major players in their interested areas of expertise, LinkedIn can be ideal. By encouraging your class to sign up, it allows them to showcase their skills, experience and unique talents in a very public manner. Social media provides fantastic access to others in a way that was not previously available, helping people to leave positive impressions to businesses all over the world.

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As well as the well known networks, it is useful to consider apps for every day teaching too…

‘Coursenotes’ for ipad and iphone offers a brilliant way of photographing & sharing classroom notes with others. Perfect for exam revision or homework help!

‘Schooltube’ is a great source for videos by and from students or teachers all over the world. With 2014 being the year of visual media, it is a perfect way to encourage learning whilst in and outside of school.

‘Coursefeed‘ offers a way to locate students, classmates and organise your courses.

‘itunesu’ gives you the opportunity to create your own lessons and courses from and for iphones & ipads. Share your own ideas and offer free educational content all over the world.

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A Huge Thank You!

Throughout this Movember, we took part in our hairiest campaign ever.

A huge thank you to all our Mo Bros, Mo Sistas and Mo supporters who have worked to make this campaign such a huge success. We went above and beyond our original target as well as managing to persuade Ajaz to transform his ‘stache into a Hulk MOgan sensation.

Equally important, if not more so, is the awareness the campaign brings to men’s health and how it aims to make regular health checks a part of your life. Today we can say that we’ve definitely been a part of standing for that change. All in all, we raised a massive £248 for a tremendous cause, so to all of our wonderful donors, we cannot thank you enough!

Look out for next years MOnumental moustache designs, sure to be bigger and better than ever!

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Teacher Talk

Anna Sharpley, a teaching assistant in Cardiff, talks with us about her passion for teaching and why this is her perfect career…

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What inspired you to become a teacher?

My love of working with children! I suppose that’s what everyone says? The years you spend in school play a massive part in your life once older. Its where your learn what you know today – not only academic wise. I can still remember conversations I had with my teachers from reception class. I think it is so rewarding to have such a powerful impact on not only an individuals education, but also their life!

Whilst pursuing this career, what long or short term goals to you intend to achieve?

My long-term goal is to complete a PGCE in order to become a qualified teacher. In the meantime my more short-term goals consist of keeping up to date with current teaching standards, remain present with news in the education sector and overall to ensure that I go to work each day enthusiastic and maintain that enthusiasm throughout the day despite working with some challenging behaviour.

Favourite lessons to teach?

My favourite lesson to teach is definitely maths, which is strange, as I hated it as a child. I think it’s because there is either a right or a wrong answer. You get to see the excitement in the child’s face when the penny finally drops and when all the teaching you have presented prior to that moment falls into place. It’s an amazing feeling – for the child as well to finally be able to work out the correct answer unaided.

What’s your favourite memory whilst teaching?

My favourite memory so far is of something that has happened quite recently. Over the past 12 months I have spent half my working week, assisting a year 1 pupil with SEN and a statement. The school were unsure of the pupils suitability to a mainstream primary.   He had no prior knowledge of number, phonics and was unable to hold a pencil. Recently the child was assessed in my presence and his knowledge of numbers and letters was astounding. To see the look on his face when he completed his task was amazing. He turned to me smiling and said “I did it!!” – PROUD TEACHER MOMENT. 

What are the most rewarding moments of being a teacher?

Predominately results! To see a child succeed in something because of the knowledge you successfully shared with them is the most rewarding aspect of teaching. Second to that, it’s the time you spend with the children around teaching them. Whether it is carpet time, play time, lunchtime or an after-school club. It is so fantastic to get to know the individual personalities of each child that makes up the school.

Any creative ways of teaching – share your tips & tricks?

Always think outside the box. If its how you were taught as a child, then it’s old and needs updating. Children are constantly surrounded by multi-media, sound, and visually stimulating aspects of the 21st century. Appropriately adapt it into your teaching. Create songs, use tactile resources, and give the child the chance to experience what you are teaching them first hand. If its interactive and exciting and getting every child involved then I feel you’re on to a winner!

Sum up your job in 3 words!

Best Job Ever!

 “I went back to my old school just over two years ago to gain some experience and the same teacher that taught me in reception was now the deputy head! It was so fantastic that 20 years later she still demonstrated the same level and enthusiasm within her teaching.”