Time for a change

n.b. In this post, I will use the terms ‘people of colour’ and ‘BAME’ to describe myself and others. These are terms which I am comfortable with, but not everybody likes them, and everyone has the right to be described in whichever way they choose. If you’re not sure: ask. Teachers are the most resilient,Continue reading “Time for a change”

Language and Power

The brutal murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis on 25th May this year has sparked an outpouring of grief and anger which has reverberated around the world. Racism and the power structures which dictate our lives have always been there, but lockdown means that there is nowhere to hide – people cannot ignore what theyContinue reading “Language and Power”

Zero Written Feedback: a trial

FACT: Many schools still have blanket marking and feedback policies which dictate frequency and form of marking, e.g. one mark every four lessons, with a comment on progress and two DIRT tasks (just an example) OPINION: One-size-fits-all policies prevent us from doing what matters most for students in each subject. Academic subjects are distinct disciplinesContinue reading “Zero Written Feedback: a trial”

Storming the Citadel: a quest for cultural capital

This blog is based on a talk I gave at ‘Teaching and Learning Leeds 2019’ hosted by the Grammar School at Leeds on Saturday 22nd June. Why is language vital? What is Cultural Capital? Who decides what ‘culture’ is? What does it mean to be ‘culturally poor’ How can we redress the balance? Culture, culturalContinue reading “Storming the Citadel: a quest for cultural capital”

Call me a ‘ball-breaker’ one more time…

This is a re-post of a blog I wrote for WomenEd in February 2019. A couple of years ago, a male colleague introduced me to someone as a ‘ball-breaker’. He looked at me and smiled, clearly intending this as a compliment, and went on to make a joke about how even he was a littleContinue reading “Call me a ‘ball-breaker’ one more time…”

Wellbeing: the subtle art of saying “no”; saying “not yet”, and asking the right questions…

Reading time: 5 minutes As the dark winter months close in around us, I am seeing a lot more in my Twitter feed about wellbeing and people who are seriously struggling with very challenging work environments. I have been a teacher for 10 years. My first 5 years were spent working in the wrong way;Continue reading “Wellbeing: the subtle art of saying “no”; saying “not yet”, and asking the right questions…”

Words of the Week: what we do…

Reading time: 5 mins All the resources for the year 2018-19 are below. The resources for 2019-20 are at this website: https://mysparkwords.com/work  We’ve all seen ‘Word of the Week’ used in schools. On the surface, they can seem a little superficial; how can one word per week really make a dent in the vocabulary deficitContinue reading “Words of the Week: what we do…”

Challenge for All: #PracPed18

This is a write up of my talk from Practical Pedagogies in Cologne, November 2018. ‘Unapologetically ambitious, unashamedly academic’ This is the mantra I share with my students at the start of every academic year, and it’s something we return to when we need a boost. I am currently teaching in the same community whereContinue reading “Challenge for All: #PracPed18”

What I have learned as a pregnant teacher…

Pregnancy is a wonderful thing which, for us, did not come easily. As a new head of department, it has been an especially difficult time for me; balancing the stresses of exam preparation, coursework and leadership with the very profound concerns of becoming a first time parent is pretty overwhelming. I am constantly trying toContinue reading “What I have learned as a pregnant teacher…”