Ciara McGuane is the Summer Course Director for Rahoo.ie.
Her career highlights include being filmed by BBC London teaching in the classroom and guest-lecturing at the Institute of Education in London. She has worked as a teacher, school leader, teacher trainer and initial teacher training tutor prior to setting up Rahoo.
One of her favourite memories of teaching is when her class (with the help of kind colleagues!) organised a surprise engagement party for her and sung Bruno Mars “Just the Ways You Are” to her!
One of her most embarrassing moments is getting locked into the school building when working late in her NQT year, set off the alarm and had to squeeze under the big school gate and two women passing by had to drag her out! All caught on CCTV!
Ciara is passionate about teacher and student potential – and believes accessible, informal and enjoyable CPD is one of the best ways teachers can develop. She currently works with Rahoo and misses the classroom – she will be back someday soon!
This is the ultimate tip in terms of stress-free lesson planning and halving your planning time! It creates total ease and flow for teachers and takes the hassle and the indecisiveness out of lesson planning and where to put activities.
According to Albert Einstein, “Everything must be made as simple as possible. But not simpler.” In order to achieve balance in lesson planning and in lessons themselves, it is best to have a system.
Of course, in teaching it is necessary to be flexible – as literally anything can happen to thwart your plans! Nevertheless, a system is solid and will help achieve consistency in the quality of lesson planning and lessons themselves. It doesn’t mean that all your lessons have to be the same, but by creating some sort of consistent approach, it will make the planning process flow easier.
I use the 4-Step Framework called KISS. This simple lesson planning process is explored in detail in Rahoo’s EPV Summer Course “Effective Lesson Planning”.
2.Who are you spending time with?
Be careful about who you choose to spend your time with – be conscious of staffroom politics, complaining and begrudgery that might negatively affect you in the moment, but also the rest of your day or week.
It is important to protect your time and energy. Teaching is a draining job – it saps your energy so make a conscious effort to gravitate towards people who lift you up.
If you are doing this, you need to reflect and ask yourself these questions:
What is the purpose of marking?
Who is it for?
The purpose of marking is for students to learn and improve from constructive feedback. The purpose of marking is also for the teacher to learn about how individual students are doing and if they need to tweak their teaching.
Marking is fundamentally for the students and their progress.
Please don’t fall into the trap of marking for the parents or principals. Many teacher tick and flick in books so that the parents or principals can see that they have looked at the page. Ticking and Flicking is NOT good quality feedback – it is not purposeful and it is a waste of your time.
It is better to choose a piece of work to mark – and mark that to a good standard using a feedback framework like two stars and a wish to provide constructive feedback to students.
There is a whole section on effective marking and feedback in the Work Smarter, Be Happier EPV Summer Course.
Thank you to Ms Forde for hosting this guest blog post!
Rahoo Summer Course Director