I was over the moon to be asked by Ross Morrison McGill, or @TeacherToolkit as he is known as on Twitter, to write a chapter for his upcoming book. I have written Chapter 75 for him and hope it sits well with the rest of the topnotch ideas in the book. I am honoured to have been asked to be a part of this. I know how hard Ross has toiled over it You can read about his journey here. The book is available to pre-order on amazon or the publishers site. It will be in stores on the 26th of September and available electronically on the 26th of October.
Ross has so many great projects and ideas on the go alongside his day job. I think we are all a little in awe of his ability to get stuff done. Below are a few of the things Ross organises that I have also happily contributed to this year. It's been a pleasure.
He hosts a weekly online Twitter chat for senior school leaders on a Sunday evening at 8pm called #SLTchat. I guest hosted this for him back in March on the topics of 'Whole School Vision' and 'Strategies for 'Closing the Achievement Gap'. I am due to do so again on the 8th of September. Topics still to be confirmed but watch this space. After the first week back at school it should be an intersting one. It is a whirlwind of a half hour let me tell you. It has taught me so much in the year that I have been taking part in it. One of the best free CPD opportunities out there for aspirant or current school senior leaders.
The Thunk series that Ross orchestrated and hosted on his site were great fun and a brilliant read. Teachers from all walks of life were invited to choose from his list of thunks and write a guest blog on his site. I choose 'Why should you encourage kids to ask why?' It was a lovely piece to write and a topic that is close to my heart. We must get students to see the relevance of what we teach for it to stick with them. I was very happy to be writing along side some other wonderful teachers and senior leaders in this series. Doing this post really spurred me on to want to be a better writer and keep improving my blogging. A work in progress but getting there.
I have attended two #TMLondon events Ross has organised this year - both were great and once again great free CPD. The second of the two teachmeets I attended was hosted by Ross and Action Jackson (look him up if you don't already know of him - he is a force of nature!). Ross persuaded a very reluctant me to put myself forward to present. The thought of presenting to a 200 strong audience of random teachers and having it filmed and opening myself up of online public criticism put the fear of God in me. (I'm not religious so that is serious!) Ross assure me it was 'nothing' and I should be fine as I 'give it all the talk on my blog' when I arrived then swirled off happily. Thank you Ross. I was not convinced but I did it, shaking and very nervous, I did it. My topic was Making Marking Matter and it seemed to go down quite well to be honest - which was a relief. I would not have stepped up to present unless Ross had tempted me via Twitter, and for that I am grateful. He was right, it was a really positive experience.
Again, I have attended two of these wonderful #SLTteachmeets hosted by Ross and recently Stephen Lockyer has co-hosted them also. I gained a great deal from each one. Every presenter had been an inspirational, honest, forward thinking, rerflective senior leader. Brilliant. I was feeling more confident following my presentation at #TMlobdon not having ended with rotten tomatoes being thrown. So once again I stepped up to present at the second one I attended. I presented on the importance of engaging with digital learning in our schools. I thoroughly enjoyed putting this presentation together as it is something I have been working on in depth this year. Once again I was not booed off stage so I can't have been bad.
This past year has seen me stepping up to senior leadership. Having complete a full year in post and looking forward to the next, I really am so happy to have had the extra support of these projects. They have developed me more than just time on the job and regular CPD does. Although these are just as important. You need space to reflect, discuss and hash out your ideas. You need to learn form others doing really well in your own school as well as those doing well differently in other schools. It is important not to just live in the bubble that is your own school, to keep challenging yourself and to stay fresh and informed and these projects have allowed me to do this.