Navigating The Alternative Route to Registration

Friday 28 October

Not needed in school today, so decided to review where I'd got to with clocking up the teaching days required for full registration, which is 270 if you're not on the
Teacher Induction Scheme . I've got the wrong personality for this sort of thing, so have been putting it off. I covered a Maths maternity vacancy from January 05 till the summer, and the original idea was to do a review when I moved to another school. As I'm still there, although now in Science, it never happened. A careful trawl through the diary showed I'm now over the 100 day mark. Maybe I should be celebrating milestones like that?

Decided to ring the
General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) in the afternoon to try to clarify what exactly is expected of me. You get a lot of very high-quality documentation as part of the registration process, but inevitably it's geared to the standard route, and the more you read it, the more things you realise aren't as tidy when you're on the
alternative supply-teaching route; things like numbers of observed lessons, number of interim reports, mentoring arrangements aren't prescribed.

Heather in the GTC's Probation Support office was very helpful, and spent a large chunk of her afternoon answering my endless questions. Clearly the thing to do is get reports in to the GTC after each chunk of work. They then know what experience you've gained – there's no other feedback system – then they can write to you with a "bank statement" to let you know how far they think you've got. It's certainly not a box-ticking system: there's clearly a careful check being made that only appropriate experience is counted. I can't remember when I last phoned up any organisation and got such a comprehensive and helpful response. The care taken over the whole process is impressive; as a parent, it's reassuring.

Had a look at the
SCRAN web site using a school logon. This is a huge resource, and will be a great help in getting good-quality images and much more for teaching purposes.

Here's an extract from their "About SCRAN" page:

Scran is part of the Scran Trust – a registered charity – whose aim is to provide educational access to digital materials representing our material culture and history. The learning resource service hosts over 300,000 images, movies and sounds from museums, galleries, archives and the media. It can be used generically – as a substitute for clip art – or for particular learning applications. So, if you need a picture of a tiger, Charlie Chaplin, Sean Connery, a Degas, a Dali, images of war or whaling, standing stones, a pint of beer, an integrated circuit, or line drawings of an acorn or an adrenal gland – to name a few – try Scran first. In addition, the educational environment supports 3,000 learning Pathfinder Packs for your instant use; and there are tools such as Navigator, Stuff, Create and Albums to let you locate, keep, design and assemble your own learning resources. A quick poster or worksheet is just a couple of clicks from any image and an instant printed page or mini website are equally easy to produce from a Pathfinder Pack.




Teaching Is Attracting Career-Changers

This morning I attended a
half-day training session on Learning and Teaching in Musselburgh, part of
East Lothian Education's year-long. probationer training programme. This is a varied selection of 18 or so training sessions covering topics including: teacher wellbeing; behaviour management; child protection; additional support needs and reporting to parents.

This was yet another piece of the teaching jigsaw I didn't know about until recently. Because I'm a trained-years-ago returner, and not on the
Teacher Induction Scheme , I'm employed as a supply teacher. That has meant I've been out of the loop, and just didn't know these events were available. Neither, it seems, did Liz Surridge, who runs the programme, know that I was around. Having discovered that they were on, from another TIS probationer, I was pleased to get a warm welcome to attend.

There was a larger number there than I'd expected, probably over 50, although I didn't count. At one point
Don Ledingham , who was running the session, asked how many had come into teaching from a previous career. I guess about 2/3 put their hands up, which surprised me – and him. Maybe the
drive to recruit new teachers is now pulling people in from other careers in bigger numbers than before?

Today's Agenda included:

  • a discussion of an observed lesson report
  • a quiz about what we thought made a good teacher
  • a debate on student motivation
  • a personality self-assessment about key teaching characteristics
  • a self-evaluation, using a lesson evaluation support sheet from
    Dunbar Grammar School, of strengths and development needs – all based on the lesson we were teaching at 10.15 on Tuesday!
  • an intro to
    A Curriculum for Excellence, and East Lothian's
    initial ideas in response

There was an opportunity to contribute to the curriculum debate, which seemed to surprise some participants, who didn't seem to feel qualified, or experienced enough, to contribute. There's no question about it: education has become so complex, so fast-changing and so unpredictable that it's simply not possible – if it ever was – for a small group of senior managers, no matter how experienced, to make all the right decisions and solve all the messy problems. I plan to spend some more time reading up on this change…

Not working this afternoon, but got a phone call over lunch from the other, very experienced, supply teacher covering the same timetable to check what days would suit me to work next week. Felt a bit reassured, somehow, to hear that her morning hadn't been trouble-free – it's not just me!

In today's Guardian read a piece,
Sounds Like Teen Spirit , about a new website,
SoundJunction, designed to let young people with no access to instruments or tuition have an opportunity to explore and create music. Made the mistake of showing it to my son, who then took over the PC… It also mentions
Boom! children's music video project. I must talk to Jim Cramb about this; it's possibly another thing he could use for Preston Lodge's PLTV.