I held the second Listen and Learn meeting of the session this week. They are now scheduled on a weekly basis for the rest of the year.
My colleague Richard Parker told me today that he’d like to be a fly on the wall to see if I could keep to my side of the bargain, i.e. listen!! – I don’t know what he was getting at?
My guests today were five P1 teachers. Last week I’d met with six primary school depute headteachers.
If the last two weeks are anything to go by the sessions are going to prove incredibly valuable in providing me with an insight into some of the challenges and problems facing my colleagues in schools. It’s also a pleasure to sit down with people who obviously love their work – even if there are frustrations and obstacles which sometimes conspire against them.
Concerns have ranged from ICT support – especially in terms of quick repairs to equipment; to questions about how schools are funded; pressures on non-teaching time; buraucracy; support for learning; class sizes; and curriculum for excellence.
Despite my attempting to keep the focus on their concerns they were were uncomfortable with the hour simply becoming a “moaning session” and we explored a range of other educational issues.
I was particularly interested today in how the teachers felt invigorated by the changes which have taken place in early years education in terms of the shift to active learning and how it has had such a positive effect on boys’ learning and engagement in particular. I even managed to bounce the idea of parent buddies off them and was pleasantly suprised by their response to the idea.
I’m genuinely looking forward to these sessions as we progress through the year and getting the chance to meet colleagues who really do live up to the sobriquet “professional”.
Next week I’m meeting six secondary maths teachers.