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Have a break

innovation - have a break - teacher and musician

A change is as good as a rest they say and it would appear that at least one teacher, Jane Werry, has taken this message to heart.  Her latest blog post happily highlights the benefits of an assessment system that she’s put in place but then tells a tale of how she’s taking a break from it.  I recently gave a few suggestions about how you could use your gained time over the next few weeks but Jane’s post emphasises the benefit that comes from using your gained time.  Doing something different feels like a holiday, says Jane, and she’s right.

I’m a huge advocate for trying new approaches, trying new technology and just generally seeing if changes to what I’m doing makes a difference.  I can’t help it.  I think I must be hard wired to constantly ask myself if there’s a better way to do what I’m doing.  Sometimes, I have to fight the urge to scratch the innovation itch but, by and large, it’s served me well, especially in the classroom.  If it hadn’t been for wanting to try something new, I’d never have given Musical Futures a shot.  Tearing apart my scheme of work and trying something completely different back in 2012 didn’t immediately result in something better but I found lots of smaller things that did work better, which meant that the scheme of work I built after that one worked very well indeed.  There’s a lot to be said for being willing to have a stab at something new.

It’s hard to innovate in September-June.  The pressure generated by controlled assessment, exams, progress and various spreadsheets will always be at its most intense during this depressingly long season.  Taking these last few weeks to be daring, be innovative and have fun teaching is a great antidote for the stress you’ve no doubt been under.  Innovation will inevitably lead you to a few bumps in the road but that’s half the fun.  The mistakes that you make aren’t a problem; you’re modelling what it is to be a good learner and, surely, that’s something every teacher should aspire to?