My day starts at 5:45, it doesn’t have to be quite so early, but I have a 35-mile drive to college and I like to miss the traffic. I stretch (Ofsted are keen on ‘stretch and challenge’), shower and eat breakfast. I leave home at 6:30 and the hour or so drive allows me to reflect and plan my day whilst listening to Radio 4, which often raises issues that can be discussed in the classroom.
The Construction department team are early starters (old habits die hard) so the office is usually fully staffed by 7:45. We are straight into task, but there is always a good conversation going on. This includes which students currently need development, which ones are doing well, up and coming projects, new ideas for the classroom and even current affairs (see Radio 4 above).
If my lessons don’t start until 10 or 10:30, so I am happy to attend any breakfast meetings, Staff Liaison or the Teaching and Learning Group for instance, but I always ensure the classroom is set up beforehand. We have a departmental meeting once a month, which is later in the day and doesn’t affect lessons.
The whole day is very busy, which means it passes quickly. I prepare for the worst and expect the best. Like all youngsters, my students can have their good days and bad days, so I find that I have to switch from teacher to parent to vicar to magistrate constantly, which is normal (I think!)
In the first hour of theory, the students complete individual worksheets. Sometimes we change this to group or pair work and then we have a class discussion with direct questioning to reinforce their knowledge. There are some students who struggle with direct questioning, so I help them along with ‘charades’ which can be a little energetic and generally quite amusing, but it’s fun and they learn more when they are having fun.
After this we go to the computer room where they work individually on Oracle. The work is linked to what they were doing earlier but in different formats, such as creating PowerPoints or quotes for fitting a kitchen. During this time I can circulate the class, giving advice and guidance to those that need it on a 1-1 basis or consult with my learning assistant. At the end of the lesson there is a Kahoot that the students all enjoy. This not only acts as a recap but underpins the morning’s work and subject matter from previous weeks. I am very pleased with their progress and they have completed all the exams to schedule so far.
The College facilities are very good at Fareham, as a runner I only use the road, although I am considering using the treadmill in the Gym this winter as I am getting too old for those winter runs.
Motivation comes from all directions at Fareham. We have some really good innovative lecturers in all departments and by conversing and networking with them it gives you a ‘can do’ attitude. The Fareham Innovation Group (FIG) meets once a month to exchange ideas and eat cake which is great for your motivation, especially if you like cake.
We have such an excellent team here, who support one another. George, our Technician, works extremely hard looking after Carpentry, Electrical, Plumbing and Painting, he has also been known to teach when we have been under pressure. Line management and SMT alike are very approachable and when I first came to the college I received some excellent support from both.
The end of the day is always about ensuring there is nothing left until tomorrow. This sometimes means I am here at 6pm or occasionally later, but I sleep well. If my students have achieved that day then I feel satisfied, so my sense of achievement is directly linked to theirs, and they rarely let me down.