It is with a certain level of dread that I’m approaching this weekend’s #SLTchat. I think I’m beginning to realise how nervous Sir Alex Ferguson must have felt at the end of each premiership season. #SLTchat is an adrenaline fuelled thirty minutes, on a Sunday night between 8:00 – 8:30 p.m., of quick fire twitter responses to two questions.
I agreed to host my first ever #SLTchat out of a sense of duty and taking my share of responsibility for keeping this great professional development and ideas exchange going. There is no point in pretending I’m looking forward to it. The responses come so thick and fast I’ve no sooner typed something than the moment has passed and people have moved on. The date set was the 27th April 2014 but this was delayed once @ofqual agreed to co-host it alongside the much more experienced and capable @mickkay2. I was a bit relieved to be out of the firing line.
Questions are Crucial
Getting the correct questions to engage people is crucial. I spent some time the week before trying to think of some and here are my initial thoughts:
- If grading individual lessons is not valid how should we evaluate teaching?
- How can senior leaders best support teachers to be even more effective?
- Should unions/professional associations be engaged in improving teachers, teaching and schools? If yes, how? If no, why?
- What would you most like to see in political parties’ manifestos for the 2015 elections?
- What should we do to make our Education System World Class?
- What is the best CPD you have ever had? Why was it so effective?
- Is it a good idea for teachers to be researchers in their class rooms?
- How can we most effectively support teachers through the numerous forthcoming curriculum and examination syllabi changes?
None of my questions actually made the final cut and it was me who did the choosing! In fact there were far better questions than mine submitted by @teachertweak, @mickkay2, @aknill, @alisonclarke14, @srharingeysport, @MrTomHills, @mm684, @mshmfl, @mishcamuka, @kat_thorne_uk and @njw499 that also didn’t make it to the final poll. This provides a great bank of questions for future hosts of #SLTchat (CPD provision, leadership, big vision questions) so thank you for your time and effort.
If you want to submit a question for future #SLTchat sessions look out for the link and submit away. Nothing is ever lost as it is retained for future hosts.
An Unanticipated Turn of Events
The week took an unexpected turn of events with the shocking and very sad news of Ann Maguire’s untimely death. Ann was a teacher at Corpus Christi Catholic College in Leeds. As a sign of respect we suspended the @SLTchat account for twenty four hours before gathering some more questions. In consultation we decided to include a couple of questions relating to the incident.
The quiet dignity of and sharing of memories about Ann, by the College’s staff and students, has been part of a fitting tribute to her dedication and exceptional service to the school, its students and the community it served. Her family, friends, colleagues and students will miss her immensely. For those of us in the profession, we share some small part of the sense of loss, there is the opportunity to remember her and other great teachers who have inspired us if it is considered appropriate during this Sunday’s #SLTchat.
Associated with this was a crucially important issue that was raised by Ros McMullen, an Executive Head in Leeds, about how schools should seek to cope with traumatic incidents. Ros was concerned it might be too early to consider these issues. However, I felt we could trust to those who vote as part of the #SLTchat poll to determine this.
There is a set of very timely questions, as we set off for the recruitment frenzy that is the madness of May. Julie Slater asks about how to recruit and retain high quality teachers and Binks Neate-Evans posed a question searching for some great ideas about recruitment activities used in schools.
Some big questions around the future are posed by Mark Healy and John Tomsett. Mark picks up on the current obsession with PISA and copying Shanghai and ponders whether there might be a preferred future as opposed to just chasing the ranking. Whilst John picked up the “big issues” theme with a question to get everyone thinking about education policy. The election is one year away and political parties will be putting manifestos together as are @HeadsRoundtable.
Last but by no means least, Jill Berry is interested how we can encourage and inspire the next generation of headteachers. With the number of headteachers reaching retirement about to peak this is a very pertinent question. Let’s hope #SLTchat can play its part.
Getting the Message Out
I’ve discovered tweetdeck and scheduling so I hope to inundate everyone with requests for voting. I’ve been set a target by Ross that must be met and my ultra-competitive side will be going all out for the record. I just can’t help myself with things like this. Targets are set to be smashed and records are there to be broken. It’s just how I tend to see life.
Having prepared a whole set of different graphics I’ll be tweeting out to all and sundry in an attempt to get more people voting. Expect a tweet about #SLTchat appearing on twitter some time soon.
If you’ve never taken part in #SLTchat this Sunday would be a great time to start. It’s fast and furious, so feel free to just have a look in and see what is going on or add a tweet or two during the thirty minutes. You can always spend all Monday Bank Holiday lying down in a darkened room if your head is in a spin.
Now Just to Manage the Event
This is without doubt the squeaky bum time for me. The hosts so far have made it look easy but as the song goes, “I predict a riot.” There just seems too much potential for things to go wrong for my control freak self,
Right time for action and to get voting, hit this link.
Some great advice if you would lie to host #SLTchat can be found at: