Wednesday, August 16, 2006

In-service days and how to survive them

In-service days, or ISIS days ("In-School In-Service" apparently)... ah, the joys of days in school with no kids around.

You'd think.

Time to tidy up the room, do that filing you meant to do at the end of last session, organise the jotters and books and folders and rulers and protractors and etc etc before the weans arrive fresh-faced the next day.

You'd think.

Well, OK, let's be fair, there is a certain amount of time available for this sort of stuff. But! there are also Meetings. Lots of Meetings. And these Meetings are Important because they are organised by our managers, and because... er, hang on, I'll get back to you on this.

Don't get me wrong, we do need to meet with colleagues, whether that be in departments or as a whole school. But (whisper it quietly) do so many of them have to be so boring, I wonder? What is it about standing in front of staff that makes a teacher - a teacher, for goodness' sake - go off the scale in the bore-o-meter? I've heard people deliver the most bahookie-numbingly dull talks, about how inspiring we should be as teachers. I'd like to say they were being ironic, but no.

So, this session, let's be radical. Here's to creative meetings; to a chance to discuss teaching and learning with our chums; to actually talk about how to teach maths. It could happen... but! we need to learn how to talk the talk first. Don't say "we're going to have a chat about how best to teach factorising quadratics"; rather, say "we'll be discussing proactive ways in which we can enhance the provision for accessing key algebraic skills and concepts, with opportunities provided for both individual and group learning and discussion". And keep a straight face while you're saying it...

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