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Break a rule!

I’ve had a saying that I have stuck to throughout my teaching career:

“It’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission!”

Ok, not all the time but we don’t always see eye to eye with the powers that be in schools. As teachers, we know our children better than our leaders and with the added pressures to make better than expected progress now, we must try to do different things to achieve different results. I’ve broken many rules in my career so far and indeed promise to break many more. Policies are great and to be honest, I’ve only ever used them once I was a Head teacher. In fact, they were worth their weight in gold during my headships. However, on a day to day basis in the classroom, they were there but not present. I rarely followed strategies but preferred to, for example, teach writing, offer formative assessment as quickly as I could and teach the misconceptions at the point in which they were taking place. In fact I can say that by the end of every single lesson I taught, each pupil had either received some formative assessment from their teacher or a peer. Some of you will be blessed to work for inspired leaders who will trust and give permission for rule breaking, yet some of you will not. I was supporting a Secondary Academy in 2013 that had a very strict mobile phone policy yet after discussion with a few teachers it was clear that some encouraged pupils to use them to record audio, upload music, take photographs of work/designs. This was such a refreshing revelation that teachers were either working for leaders who encouraged risk taking or felt empowered enough to break rules for the good of the learning within their classrooms.

As we begin a new year, what rules are you going to break to ensure your pupils get the best possible learning in your classroom?

January 1, 2014

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