I thoroughly enjoyed joining the Diverse Educators Book Day Event very early this morning, which supports educators from varied backgrounds. Not many people know that I do not come from a family of educators, or even an upbringing that supported further education. However, my love of learning led me to want to complete an extra A-level in night class, a degree, the PGCE and later a Masters with distinction.
At this event I was fortunate to meet wonderful authors such as Amy Sayar, whose focus is Staff Mental Health; Kulvarn Atwal, who wrote ‘The Thinking School; Rae Snape who created a Head Teacher’s Manual, and Anoara Mughal who writes about Metacognition in Schools.
I was worried I’d feel a certain amount of ‘imposters syndome’, as I had never taken part in such an event. But the sheer down-to-earth warmth from each of these writers had me convinced that I did have a place amongst them. We do have to fight stereotypes and expectations every single day, yet each of these authors, through their determination, networking and finding great supportive publishers, such as John Catt, were published.
An author does not and should not fit a mould. But they should know their subject matter inside and out, they should have lived it, which each and every one of these authors do.
I am so grateful for this opportunity to present at my first authors event. Thank you Hannah Wilson of #Diverse Educators for supporting us.
I wrote this article for Nexus Education after hearing about the difficulties some of my international colleagues, in particular leaders, face when applying to return home to work. I find this a surprising issue as the experiences and training I have received as an #internationalteacher far outweigh those I could access when teaching in the UK.
One specific area where some international schools invest in is #technology. I hope this article raises awareness on just how much of an asset an international teacher or leader would be in a #UKschool. #edutech#teaching#leader
We had a really enjoyable CV clinic event today as #WomenEdTw after a minor connection issue, we were online on time.
There were fantastic CV creation takeaways including: Clear formatting Making the CV relevant to the job spec Personalise it to you, including a short profile Celebrate your accomplishments with positive, action verbs
When I organised the clinic, I tried to do it all. This afternoon I realised that sharing the slides on my screen and crossing over to CVs on Zoom would be tricky. Therefore I contacted Jaya Hiranandani a fellow leader of #WomenedTw who as always, took the role of hosting and made a good event…fantastic.
I have written this blog for two reasons: the first is to introduce the vision for WomenEd Taiwan, an amazing group I have been part of now since August 2021. The second is to hopefully give others the courage to take that first step in believing in themselves and activating their ‘voice’.
When I thought of the word courage, I immediately looked up the image of a lion, not a lioness. I have been following #WomenEd now for a year, but still, my head is embedded with certain images so that I still default to a male. However, it is the lioness that is truly brave and courageous. She is the hunter, seeking food to provide for her family, ninety percent of the time. The lion is the protector, ‘watching out’ for the females.
Yet, I believe courage signifies leaving what you know, into the wild so to speak, to do what is needed for you and your family. Lionesses rear their children in packs and hunt in packs. Their strength comes from supporting one another. Lions hunt solo.
The lioness is strong, courageous and a collaborator, exactly as we are, as females.
WomenEd Taiwan represents these values. Supporting one another to excel is my drive as founder. This is the vision. We support all in education: teaching assistants, specialists, teachers, leaders, and aspiring leaders, and everyone in between. When we have a chance to discuss, collaborate, and share our ideas with experts in the field, we grow and become more confident. Knowledge is key and being informed allows us to be courageous and help others to find their courage.
Many of us are quiet, lack confidence, unsure, and carry ‘imposter syndrome’ when we try anything new. THIS WAS ME. However, I have grown courageous. Through the constant affirmations from others, I have begun to shake off that imposter syndome. I have begun to feel that we do need more female leaders in education and we need to strive to get ourselves there and not just accept the situation to be ‘just what it is’.
Through attending webinars watching and learning from courageous, strong women, I felt strength. I attended Hannah Wilson’s #IamRemarkable workshop (I recommend all of you to attend this) and I saw women who were experiencing bias in the workplace. This workshop gave them the strength to understand that this was not right and they needed to fight for change. This is what I hope, and wish, WomenEd Taiwan will offer those who attend our events. If it helps just one of us, to have a little more courage to become #10%braver, then our goal is achieved.
So, if you feel nervous about attending an event, please don’t. Please be assured the majority of the participants will also feel this way. If you think that WomenEd Taiwan is only for teachers, it is not. It’s for every person in education who identifies as female, as well as #heforshe advocates who could benefit and support what we discuss. Find your courage to come and join us.
We have been finding our way in WomenEd Taiwan, and I’m sorry if perhaps our vision wasn’t clear from the start. We all are volunteers with no prior experience of setting up a grass-roots organisation to help make the world that little bit better. But as we grow, we know what we are. We are non-selective, inclusive, kind, individuals who come together to offer solutions. No problem is too small and we hope to help others in anyway we can.
Jess, Jaya and Jessica present a section of videos which show a problem in terms of gender bias. We will discuss as small groups possible solutions for each video, to support one another. There will be an open forum discussion for all interested, to talk through any issues in the workplace. Option to continue discussions in a nearby coffee shop.
It was quite a process, but I was delighted to find my article, co-authored with Gillian Smith, my Assistant Head, published in this issue of the Impact journal. It details our discoveries of our on-going action research project, addressing the needs of young, EAL learners. This article can help those international teachers working in an environment with speakers of other languages, however, as all children are language learners the strategies would support all. I hope you enjoy it!
I am so excited to be part of this online event, sharing my story (and book) amongst other published authors such as Amy Sayer, Anoara Mughal and more. If you are interested in finding out more, check the eventbrite link:
Check out “World Book Day 2022: A Conversation with #DiverseEd Authors” on Eventbrite!
What a topic! The area is just huge. When considering what to write I thought about all the ways I make choices in my daily life of teaching.
I realise as a teacher we are told early on that we make hundreds of decisions every day. True, I teach 4-year-olds! I guide them on their own decisions as well as maintaining mine. But how about choices?
In teaching, we have to make a huge number of choices. The tremendous effort of multi-tasking every minute of the day is an incredible skill. This is how I know that not everyone can teach. We make in- the-minute choices, and decisions, which can hugely affect our professionalism, the children we teach (socially/emotionally and academically), as well our own well being.
For example, in approximately 5 minutes on any given day in a school, these are a selection of choices I may have:
Some children are not distracting one another, do I pull in the positive wording or do I change task, or do we stop for now? (Insert name) has placed themselves on worried, do I address that now, in learning time (and possibly distract the whole class) or do I continue teaching? (Insert name) hasn’t brought snack again, do I message parents or raise this with a line manager? The children aren’t showing interest in this, shall I open a discussion out, sing a song, show a video, or act with puppets? Admin staff is at my door, I’m in the middle of teaching, do I stop and lose the focus and flow or continue? I’ve forgotten to do the register (as above) (Insert name) has a cut on their finger, do they go to the nurse now leaving me to support the others in transition, or can we wait… We need to transition, do we return to the carpet calmly or try to leave the class in small groups?
Then how about my own wellbeing?
I’m in the middle of a task, do I take a toilet break and risk not getting it done for the deadline (this one happens far too much!)
Working with young children is incredibly rewarding, I can not imagine myself doing anything else. But I realise also that every task needs to be broken into steps, clearly explained and modelled. If I do not make this appropriate choice then a simple action (pack your bags) can turn into a disaster. This is why I see, the longer I teach, the more it is such a refined, complicated, multi-faceted profession. Choices are guided by the needs of the class but also through knowing the children really well. This means a choice made with one class may not pan out in the same way with another class. In fact, a choice made on one day may not be so successful the next! This keeps teaching so exciting and challenging.
Finally, helping young children to make ‘good’ choices is another area of my role. This aspect is so very interesting to me. We always create a common ground of what, as a collective community, we decide is a good choice and otherwise. The children explain what they consider good choices to be (such as kind hands, feet, and words), in order to feel safe. Guiding children in this way fulfils me often as an educator, as I can see when they slip up (as we all do), the look of disappointment in their eyes. Being almost a moral guide, empowering children to make these informed choices to become kinder, more thoughtful citizens is just about the most rewarding aspect of being the teacher of ‘choices’.
I’d like to introduce a friend’s radio show, who is an international teacher. She will be recording a show every two weeks which everyone is free to call in to to ask questions and share ideas. I will be joining her this week to discuss international teaching along with Lydia from INTA Education, who will give us the current situation on international teaching. All the details are contained in the flyer. Hope to talk with some of you this Sunday!