Remember Timesheets are due today and please forward expenses for travel to the Induction Days to your RD asap!
I hope you have all had a great week in school and that you are all getting over the initial shock of starting to work after a long summer of nothing. It is a challenge getting your brains back into gear and also having to obey that pesky alarm clock but you will soon be in the swing of things, if you’re not already!
So, what’s been going on this week?
I have been busy interviewing more potential tutors who have come forward following a change of plan after results day and I am also starting to plan next year’s recruitment drive!! It’s a really odd process because as just as soon as we celebrate getting our current year’s cohort successfully into school, we start the task of looking for the following year’s tutors! I am already thinking from the initial feedback we have had from schools that next year’s cohort will have very big boots to fill.
As always, if you know of anyone who may be taking a gap year this academic year or next who you think would make a great tutor remember there is a £50 finders fee if you recommend them and they work successfully for us! Thanks very much to all of you who have already made recommendations!
Unbelievably we had our first INSET day of the year in Derby this week which, I confess, took me a little by surprise on the second full week back! However, it is a good prompt to explain how we manage INSET days across the business.
We never deduct pay from tutors for INSET days but we do expect that you are available as per your contract to go in if requested by school. This can lead to any one of a number of outcomes:
School may invite you to participate in the INSET day along with your school colleagues which is great for team building and professional development for you;
School may ask you to come in and help with any admin/practical jobs they might need help with on the day;
If you don’t work 5dpw, it may be preferable to rearrange your days that week so you go in when the kids are in and have a different day off.
School may simply say that it’s fine not to come in in which case you can use the time for preparation/writing Impact Reports, etc., as necessary.
So, what do you need to do now?
First, on the Term Dates page of the school website, INSET days are usually shown so find when they are and mark them in your planner. If they are not there, just ask your key contact when you are next in school.
The week before the INSET day, let your RD know and they will find out what school would like you to do on the day.
That’s it! Please note that this does not apply to INSET days at the end of school in July which usually fall after our contracts have ended. If you have any questions, just ask your RD.
Norwich, Peterborough and Derby
Massive thank you to my team in Derby who have been so patient whilst I am continuing to sort out the DANCOP placements. We’re getting there now but still a little way to go so I know how frustrating it is but it will be worth the wait I promise!
In all my areas we are still having strong applications coming through which means we can open up opportunities with other schools. Planning a trip down to Derby next week so hopefully see some of you soon!
This week I had a lovely time getting to visit some of our tutors in their natural habitat. First on my list was Failsworth Coop to see Kiran and it was great to see her working away with a big smile on her face. My next visit was to St Antony's to see how Amir was settling and I was so impressed with how natural he came across in the classroom, plus I got to have a brew and a chat over lunch which is always nice! And finally, to end the week I visited Manchester Health Academy (one of my old placements!). I got to spend some time with Jake and Adam in a variety of settings and I'm glad to see that they're carrying on the legacy of support in my old stomping ground. Now let’s hope all timesheets are in on time so we can end the week on a high!
North Wales and Cheshire
This has been quite the road trip week, starting off with Wales! Having checked in with Elliot, Amber and Adam so far, I'm pleased to see how you're all getting on, answering any initial questions and I'm keen to getting on to the rest of the schools in the next week or so. It's still Thursday as I write this, so I've yet to visit Emma in our Liverpool school but I'm looking forward to it!
Flintshire and Wrexham
I’ve been travelling around the region this week, meeting a potential new tutor, introducing myself to schools who we currently support and ones who may want support in the future. I met with somebody from one of the wider organisations who supports education in North Wales, which is called GwE. I have also had the first opportunity to visit tutors in schools, meeting with Teres and Rebecca at Ysgol Bryn Alyn in Wrexham as well as Katie in Ysgol Treffynnon in Flintshire.
London, Yorkshire and The Humber
Another absolutely fantastic week - this time full of school visits and exciting new placements! Also has to be said that communication, positivity, responsiveness and "can-do" has all been at a high this week - well done! I was overjoyed to visit Ravi at LDE and Briann at ATS on Tuesday and Wednesday (Adilah and Krishan - you're next!) as well as to see George and Tom finally starting in Sheffield! So much um-ing and ah-ing and now we're underway! Hoorah! We've also had some exciting news for tutors at Rise and Sirius too - watch this space if you don't know already! Finally, I've been putting the final touches to plans for visiting Yorkshire at the start of next month - my first time in a long time! See you all soon!
Wall of Happy
This week Alan starts us off with his special mentions!
This week I'd like to highlight Amber. During my visit to Dinas Bran this week, I was able to see her helping across several students in the classroom when their regular teacher wasn't in. You handled a range of questions from a bunch of students really well when you were the Maths expertise in the room! Great confidence and patience throughout, and staff feedback has been nothing but positive so far!
Next to Joss
My Wall of Happy this week undoubtedly was my time spent observing Briann at ATS. It's my first time back in a classroom this year (can you believe it!?) and seeing Briann doing such a great job in a less-than-well-behaved class of 31 students was great! It's early days yet and all of our tutors have a long way to go, but it was yet another reminder that the people we bring on board are just the best!!! Thanks and well done to Briann.
Now over to Richard
It was great to get into schools and hear first-hand about how tutors are settling in and the kinds of support they are currently being asked to give. Everybody has settled in really well and the feedback from school leaders has been really positive. A special mention to Katie at Ysgol Treffynnon who is working in a Maths team where every teacher is new this year, so her support is incredibly appreciated.
Now to Jess
This week it has to go to Amir. Not many people would text you after an unexpected visit to say thank you for visiting. It was a small act of kindness that really brightened my day!
Also, good luck to Kiran sitting her UKCAT this weekend. I'm sure the hard work will pay off!
And finally to Anne
Happy birthday to Hafsah for last Sunday, first NPD birthday of the year! Hope you had a wonderful day. Also, Alice made my day on Wednesday with her enthusiastic reaction to writing a blog for the website and then delivered with a brilliant blog about her experience in Laos taking part in the World Challenge expedition this summer - definitely one to check out when it’s up on the site especially if you’re looking for inspiration for travel and adventure. If you’d like more information about it, let me know and I’ll put you in touch with Alice! Finally, well done to Ahkin, Faye, Maddie and Millie who have all started in school this week – the feedback has all been top notch!
Remember you must not have your phone out in class or use it during lessons except in case of genuine emergency. Set a good example to the children and keep it out of sight. Thanks!
Regional Bowling Evening - Thursday 11th October
Following on from the self- defence course at our Induction Course we are now looking forward to the next tutor social event that will be held on Thursday 11th October. It will be an evening event so you will all hopefully have enough time to get home after school and have some tea before heading off to meet your teams.
As it is a regional event, we will be posting details of all of the regional venues in next week’s Update. We hope that you will all be able to attend. It’s a great night!
Continuing the theme of ‘Questioning’ as a tool in the classroom, this week Richard looks at 3 more effective questioning strategies:
In Maths, reverse the process so start with an answer and get students to give you possible questions related to your topic or theme. e.g. My answer to an indices question is x5, what could my question have been? This is a really nice way of encouraging students to make links with other aspects of maths including fractions, decimals, negatives and a nice opportunity for you to encourage students to show off their inner super-nerdy genius!
In English, Pose-Pause-Pounce-Bounce works if you have a small group. Pose the question, pause to give thinking time, pounce on a student to give an answer, ask them to bounce the same question or one of their own to another student.
Finally, questions work best when you direct them to named students rather than allowing shouting out or hands-up. It allows you to be in control of who is answering which questions.
It would be great to hear if any of you have applied any of these questioning techniques as yet in class and if so whether you have had any success! How about setting yourself a goal to test drive a different technique each day? Let us know how it goes!
Maddie and Ahkin’s Top 20 Tunes
Thank you to Maddie and Ahkin for kindly sending through their Tutor’s Top Tunes this week! It is a brilliant playlist full of fantastic songs so make sure you give them a listen! Thanks for sharing them with us you two and also for Spotifying them!
The Power of Similarity
There is no doubt in psychological research that young people look up to their role models and emulate their qualities to become more similar to them. But with role models like Charlotte Crosby (Geordie Shore) and Joey Essex (The Only Way is Essex) becoming ever more popular amongst young people, the choices they may make in the future are at risk. Every single one of you can be a fantastic role model for students. How can you make sure that students pick you to be their role model over the reality TV stars?
“Likeness begets liking” (Myers, 2015, p.330) – meaning the more similarities there are between two people the stronger the influence of the role model.
Now time for some fun research supporting this hypothesis (Heffernan, 2011):
There are a disproportionate number of ‘Georges’ living in Georgia.
An abnormal amount of dentists whose name begins ‘D’.
There is an unusually high number of donations to hurricane relief funds by people whose first initial matches that of the hurricane.
Gelbach et al (2015) looked at the effect of this phenomenon in an educational setting. He found that students who had more in common with their teachers tended to achieve higher grades.
So have a think. Have you found similarities with the students you teach? It could be anything; your favourite football team, you both have a dog, you both love your eggs hard boiled! Make sure you’re building strong relationships with the young people you’re interacting with so they choose the right role models.
So, on that note, I hope you all have a relaxing weekend and a brilliant week ahead!