First, the staff.
From the start of the year (when I joined the department), I have blocked off some time in each department meeting to share good practice. I wanted to get us to share more often, so that we were building our team at the same time as developing our practice.
This term, I have introduced a ‘TeachEat’, once a week. The whole department (where possible) gather together to eat our lunch – and I bring in some kind of cake – and share ideas / resources etc. The first week was ‘strategies for dealing with challenging classes’, the second was ‘resources for teaching straight-lilne graphs’, and this week will be ‘revision resources / ideas for Y11’.
So far, it’s been a great opportunity to put our heads together and thrash out a few ideas. It’s also meant that we could hear ideas from everyone in the department, from TLR holders all the way through NQTs and TAs, and all felt equally valued, because they were all equally useful!
I’ve also changed from my weekly email essay of important stuff (to avoid meetings being all about listening to notices…) to a proper, shiny newsletter. I saw someone else’s, and thought it was a fantastic idea, so I totally stole it. Shhh! Don’t tell on me… I have a weekly WWW (What Went Well) and EBI (Even Better If) slot for us as a department. I keep people up-to-date with which Y11 students are getting the small group intervention sessions at the moment, I have a thought for the week (which is usually slightly silly), and an idea of the week, which usually relates to T&L. There is space then for anything else I want to add, like key dates, a rewards focus for the week, and any other random musings that take my fancy.
All in all, I think we communicate as a department pretty well. We also try to go the extra mile, including having a list of birthdays, so we always do cards, and wherever possible, cake! 🙂
Next stop, the students…..!