This term, perhaps more than any other in my teaching career to date, I have been doing lots of what our students do every day: learning! As a member of staff seconded to the Secondary Senior Management Team, I have learnt more about how the Secondary School is run. By observing the rest of the team I have gained a valuable insight into school leadership and I have also been given the chance to develop my own leadership skills by working on one of the school’s areas of improvement. This secondment has been a fantastic challenge and I am looking forward to using the Christmas break to reflect on how I have grown through this experience.
However, the commitment at Regents to developing a ‘growth mindset’ has reminded me that we are all always learning. As teachers we seek to nurture a growth mindset in our students and we teach that success comes through hard work, dedication and effort. It is important to remember that there is no end to this effort; a growth mindset lasts a lifetime! In the last few weeks students will have started to notice new posters on their teachers’ doors of things that our staff are learning to do. For example, many teachers are learning to play new musical instruments, speak new languages, or improve an area of fitness. By sharing these learning stories with our students, we hope to remind everyone of the importance of lifelong learning. I am looking forward to seeing what new areas of learning are being pursued in 2015 after New Year’s resolutions are made!
Of course, not all learning happens inside a classroom. I am always impressed by the commitment and enthusiasm our students put into the many learning interactions which happen in out-of-school contexts. It is no surprise to me that one of my biggest learning journeys this term has come through watching students work with one of our community partners. Every Thursday, we visit the Mercy Centre, and each week I am truly inspired by the time, thought and effort that our students independently dedicate to preparing for our visits. The Mercy Centre Christmas Shoebox appeal is a wonderful example of the excellent student-led leadership at our school. The students taking part in this after school activity have taught me that I don’t always need to be the one in control as a teacher; these students have consistently shown they are excellent teachers in their own right. I would encourage all students to embrace the service based learning challenges available at Regents, to see what they can learn in a new context.
Laura Butler, English Teacher