What Matters To Me

I was confident when beginning this task, I know what I believe in, I understand my personal and professional values well.  I didn’t think it would be difficult to share this.

Turns out I was a bit naive. When I looked at the reflective questions that matched the values, the answers to the reflective questions did not come as easily as I initially thought.

 

  • If I am committed to social justice, what does that actually look like in my classroom/daily interactions with pupils/colleagues/school community?

Whilst reading through the values I was very confident that commitment to social justice was a strength of mine however, this is the question that stumped me the most so I challenged myself to put it into this blog. After much thinking I decided that the reason I couldn’t put my finger on a particular method or technique I use was because I don’t consciously plan to do this in a particular way, there is no tick list because social justice is instilled in every action and decision I make. The way I was brought up and those around me have developed this as a value behind all of my thinking. My head teacher and school ethos supports this so it makes it very easy to commit to ensuring social justice without having to overthink it.

  • Do I value all learners/people I support? In what ways?
  • Who do I find it challenging to support? Why is that? Do I need to know something more to help me work with those people? How might I interact differently?

The answer to the first part of this question was easy, of course I do! But how could I evidence how this looked in my classroom?

I frequently discuss barriers to learning with pupils and make them aware that these can be continuous throughout their education or can come and go with different changes in their life. I strongly believe in opportunities for all and encourage pupils to try opportunities even if it is within an aspect of learning they don’t feel confident in. I have high expectations of myself and this spills over to all my pupils but is relevant to their qualities and needs and what is achievable for them as individuals. I’m very open with my pupils and frequently ask them to provide feedback on lessons and teaching which can be scary, but very helpful in ensuring all learners are included and supported in a way to suit them. I find it challenging to support those who don’t want to work and don’t want to cooperate with you to find a solution.  Confident Staff, Confident Children training helped me to think beyond what you see on a day to day basis and look further into the background of the child and what might be a barrier for them that is harder to identify. This has helped me to build relationships with those children in order to hold them accountable for their learning with sensitive support based on their circumstances.

This task has made me reflect deeper into what I already thought I knew about myself. It has forced me to think about how I carry out these values and why I have them rather than just what I believe in. There are no tick lists, it comes from within and works in collaboration with the shared values of people around you.

 

7 Responses to “What Matters To Me”


  • I agree, Faye, the first question can be a hard one to answer. You might want to quickly read over Jack McKay’s post on this question as he wrestled with it too. Are there not certain things that happen in a school committed to an ethos of social justice that don’t happen in others? Even if that means visibility of headteacher, communications between all staff and children, systems for support and consequences, etc? I take your point about it not being a check list but I wonder if we could put it into words in some helpful way.

    • I think expectations set by our headteacher of considering social justice help us to keep the consistency going throughout the school. There are a lot of individual things that happen which could provide the content of a much longer post than 500 words. An example is providing access to grants for free school meals, clothing, trips etc. We also support parents in completing these applications as without this support, some parents would be unable to complete them. Boys and girls are invited to attend all clubs equally and are treated in the same way. We strongly discourage any judgements made by other pupils that may influence the uptake of both genders at these clubs. Our headteacher or a member of SLT greets every pupil as they arrive at school to build relationships with all pupils. Staff then follow this up when they bring lines in at the beginning of the school day. There are many whole school examples to consider but I have had a suggestions from Fleur of recording a few of my lessons in order to examine my personal strategies towards social justice by listening to how I communicate to all pupils. I will try this and comment on this post to let others know how I got on.

  • Hi Faye
    Teachers often rely on their intuitive judgement as much of the relationships in the classroom that are so vital to generating positive attitudes and success in life are so difficult to define. However, if we are creative, perhaps there are ways to check up and challenge our own perceptions.

    One of the teachers in my school recently audio taped some of his own teaching and evaluated the wording he used towards girls and boys during a maths lesson. He was shocked at what this revealed about his own attitudes and how this may be perceived – for example he helped girls with maths more and challenged boys to find answers for themselves. I’m thinking of having a go with this myself… (even though it’s a bit scary!)
    Best wishes
    Fleur

    • Hi Fleur,

      This sounds like a fantastic idea although I agree it does sound a little scary! I also think that in certain areas of the curriculum assumptions can be made. With the best intentions there will always be days in which we make mistakes or pick up habits that when looked at could make us re-assess our methods. I will give this a shot and let you know how I get on.

      Faye

  • I completely agree that a lot of our social justice practice comes through our ethos and way of being in our classrooms and it can therefore be hard to pinpoint how we do it.

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