Teaching is learning. To be successful teachers we should be engaged on a path of continuous professional development and to do this we all need some assistance. An important principle in our profession is the knowledge that, in fact, we could always do better. There is no such thing as a perfect teacher although we should all strive to be good ones and a good teacher can make all the difference for a child’s future. Each day brings new pedagogical and didactic challenges and just as the children and young people in our care grow, so we too have to accompany that development with an equivalent growth and development in our abilities and insights. Without this we run the risk of becoming stale, repetitive and uninspiring thereby failing in our vocational task. However this is not necessarily an easy journey. Amidst all the daily pressures, which seem to multiply year on year, where can we look for inspiration, encouragement, renewed creativity and re-invigoration?
One such source, that has been shown to be extremely successful, is collegial support where we can take on interest in each other’s work and create structures whereby we can share questions, challenges, perspectives and both regain encouragement and refresh our skills. This can be achieved by mentoring programmes, advisory structures, workshops, conferences, team meetings and the mutual sharing of experiences. However in many situations this is not built into the working pattern of the school and the possibilities become limited or even extinguished by such factors as overwork, time limitations, bureaucratic burdens, financial considerations and lack of real understanding at policy level.
So we are thrown back on ourselves. Reflecting on the day’s work is part of personal and professional development and some sort of response and feedback can help with this and can be conducive in framing new questions. Hence our questionnaire and the concomitant possibility of feedback. Of course it is one tool among many and could be seen as somewhat impersonal as it can only serve as an approximation of the living breathing life and complexity of a classroom and its format necessarily has a strong element of subjectivity. The questions themselves have been thoroughly thought through and tested and hopefully they can assist you in your self-evaluation and your path as an educator. As the team behind TILL get more responses it will be developed over time and honed in the light of your practical experiences and feedback.