So after 11 years of teaching at the City Academy I am moving out of directly teaching children and move into supporting staff with their CPD with Aspire2Be.
I started at CAB having taught my NQT year in another school in Bristol. CAB was just starting out as an Academy and I was joining a great team of PE teachers. Unfortunately I stupidly broke my ankle after the last day of Inset and was unable to teach for the first half term. When I eventually started with my classes the first battle was trying to convince the students that I was actually Mr Pullen and that the Australian guy was just covering my lessons. Paul, my then Head of Dept set me on an ICT task of creating an assessment tracking tool, this ossibly started my geeky obsession with tech.
We worked with some pretty interesting facilities in the first year as the new school was being built, with split lunches in operation we shared our teaching space with the students enjoying their food. This led to some interesting hockey lessons to say the least.
I will always remember Nick, Steve and Lauren really supporting me in this strange new environment and helped me really settle in and develop as a teacher. In those days I did not have the well built physique that I have developed today and I often joined in with the students. Once to the seeming astonishment of the Head as I returned from our off site fields head to toe in mud after a rugby session. Those days are well behind my current energy levels now.
As time went on I got more and more involved in the department and wanted to take on more responsibility. I ended up taking on the BTEC and looked to develop it as a viable course within PE to support students to get to University. Over the years we gained more and more students and lots were going to University after their level 3 studies so a huge success there.
I became the Second in Department after four years and that was the position I held until now, although the title did change along with added responsibility. I did not stay in the role due to laziness or fear of stepping up but due to the fact that I felt I was able to make a contribution to both the school and the students from this position of management. I love working within a team and the relationships I had with my line manager Bridget was one that supported the team growing and developing over the years.
More recently I became interested in teaching and learning and took on that area of the teams development. I am a firm believer that if you get this bit right then you can have the biggest impact on students. When you understand the pedagogy and the differences in how people learn you can teach anything. As part of this I started to look at digital innovation, more so because I had a bit of a geeky streak and had to justify to the wife why I was buying gadgets. Over the years I moved things to a more paperless system of assessment and looked at mobile tech in the classroom to support learning. That is what has led me to my current position.
In the last year I have looked to support staff across the school and support from a strategic position the digital side of teaching and learning. Through research and staff training I have been developing best practice, always linking it back to the students and their progress. Matt Hall @POCottage was a great mentor in this and helped me see how I could lead things across school and I will always be grateful for his advice and hope that it continues beyond the time at school.
Other colleagues to mention would have to be Crystal the admin equivalent of Steven Hawking, what she does not know is not worth knowing and she is always happy to help. Jane on reception who always had a smile or a whitty comment for me as I passed through. Ray, my first Headteacher, who gave me opportunities to develop as a teacher and always had time to discuss ideas. Of course I wouldn’t be a proper PE teacher if I did not thank all of the catering staff, I would be half the man I am today if it were not for them. I would also like to make a special mention to Jon, a fellow PE teacher who was always there for me (and still is) through both professional issues but more importantly personal issues. The premature baby and wife’s transplant being just a couple of things he supported me through.
In general there are a whole host of colleagues that have helped shape me as both a teacher and as a person. thank you to all of you. I am a fairly shy and introvert person so possibly didn’t engage as much as I should but your impact on me has been great.
Definite highlights of my time would have to be.
The annual surf trip to Woolacombe
Mark Saunders and his eternal optimism
The daily commute with Paul Cochlin and Lou Ellerker and the Lionel Ritchie songs
The Y9 PE trip to the South of France (but not so much the 22 hr bus journey)
Meeting David Beckham when he visited the school (though I did walk straight into him which was caught on the ITV news)
So it feels a strange way to sign off but I have learnt so much. It was a hard decision to leave as I am an extremely loyal person and truly believe in making a difference for the students at CAB, it’s one of the reasons I stayed for so long. It was always my desire to really develop teaching and learning across school, to support 21st Century learning and to embrace the world outside of school that the students lead. Maybe I can have an impact from a different angle?
They do say the the true test is what you leave behind, I don’t think I will be missed or remembered in years to come but hopefully the legacy of my work will carry on, the morning teachmeets, the iPad use of teachers and the paperless department.
Good luck to all at CAB for whatever the future holds for you. It’s been a fun ride.