Tonight marked my second Cluster meeting as part of a Droichead placement and I have mixed reviews so far about the process still.
When the process first started I was very intrigued by the idea of the process. Having established teachers in the school mentor you through your first year as a Newly Qualified Teacher sounded far more appealing than some other processes that NQTs and even student teachers are expected to do in order to reach their full potential.
Thus far I have found the feedback from my mentors very helpful and in general the relaxed approach and less formal class observations have reinforced my confidence for my teaching skills. I have been confident on my ability to plan and create good lessons since I finished my final teaching placement but I found areas I was lacking was illustrating my authority in the classroom and it is something I reckon I will find my skills improving over time because even since I started properly teaching since I finished college I’m developing new management skills on a regular basis. I can’t promise my students have learned as much as I would’ve liked them to learn, but I can promise I have learned so much about myself and what I am capable of and what I still need to learn and get used to.
So my review of the observing and mentoring process is certainly positive one.
The cluster meetings on the other hand I have questions with. It was certainly not that they were not organised but instead I felt the content of both meetings was regurgitating what has been preached to use since day one of education at undergrad; importance of professionalism in the school, understand the benefits of preparation, etc. I found these reminders irritating early in college because although it is vital that it is said, I also felt it was surely a natural understanding in a job where you are working with children.
The meeting itself was well prepared but I felt it lacked in so many areas. I have greatly benefited from chatting to colleagues and friends about our different experiences in different schools and I think at these meetings there is an opportunity to discuss experiences with new people so the lack of moving around and group discussion was an missed opportunity. Personally I find discussions and peer collaboration the best thing for learning. Sharing ideas and suggesting methods is far more effective to myself and other NQTs opposed to listening and reading Power Points. We’ve heard all the theories its the practical that we need to receive experience because there is only so much you can learn from theory. Experience is the only thing we need to further our careers. Overall I certainly wouldn’t dishearten the Droichead cluster meetings, just see far more potential in what they could be.