Avoid Avoidance

I have a list of changes and improvements that I want to make to my teaching. As I read other teacher blogs and twitter feeds, my list grows. I have a notebook in which I make a note when I spot something online that I want to try out or investigate more.

What’s the problem then? I have come to the realisation that I spend so much time looking for the next great idea that will revolutionize my teaching that I am avoiding spending time actually making any improvements. Coupled with the huge daily workload that goes along with being a teacher I have become an expert at avoidance.

Here is the current list:

  • use self and peer assessment more in lessons
  • provide a more effective method of feedback
  • how to separate Learning Outcomes from context
  • investigate the use of SMP pathways
  • use better questioning
  • using plenaries more and making the ends of my lessons more effective
  • dealing with absent pupils and catch up work
  • creating more valuable homework
  • including more problem solving into my lessons
  • changing the type of lessons from massed practice to interleaved practice on a more regular basis
  • learning how to use DESMOS
  • including Think – Write – Pair – Share into my lessons
  • consider a new All Student Response System – No Hands Up maybe

These are just my own priorities. As well as these I am involved with lots of department development work which includes re-writing our S1-3 Courses, creating PLPS, raising attainment, writing new assessments and homework and more and more. All of this on top of everyday teaching and planning and marking and helping pupils at lunch and after school.

I cannot focus on all of these and hope to ever fully implement or achieve any goals.

I have been reading “Embedding Formative Assessment” by Dylan William and Siobhan Leahy and here are some of my findings:

  • when we try to change more than one or two things at the same time, it becomes too much and we end up going back to the old routine
  • we need to identify a small number of changes to prioritise
  • integrating ideas into daily practice takes time, which is why we have to take small steps
  • we need accountability – formalising a plan creates a record of work

What am I going to do?

I am going to take on board this advice:


My challenge will be writing down the plan. Creating a record to make it more concrete and to hold myself accountable is important! I will commit to write a blog post once I have made up my plan and it will be soon!

Take into account that if I want to improve my practice I need to change my classroom habits. This will require me to reduce time on something else.

It will take at least 30 days to change a teaching habit.

Will this help me to avoid avoidance? I hope so.


One thought on “Avoid Avoidance

  1. I share a bunch of the same goals as you, and also have a tendency to try to change too many things at once. I am trying a few things in just two of my classes before adding them into my other classes, and that’s also helped. It kind of feels like action research where I can decide if it works based on the two classes. Two things to focus on sounds more manageable…can’t wait to see your plan and hear how it goes!


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