The secret to a strong department

Filling the pail

I started my career as teacher in North-West London in 1997. I began work in a science department where every topic at each year level had a lesson-by-lesson scheme of work. These were variable. At best, a scheme would give detailed guidance on what to teach, what activities to use and so on. At worst, there would be a lesson name, an associated practical activity and nothing else. As a new teacher, I found the former far more helpful than the latter. Faced with a blank page, I was overloaded. ‘What do the experienced teachers do here?’ I wondered. In these circumstances, I sought advice; a time-consuming and inefficient process of catching someone in a corridor or office and getting them to tell me something that could easily have been written down. I was quite capable of planning a lesson myself but I knew that it might not be as good or might not…

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