Welcome to the March noticeboard! Happy International Women's History Month. We wanted to celebrate female Geographers and provide resources to share to your classes on gender equality. Enjoy!
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Official March newsletter
Why the #GeographyTeacher community are brilliant…
Jen gives her thoughts on why the online Geography community is so special and her route into teaching.
Below you will find some resources to support ITT/NQTs in the job application process and members of the #ECGeogNetworks application stories!
I will start by saying how honoured I feel to be asked to contribute (such a tiny part) to such a wealth of brilliant resources for the ECGN and I can honestly say I wish the Geography networks that exist today, were there 11 years ago when I was an NQT.
Perhaps something many do not know, is that I began my teaching career at a particularly low point. I had left university after applying for my PGCE (while an undergraduate) securing a place and then due to funding the course did not run. I could have joined the history course, but I was first and foremost a Geographer so decided to defer a year instead. I ended up in a job I absolutely hated, working for an education company designing online software (HA – it’s like I should have known I’d need this for 2020!) if you have ever worked for a well-known supermarket beginning with S and completed a health and safety course, its highly likely I designed it! I ended up applying (secretly) for a PGCE the year after graduating and my interview was the day after I was made redundant - if there has ever been a sign! Needless to say I got on the PGCE and 12 Years later, here I am.
I wanted to share my story as I feel social media allows us to believe everyone has an easy journey into teaching, people get the first job they apply for etc.
I feel incredibly lucky to be where I am today, it hasn’t come without hard work, determination and ambition but I still count myself lucky that not only am I teacher and a HOD but also I have been part of a brilliant group of people working hard to create an online community of Geography Teachers.
I applied for 16 jobs as a PGCE student (when at the time most positions saw over 50 applications) and got the job at interview number 14. I seemed to come a ‘close second’ every time with limited feedback – but eventually I got there. The job I accepted was a maternity contract, – two temporary contracts later and I was made permanent. I then became Deputy Head of Department in Year 3 and acted as HOD during Maternity cover in Year 4/5. I absolutely loved my first school and learnt so much from the fantastic team there.
However, it was while teaching Year 12 and trying to get them a bit more involved in ‘real world geography’ that I started a Geography Twitter, it began as a school account and I then set up my own account, finding that lots of brilliant teachers shared ideas, blogs and resources that influenced my practise. Those teachers I followed on twitter, there was not that many of us back then, hugely shaped my practise and I am genuinely grateful for the confidence they helped me build that led to me sharing resources. It has since become a bit of a bug and I always try to share resources back to help those who helped me all those years ago.
I like to encourage others to get involved, sharing anything that helps as for me it does not need to be judged by Ofsted as outstanding. If it makes a difference to the children you teach, its likely to help someone else.
I became a permanent HOD at a new school in 2016 and it was around that time Geog Chat was born. Paul and I wanted to encourage others to share good practise and hopefully inspire other teachers like we had been. At the beginning there were 10/15 people who interacted with us every week, and although each week varies, it has grown. I like to hope its still a useful resource as it was in the beginning.
I feel we are lucky as Geography teachers today to have such a wealth of opportunities to get involved with and be inspired by. If you are wondering where to start I would suggest looking at subject organisations like the Geographical Association and the Royal Geographical Society, support groups like the Facebook groups and Twitter chats – you will always find a friendly face (or 5000)!
I like to hope there is someone with some advice, suggestions or resources for whatever it is you need. There are also opportunities to get involved with such as journals and articles, like the Routes Journal or Teaching Geography (through the GA). Resources are constantly being shared via websites such as RGS, Teachit Geography and Schoolology.
If I could leave you with one bit of advice, it’s this - use the networks available to have conversations with others. Bouncing ideas around with those teachers I have known for years have helped me at interviews and beyond, such as, solving problems with difficult classes and creating new resources that have helped all the children I teach.
Thank you to all of you who support networks like ECGN and GeogChat, as well as those who follow and contribute to the #Geographyteacher community. You are all amazing and I am lucky to be a part of the team! The children you teach are incredibly lucky to be in your classroom and although they may not always thank you, they will always remember you!
Head of Geography
Twitter - @Jennnnnn_x
Website - https://jennnnnnnnn.wordpress.com/
Our stories of job applications!
I am very passionate about supporting ITTs/NQTS hence creating the network. For me, schools are unique and finding the right one for you is as challenging as finding a partner. What will be the perfect school for one person wont necessarily be perfect for another. Therefore, before you do anything, think about YOU.
What makes you happy? What are your non negotiable? Use your observation experience to help with this. What type of culture do you want? Rural and small? Urban and big? State? Private? Really be very clear about it. Then when you research schools as they come up you will be able to narrow the field much quicker.
I was extremely specific about what I wanted and when it came up I immediately applied. It was my second application and I got the job. I also felt very weirdly calm on the day. For me, because I was interviewing the school as much as they were interviewing me, I did not feel any pressure. It must be the right fit for you - remember they are being interviewed as well. Never be afraid to leave during the day if it isn't the right fit. I am happy to look at anyone's application. I will also be talking a bit about this at my GA conference workshop on the 10th April.
Some advice from myself is that networking is so so important I was in the process of applying for jobs but received a phone all from a school I didn’t even know had a job after another trainee I had met on a different course told the assistant headteacher I was a geography trainee and sent her my details (including Twitter) I went into the school and interviewed 2 days later and I’m still there now! Even people you think won’t have anything to do with your job can in fact be a step in!
I actually got a job at the first school I applied to! But my advice is definitely to yourself and put across why you want to be a teacher. I was up against others who had more experience than me and that made me think I wouldn’t get the job, but I relaxed more at the interview because of that and I think that helped.
Lauren Cooper-Jones @MissCJGeog
"I applied to 2 schools in my training year and interviewed for both before making my final decision. Both schools were very different but the essential elements of my interview preparation were the same: be myself, represent the ethos of the schools and show a vested interest in students futures! At one school, I was interviewing with people more experienced and need I say with much more life experiences than me as well, but my awareness of this did not deter me. My emphasis on rapport with students was noted in both of my interview lessons and this is a value that I still hold strong today. My advice to any trainees, is be yourself in your interview, and have a feel for your core values in your teaching as you enter your interview lessons."
Resources for Job Applications
Teacher tool kit tips
the guardian nqt job tips
YOU GOT THIS!
top facts from the book
In 2018 Iceland was the first country to make the Gender Pay Gap illegal
58% of young adults newly infected with HIV are women
In the last three years, four countries have removed criminal laws against gays and lesbians: Mozambique, Seychelles, Nauru and Belize
40% of women in South Africa will be raped in their lifetime
Feminist ‘right to pee’ movements are challenging the lack of public toilets for women in many countries
A woman is murdered by her intimate partner every 3 days in France and Japan, and every 30 hours in Argentina
In 2008 Rwanda was the first country to elect a majority-women government (56%)
The rate of breast cancer in North America is almost double that of Africa
At current rates, boys and girls around the world will have equal access to education by about 2030
Maternal mortality is decreasing in most developed countries except in the USA where it’s increasing, especially for Black women
520 million women can’t read this
resources to use:
videos and podcasts
ARCGIS/ESRI STORYMAP - CELEBRATING WOMEN'S RIGHTS
The perfect resource to use for an entire lesson! - Click on the picture to go straight there.