What are you going to do with yourself next year?

Published 22nd August 2016

Written by: Andy Mitchell

Although I have spent about 26 years of my career teaching D&T at various educational stages, I’m currently not based in a school or other educational establishment.  Nevertheless, this time of year, one can not help but start making a list of the things that you hope to achieve and concentrate on in the forthcoming academic year – its hard to get out of the habit. 

I asked myself the question: If I were a D&T subject leader or aspiring teacher in my 20s or 30s, what would be my list of professional priorities for the year? My top 10 objectives today would look something like the one below. Perhaps unsurprisingly, some of those things would be just the same today, as they were back then when I was completing the exercise for real:

Personal development:

  1. Enrol on an MA course
  2. Continue to update my subject knowledge – particularly in digital technologies and learn a new skill
  3. Get published in a professional journal or magazine
  4. Investigate how I could get more involved with the Design and Technology Association
  5. Develop my plans for taking a year out to travel or teach abroad.

Department development:

  1. Lead the D&T team in reviewing our current D&T provision with a view to developing a 5-year D&T programme for the new GCSE and Technical Award qualifications
  2. Build links with 3 local schools in order to pool knowledge, skills and experience
  3. Identify parents, associates of the school and local businesses who could play an active part in supporting the development of ‘high tech’ systems and control and digital manufacturing
  4. Enter more students for Young Engineers/other competitions to raise the profile of the department
  5. Start making plans for taking over the school library and converting it to a digital centre and maker space.

In some schools, D&T has been a driving force within the curriculum and represented change and modernisation in the most visible ways. I’ve always been aware of schools that have used to their advantage, the many attractions and the opportunities the subject offers, that are simply not available to classroom based colleagues.  Its all too easy to get bogged down in meeting the many and often unreasonable demands placed upon teachers today. This can sap the energy that in the past resulted in some of the creativity and innovation that has made the subject what it is, when implemented in the right way.  Recognising and overcoming this is not easy in the challenging educational environment we work within, but having at least a personal wish list of intentions at the start of the year, which complements a more formal development plan is I think essential.

comments powered by Disqus
Back to Blog