Co-Creator Focus – Jess Ottewell

Co-Creator Focus Jess Ottewell

First of all, a very BIG thank you to @jottewell for volunteering to be the very first Co-Creator to add a story to our blog. Obviously, I want to use the blog to share the research and ideologies we’re exploring within our development process but, more importantly, I want to use it to capture a picture of our community as teachers, reflective practitioners and learners. I have a feeling that those posts will be far more interesting anyway 😉

I sent Jess a list of questions to use to reflect upon her first year of teaching. These questions focused on her year in relation to the support mechanisms that were in place to help her to grow her practice. Here’s what she told me.

Reflecting on Year One

Jess is an early career teacher who is about to embark on her second year of teaching.

In her first year as a teacher she worked two days a week with a year 6/7 class.  She was lucky enough to work in a really supportive school and, as many new teachers do, she soon found other colleagues to help and guide her as she found the ropes.  I asked her what methods she had available to her to help her to measure her progress as she developed her teaching skills.  She didn’t have any expectations about observations in her first year of teaching but she did attend specialised Professional Development courses on creating Digital Portfolios to record her transition from graduate to proficient.   In this course she learnt how to annotate evidence for each standard.

She has discovered that her blog is a useful space for reflection and has made sure that she has the strands and sub strands of the AITSL standards tagged in her posts. She keeps her plans and reflective journal entries for her online digital portfolio. She hopes to work on these blogs and folios and keep them as an up-to-date record of her development and reflective practice.

She identified three main ways in which she currently reflects on her practice:

  1. Self Reflection
  2. Discussions with Peers
  3. Student feedback

We all know how challenging the first year of your career can be.  How, even after a fair few years we all have “one of those days”.  One of the key pieces of advise she had for new teachers was:

Reflect on the good and the bad. I think it is important to realise that all teachers have bad lesson and bad days. Don’t put yourself down after a bad day, reflect and learn instead 🙂

It’s great to hear that reflective practice is happening out there. It’s fantastic that blogging and e portfolios are being used more and more as a means to do so.  It is vital that we all pause and reflect on our achievements and as Jess says to take time to contextualise the bad days.

  • How do you reflect on your practice as a teacher?
  • Do you have any mechanisms to measure your strengths and weaknesses as you gather evidence?
  • Is there an opportunity to look at the evidence we’ve collated and really pull it apart?

Never mind whether it’s graduate / proficient etc. What does it say about our individual talents and how do we find opportunities for growth?

Want to share your story with our community? Take a look here for more information.

Reflect Growth Profile

Jess OttewellJess currently teaches Year 5  at Woodend Primary School, Adelaide. You can connect with her on Reflect Growth using her tag @jottewell, and on Twitter as @jessottewell. Jess also runs the Teachers Inspire Facebook page, which contains some awesome inspirational quotes, and her reflective blog can be found at: http://jessottewell.edublogs.org/

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