Introducing our new blogger, George!
My name is George Cook and I am a Geography teacher from Hertfordshire. I have just been awarded QTS following the completion of my training year through a school-direct program with the Alban Federation. Previously, I worked as a sixth form tutor teaching Geography, Government and Politics and History whilst completing a Masters in Development and International Communications at City, University of London where I was awarded a distinction classification. For my undergraduate degree, I studied Human Geography at Cardiff University.
I wanted to become a teacher to share my passion for the study of Geography and how it relates to the world around us. For many years, I have been passionate about geographical debates and given future challenges facing the world such as the impact of climate change and the geopolitical implications of globalization, I think it is a subject that is of pivotal importance. I also enjoy forming strong relationships with students and seeing them develop into confident young adults and achieve both their personal and academic goals.
One of the things I like most about teaching is the moment when a student has the ‘spark’ moment and they really understand a topic they have been finding difficult. This fills me with a sense of pride that I am having an influence on them. Moreover, I am also keen to introduce technology and innovative ways of teaching Geography in the classroom. This is especially beneficial and applicable to the study of Geography due to the array of apps such as Google Expeditions that transform the school environment into a virtual and augmented reality experience. It is also a profession where you never stop learning and there are always new developments and things to try out which really excites me.
One of the more challenging aspects of the profession is the ability to have many plates balanced all at once, and it can feel a little overwhelming sometimes. However, it becomes a lot more manageable when you find a way to switch off and manage your workload effectively.
I am particularly interested in increasing my use of meta-cognitive strategies as I progress into my NQT year that are extremely beneficial to the attainment and progress of students. Furthermore, I am keen to give students more autonomy in the way their learn and adopting strategies such as the ‘flipped classroom’ so that they can teach and learn from each other. These are things that are both enjoyable for students but they also have a positive impact on knowledge retention.
In five years time, I would hope to be in a middle leaders position. However, I am open as to whether this would be departmental or pastoral based at this stage, as due to only being an NQT, I want to foster experience in both areas before I am able to make a more informed decision.