Hello! I met Mel when we started working together in our role as ASTs I was in awe of her brain and her seemingly endless list of ideas to share with teachers. Working with her for over three years was a dream – lots of hard work but lots of fun too! We made a great tag-team: I was the talker and she was the thinker. Perfect. All of our energies were put into delivering high quality CPD to our colleagues. We wanted to banish the old skool ‘everyone sitting in a hall after school’ CPD where a teacher experiences ‘death by PowerPoint’. Instead we made complete fools of ourselves by filming each other for other teachers to see the successes and mistakes we made in our classrooms. Moreover, we identified our excellent teachers and created a Lead Learner community where other teachers shared their expertise during twilight CPD sessions. The thing we wanted to create most was a learning culture where being observed was viewed as a positive thing and teachers felt comfortable talking to each other about their highs and lows.
After going through an Ofsted inspection in 2012 and seeing the school move from Good to Outstanding, Mel asked me if I thought we should write a book about moving from ‘Good’ to ‘Outstanding’. At first I was reluctant; there are so many fantastic education books out there that we have read and enjoyed. However, Mel kept on at me and so we wrote a book in the summer holidays focusing on lessons we had observed and talking about how they could be tweaked to make a ‘Good’ lesson turn into ‘Outstanding’.
In January 2013, the Mel and Debbie show had come to an end after I started a new job as Assistant Headteacher responsible for teaching and learning at Elthorne Park High School. It’s a fabulous job (I’ve become an even bigger learning geek!) but I missed Mel desperately. So we decided to reignite our tag-team via Twitter and, now, through this blog.
Three things you need to know about Mel:
1. She loves ducks.
2. She knows a whole load of hand signals that could get you in trouble in different countries.
3. She makes you believe you can be a better teacher with a little extra effort.
Mel here and true to form, Debbie said most of it so I won’t say much! The best bit about my job was working with Debbie and I’m so glad that we will still be together even if it is more often digitally than physically!
The scene is set so I’ll just add some important points about Debbie:
1. She always has something to say.
2. You will always want to hear what she has to say.
3. Point 2 is true because she is an amazing teacher and knows a ridiculous amount about learning and teaching.
4. Points 2 and 3 are even more true because she is so passionate about learning and always wants to try out new ideas.
5. She likes animal print and notebooks and knows her pasta.