Using CPD time effectively

Using your 0.3 time effectively during probation is vital, writes Kate Thomson.

Primary Teacher, Craiglockhart Primary School, Edinburgh

At the start of my probation year my 0.3 non-contact time was a whirlwind of planning, familiarising myself with the schools resources and making more of my own. I felt so lucky to have this time and wondered how I would manage next year without it.

Now, more than half way through the year, I manage to fit all my planning and resourcing into one afternoon, leaving me with a free day to pursue other CPD activities.

This is a real advantage of the probation year and a few of my colleagues have even admitted to being jealous of the opportunities I get.

Observing others

After the Christmas break, I made my New Years resolution to get into as many other schools as possible to see what's going on, make contacts and compare and evaluate my own teaching.

So far I've managed to keep my resolution and am really enjoying it at the same time.

I've shadowed a few colleagues in my own school, who have been the source of many new ideas and inspiration which I have taken back and used in my own classroom. I've even managed to adapt ideas from a P7 classroom to use with my P2 class.

I have also been to some other primary schools to see infant departments that are beginning to integrate a Curriculum for Excellence and active play. This was an extremely interesting experience, which I was then able to take back to my own school and share with my infant department.

Although the ideas were at first met with trepidation, the fact that I could tell everyone of a working example, provided the others in my department with a little much needed confidence.

Decide on a focus

I've decided to focus on writing as I shadow in different schools across the stages. So far this has been and interesting investigation, which has provided me with many ideas and models of good teaching.

I've learned of so many different ways of teaching writing, such as using carousels, paired and shared writing, writing that stems form drama and even poetry that was developed from a music lesson!

After beginning this investigation I have changed the way I plan my own writing lessons and the way I teach them. I believe that implementing these ideas has improved my classes writing skills greatly.

Moving forward

My advice to all probationers would have to be to use your 0.3 time in the first term to find your feet and get your head around forward plans and resources.

After Christmas start planning to use it for all these excellent opportunities that you will never be able to take advantage of again.

The next activities on my list include, observing writing in a secondary school with S1 pupils, visiting an additional support needs school for children with profound learning difficulties and finding out more about teaching writers craft lessons to P2!