An interview with assistant headteacher Ross Morrison McGill, author of the new paperback 100 Ideas: Outstanding Lessons, the education blog @TeacherToolkit, and @SLTchat – a forum for senior teachers recently recognised by The Department for Education for shaping school-leadership dialogue across the UK. He also topped Cision’s Top 10 UK Education Blogs.
Ross spoke to us about the power of blogging and the advantages and detriments of social media; particularly from the frontline in the classroom. He was adamant that the social media epoch in education is upon us and that more and more teachers are taking control of their own professional development.
Why should people read your blog?
I aim to keep teachers updated with great ideas for the classroom; as well as sharing my own leadership journey. Conflicting government diktat and changeable Ofsted frameworks means that navigating the path to outstanding can be challenging. As I gather this information for my own needs, it only seems natural to share it with the wider profession.
What makes your blog different?
Whether you are an experienced teacher or someone who has little practical teaching experience, there are ideas on my blog that will change the way you think about your lessons, teaching and school leadership. The social-feedback I’ve received suggests the information that is shared has reached all four corners of the globe!
What’s your favourite blog and why?
I have an extensive list on my blog, which includes Tom Sherrington’s headguruteacher, Stephen Lockyer’s ClassroomTM, David Didau’s The Learning Spy and Alex Quigley’s HuntingEnglish.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a blog?
I have written about this subject in a post titled ‘#CynosuralAddiction to blogging by @TeacherToolkit’. I am fully addicted to my own blog and I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t impacted on my own job and home life… So, you need to tread carefully and balance the benefits of blogging, versus the flexibility of your work/life and the choice of web-tools available.
How does a good PR work with you?
Working to promote good news in education.
What do PRs do that’s bad?
Sell their products with no direct benefits to teachers. I receive countless requests to advertise goods. I can safely say I have only promoted two or three companies on my blog that I have personally used in my own classroom, which have benefited my students.
What was your blogging highlight of 2013?
There are many! Yet, in May 2013, as a direct result of a Twitter troll, I was invited to The House Of Commons in Westminster: teachertoolkit.me/2013/05/11/belmasoffice/.
What will be big in your blogosphere in 2014?
I think social media will play a huge part affecting both Ofsted and The Department of Education.