What are teachers looking for and how does Beyond help?
We talk to a lot of secondary teachers here at Beyond: Secondary Resources and receive a lot of feedback around the needs of educators, we’re also secondary teachers ourselves, with our own experiences of the classroom.
If I was asked to distil in three phrases what it is that a typical secondary teacher needs, regardless of subject discipline, it would be this:
– To be a better teacher
– To expand time
– To have a more enriching private life
The whole point in delivering the concept of Beyond is to offer some sort of solution to these needs. Here’s how.
Becoming a better teacher
Surely everybody wants to be able to get even better at their day-to-day role or task. For teachers this can often feel like an effort to jump through bureaucratic hoops in order to seize the lauded ‘Outstanding’ label. But that’s not the main reason that drives teachers towards improvement. We actually want to be the best that we can be because we are responsible for the next wave of young adults as our pupils move towards their inevitable school career endings, and we also want to support them holistically, and be amazing at that.
It is a very, very strong belief that I hold, that using classroom resources created by someone else doesn’t make you a worse teacher. It makes you better. Why? Not because you couldn’t produce something like that yourself. Of course, the majority of qualified teachers have done their fair share of planning and know exactly how to produce a good PowerPoint and differentiate a bunch of worksheets. No, using pre-written secondary resources makes you a better teacher because it simply gives you the headspace to be a better human being. And ultimately the majority of pupils aren’t responding to your sensational classroom tools, but are being inspired by you, the person delivering the material, and the passion with which you deliver it. If you haven’t got to bed until midnight every day that week because you’ve spent several hours doing the planning yourself, then you won’t have given your students the best version of you there is.
Secondary Resources for Expanding time
I’ve got to be honest, even if you were to purchase a Beyond subscription, we don’t actually offer to alter the time-space continuum. But we can help to re-order a cluttered schedule. I left teaching under a cloud. I got placed on what felt like a completely unfair action plan after a series of scrapes with my headteacher and senior leadership team. My reflection has always been that with time and breathing space the troubles I experienced would have been easy to overcome. But, since my priority was always to put the pupils first, I didn’t have time to pay any heed to my own professional development, which in this case constituted jumping through hoops to appease an over-bearing school leader.
Instead, each evening during this painful month-long experience, I would spend my whole time planning the next round of 5-period days. This doesn’t have to be your experience too. There are plenty of resources out there that other people have written. And this may be controversial, but if you don’t have time you shouldn’t feel obliged to tailor a resource to your own class. You’re a skilled practitioner and have likely done at least a years’ worth of training. If you bring your best self and your A-game to the classroom then that will be good enough, whether or not the tools you’re using are completely customised.
At Beyond we pride ourselves that all of our secondary resources are of a reliably high standard: if you think the title of the resource offers what you want then the content should follow suit. Another honest moment – they’re not 100% perfect all the time, there are occasional mistakes, but they offer ready-to-teach solutions to the time conundrum (and we’re very quick to correct mistakes if you tell us about them). Unlike ad-hoc resource providers all of our content has been designed by professionals, so a lot of thought has gone into functionality and there’s not a clipart abomination to be found! We can’t expand time, but grab one of our subs and you can claim some of your time back.
Enriching your private life
“Outstanding” is a word that has been sadly appropriated by inspection culture. Nowadays it is a term that is laden with unwanted portent for teachers, but I would like to think that it can be reclaimed, not only as a word that describes an educator that stands out from the crowd in a school setting with no associated judgement, but also as word that speaks of an individual in their personal life as well. Once again, Beyond offers a solution to this. In making you a better teacher and providing you with more time we would like to think that we can assist you on the path to becoming an outstanding human being. So, download a Beyond lesson pack for tomorrow, skim over it to make sure you have a broad idea of the direction you’re going to take your class in, save the worksheets onto your memory stick for printing in the morning, then pitch yourself back at the hobby you left behind when you began teaching. There’s a reason why you’re a passionate person, and it’s not because you spend too much of your life planning.
I would say this, but it’s well worth parting with a fiver a month to ensure that all of these questions can be answered. Beyond creates the headspace for you to be an outstanding teacher (and human being!). And it could be yours.
You can subscribe to Beyond here for access to thousands of secondary resources – immediately. We also offer a free account and a wealth of taster packs for English, Maths and Science so you can try our stuff too.