Nexus forcusses on their learners more than any other school I have ever been to. The staff are driven to learn more, try new things, push educational boundaries and most important of all that are supported along the way.
Nexus is the polar opposite. After the first week, I was seriously questioning my decision to move here, but over the term I realised my doubts were actually my reasons for staying. Instead, at a school like this I could make real changes, or at least try them out, to find the perfect fit for the learners, the school as a whole and me.
1. The use of technology
2. Their entrance policy
3. Collaborative teaching
Nexus is a 1:1 apple distinguished school. All learners and staff have macbooks, the clasrooms have a mixture of apple tv, idea paint and smart boards. Our KS3 maths classes have rough working books, but teachers don't mark them. We look at their blogs instead, these blogs are a place where learners can organise and show off their learning. Our learners are used to working together using google apps, emailing teachers submiting work online, working as a flipped classroom, submiting work via google classroom, writing blogs, making and editing videos etc. It's just what we do. All of this is great as it allows so much flexibility when teaching, plus no more piles of paper everywhere. I also think it best prepares our learners for the real world. They already know how to use so much technology productively. They know how to organise their thoughts and work on a computer.
Nexus believes in all learners. We teach children with a range of different needs and a range of abilities. This is not one of those private schools filled with carbon copied children. Not only is this far more in line with what I believe is the right way to operate in the world but it is also far more beneficial as a learning environment. The learners here have so much compassion and empathy, they learn patience and to appreciate each others' different unique skill sets.
Nexus is more about flexibility and working together, where learners take responsibility for their choices and actions with regard to their learning. We often let learners choose what and how they want to work on a topic. They do not all need to do the same thing to learn the same idea. Each subtopic in maths gets treated with a blank slate. It doesn't matter if a learner can apply Pythagoras' theorem to problems about finding the volume of a pyramid, if they can't interpret y=mx+c they will be in the beginning group for graph work. Once you think about it, this makes far more sense. There are fewer comments about being good at maths or being bad at maths, instead our learners say things like, "I need to work on my understanding of graphs, but I'm great at shape and space work."
The only way this can be made possible is the collaborative teaching style. I don't have a year 8 class, I share year 8 with 2 other teachers. We plan our lessons, often with the whole of year 8 working together in one learning space. These spaces, or hubs, allow break away groups and for each learner to have explanations from 3 different teachers to help them understand. My planning time is significantly cut down as I don't have to plan each lesson on my own, or think of a new way to teach a new topic. Instead, I have a timetabled meeting every week with my colleagues and we work out a plan and provide a range of great ideas of approaches. This style of teaching has lead to year 8 running around the field finding letters using compasses and bearings, measuring a barbie to compare the ratio of themselves to her, year 9 have used sketch up to draw and then make 3d versions of the whole maths department, year 12 have made videos to explain how we could use radians to explain circles to aliens, but not degrees...
I love working in an environment so full of new ideas and different approaches to learning. The whole mindset is about never stopping learning, its not about what grade you got this time, its about where you are heading. Learners are listened to, their opinions about their educations are important.
If this sounds like the school for you, we are looking for a new maths teacher for 2016/7, details can be found on TES or feel free to contact me for details.