Like many teachers up and down the land, I sometimes struggle to balance the needs of my class, my school and my own family. Sometimes it feels like real life is getting in the way of my career (maybe) choice and something has to give.
Also like many teachers, I seem to spend a large fraction of my salary on school related things during the year, often never able (or indeed willing) to claim them back from what is already a cash-strapped system.
So how can we address this? How can we give time back to educators in order for them to recharge, reinvigorate and more importantly, relax at weekends?
One way that school leaders can help is by buying into a resource bank. Now before we get all precious here and start on about the homogenisation of classrooms, removing all vestiges of individuality from teachers, let us consider the amount of needless time taken in producing resources, display material and lesson packs. If we can remove this burden (and I’m sure there is something in the latest OFSTED inspection handbook about what senior leaders are doing to reduce workload) then surely we are well along the way to ensuring that our teachers have the time they need to plan, prepare and assess learning in order to move their children forward.
This is where Twinkl comes into its own. Want a single resource on adding fractions? Twinkl will have it. A plan for Y4 French for a non-specialist teacher? PlanIt units work well here.
So what is the catch? Some will say that everything looks the same and the Twinklisation of classrooms up and down the land is a bad thing. Some say that a scheme won’t cover what you need it to and you will still need to make it individual. But, guess what? That is what I do. I take something from Twinkl and make it so that it fits my need. Yes I might not use the resources as the author intended; I might not use every lesson from a PlanIt unit in the order they are given but I have a framework that I can use to tweak and adapt learning.
Is Twinkl the great panacea for all of the ills in primary education right now? Probably not but, you know, it just maybe a way to make life slightly easier for us in the short term. Maybe it is a resource that schools can dip into, as needed, to make headspace for staff to do things better. Perhaps, printing of the unit plan from PlanIt will satisfy any planning need in a school (of course I’m going to reflect, change and adapt) and allow teachers to get on with delivering lessons that engage, enthuse and, most importantly, get children to learn stuff.
There is still room for individuality, still room for innovation and, for those who get excited about this stuff, still room to make amazing displays in your classroom. But for the 45-year-old RQT that is writing this right now, it buys me time that nothing else does right now. That has to be worth the subscription cost alone…
**Twinkl have given me a free subscription in exchange for my review, but my thoughts and opinions are my own.**