A day in the life of an OSG teacher

History and Global Perspectives Teacher Brittany Kennedy shares a typical day at OneSchool Global.


How does a typical work day begin for you? What sort of prep work do you complete in the morning before school officially begins?

My work day starts with a quiet coffee in the staffroom which allows me to gather my thoughts and work through any preparation needed before school. I check my emails and action those I can, whilst also updating Canvas courses as needed.


How is a typical school day structured for you?

We have six 50 minute lessons each day, with many of my lessons being taught in doubles. On any given day I have between three and five lessons with the kids – some in class and others in the Learning Centre coaching students and running tutorials. As I’m a subject lead and also on my school’s leadership team, I also have management and department time, which is spread throughout the week.


How might a school day at a OneSchool Global campus differ from another school?

At OSG you build relationships with students and staff from across the country, and indeed the world. I have taught students from the UK, Ireland and Italy in my time at OSG, as well as having ad hoc students from Australia, Canada, France and the USA join our school and attend lessons whilst visiting family here. 

The focus on digital skills, which started before the pandemic and has only increased since then, is second to none. The range of IT programs available to all staff and students to support learning is vast, along with the focus on Video Conferencing teaching on Zoom, which means you can teach a truly global class seamlessly. 

Lastly, because we are a network of smaller schools, sharing ideas as a department across the country means you get a range of opinions and views which might otherwise be missing – it also ensures that help is only ever an email away if you’re stuck for ideas or resources. It’s a different way of working but one that encourages people to grow.


How do you structure your lessons to engage and inspire your students? Could you walk us through the process of planning and delivering a lesson?

I try to structure my lessons with an initial hook – it could be a pre-learning quiz to gauge knowledge or a short source-based task to get students into the lesson or even a game. We then do the main “skill” part of the lesson – the stuff students absolutely need to know to do well; before moving on to allowing students to explore the topic or issue, either through their creative presentation skills or developing their debate skills or written skills. It sounds quite formulaic but it isn’t as there is a range of tasks for the beginning and middle, whilst the latter part is often student-led choices so could be almost anything.


How do you create a positive and inclusive classroom environment that fosters a sense of belonging for all students?

I think having clear, consistent expectations and allowing everyone to shine is key – everyone has something they’re good at or passionate about, you just have to find it. For example, as a History teacher I know that everyone has an aspect of History that they enjoy, but finding that amongst the curriculum can be challenging. A good thing about OSG’s self-directed learning model is that students can find their own path, especially in fulfilling the requirements of each assignment, so there is a wide degree of choice – whether that is choice of topic (for example different WWII battles / life on the homefront) or outcome (I have had students in the past write a rap about the Peasants’ Revolt in 1381). 

A sixth form student a few years ago once commented to me that they enjoy my lessons, whether it was Year 7 History or A-level Politics because my expectations hadn’t changed – everyone is entitled to share but only one person speaks at a time. That stuck with me as something appreciated by the students and something I’ve tried to maintain throughout.


How do you incorporate technology and educational tools into your teaching practice? What benefits do you see from their use in the classroom?

Being a subject lead for a Post-16 subject which wouldn’t exist without the possibility of Video Conferencing, I teach on Zoom a lot. As a result, I try to incorporate a lot of technology and online tools into lessons because the students can readily access this irrespective of whether they are in my campus or the other side of the country. Using the embedded tools on Canvas, such as Britannica, Panopto or Clickview, enable me to readily share key details with students that they can access before, during and after lessons to consolidate their understanding. Furthermore the use of Dyknow, our student laptop monitoring program, allows me to treat my VC students the same as I would a class in front of me – I can spot who is stuck and know who to help first, just as I would in a traditional classroom.

I also enjoy using tools such as Blooket to enhance student experience by enabling them to consolidate their learning in a fun way. The students also enjoy this and think that it helps with key terms and concepts that are crucial to progressing, especially in examined subjects.


How often do you participate in professional development and training, and when does this typically occur?

The History Department is quite good at running department-wide training a few times each year. Some of this is moderation for mock exams but other, subject-specific training, such as the Holocaust Education Training for Teachers and How to Diversify the Curriculum, runs at different points as well. 

In terms of school-wide professional development, there is a lot at the beginning of each school year with updates to safeguarding, yearly accreditation for epipens/defibrillators, and then ongoing through the year for initiatives of OneSchool – for example the language of learning/Canvas training/coaching in the Learning Centre.


What are some of the biggest challenges you face as a teacher, and how do you overcome them?

One of the biggest challenges is time management – some weeks are more pressed for time than others and it can be difficult to navigate the path through when multiple urgent deadlines are at the same time, alongside the fast past changes that exist in teaching, and OneSchool in particular. I find prioritising the tasks that will have the biggest impact on student progress is the easiest way to navigate through to the end of the list. 

Another challenge is getting the balance between teacher-led and student-led initiatives within assignments. This gets easier over time but I know in the beginning of self-directed learning it wasn’t always the best balance – however this had the benefit of showing students that everyone is still learning and that everyone makes mistakes – how you respond to those mistakes is what matters.


Can you share a memorable or rewarding moment you’ve experienced as a teacher? What made it stand out to you?

There have been so many – the emails from students on results day when their History/Politics/Global Perspectives results were better than expected always stand out. I can remember one student who messaged me with 15 exclamation marks following her “thank you” after being particularly surprised and then receiving a follow-up email two minutes later saying “Miss, I’m so sorry for the informal tone and unprofessional nature of my previous email, I was just so excited at my results that I had to share it with you” which was hilarious and touching at the same time.

Any ‘light-bulb’ moment that a student has in my lesson where the concept or skill that we’re trying to master suddenly makes sense would be another rewarding moment. It is probably the single most rewarding moment a teacher can witness – the moment frustration turns to elation as a skill is mastered or a concept makes sense – because it opens up the entire subject for students.

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