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A while ago now, my Dad and I were perusing the magazines in WHSmith when we came across one that seemed rather suited to me - Teach Secondary magazine. Emblazoned across the title were the words Launch Issue, so we decided to give it a go to see whether it would be something for me to read or even utilize during my new career. So we popped it to the till, and I must be honest, I eagerly took it home to see what was inside (yes, I was patient enough not to read it in the car!).
The magazine is part of a collection of magazines - there is also Teach Primary and Teach Nursery. So this is obviously a sensible carry-on of the series. The cover promises a magazine jam-packed with articles, from an interview with the deputy-head teacher from Educating Essex (Channel 4 programme), advice on how to deal with difficult kids and even lesson plans. It was the lesson plan aspect that got my attention as any fresh ideas in this area are always welcome! However, as this is a Secondary magazine, and I teach Science, it was very touch and go whether there would be anything of relevance for me. Luckily, there was a brilliant science lesson plan (along with a maths and English lesson plan). I have yet to try it (mainly because school's finished for a bit), but it involved making chocolate using enzymes - an experiment and with chocolate. Sure to be a winner! The plan explained how to do the lesson, the theory behind the lesson as well as some other ideas of what could be done to expand the lesson. It was very detailed, very thorough and basically ensures that the lesson and the experiment can easily be carried out without any confusion. The same can be said for the other lesson plans; I feel I could walk in and teach the other lessons outlined, even though they are nowhere near my speciality. This is definitely what you (well, teachers) want from lesson plans to make life a little easier!
But the lesson plans are only a small portion of the magazine. There were several articles in the magazine (a couple of which I have already mentioned) that were worth a read too. The article about dealing with troublesome kids was good, but to be honest, it was something I already knew - but would probably benefit trainees just starting their PGCE. Interestingly, there were a couple of articles about school's that are trying out new things to ensure pupils remain focused and taking part in lessons. Both of these articles were about school's that had bought Ipads for every pupil; so instead of fights over limited laptops (which, trust me, happen), pupils will have access to the internet whenever needed. I find it quite interesting that quite a few schools seem to be following this trend, or even encouraging the use of mobile phones as most pupils now have smartphones. The articles highlight the reasons and the benefits of all this, and to be honest, I'm beginning to agree that it is a good idea - especially as it means there is a lot less chance of 5 pupils sharing the one working laptop available!
A nice thing about this magazine is that there aren't too many adverts filling the pages; unlike some magazines I could name, Teach Secondary seems to have more content than adverts, which is very much a novelty! Although to counter the lack of adverts in the magazine, there were a lot of leaflets that made several bids for freedom. But at least you can grab them and chuck them in the bin! And there are a few competitions to win, but these seem to be more school orientated rather than individual orientated.
The magazine itself cost £3.99 - to be honest it may be a tad more than it is worth. Although there is a lot of content, it still is rather slim. And on a teacher's salary, that's a lot of money (!). There does seem to be an offer to get three magazines for £6, which I'd be happy to pay. But this is where the bargain falls down; the second instalment didn't seem to exist! Although I have looked today and it now does exist; considering the first instalment was in March, that's a bit of a wait. The third instalment appears to be due in September, but we shall wait and see.
Overall, this is a good magazine and I absolutely love the lesson planning section. The articles are interesting and give me something to think about (and even to discuss at the dinner table), and the minimal adverts in the magazine is a nice bonus. It's a shame that there was an avalanche of loose adverts, but they are easy to bin. Perhaps not a magazine for one to have in the home, but I think it would do very nicely in the staffroom - especially if they keep releasing them!