The drive to work is a nuisance that we would all rather do without. Instead of letting it become dead time, there are ways that your commute can become a productive way to develop teaching. Here are three ideas to use the car journey to get your CPD in gear. (Ok, that is the last pun, I promise.)
Practice and rehearsal
Teachers can improve by practice and rehearsal and the car is a great place to do this. We can practise explanations to ensure that what we say in class is precise and effective. We can think about and prepare responses for the lesson derailing comments that students typically make: “Can we have a fun lesson?”; “I was only talking about the work!”; “When am I ever going to need Shakespeare?” If you deliver training sessions, it helps to rehearse them. When you don’t practise them, like a recent presentation I delivered on threshold concepts, there can be unnecessary confusion. Another thing worth practising is the difficult conversation: with students, with parents and sometimes with colleagues. You might get some funny looks if caught in traffic, but you will get worse looks singing along to ABBA. See this post on Talking to Myself for more.
If you feel that you never have enough time to read books, audiobooks are priceless. Before you know it, you will have listened to several books on the commute. I tend to choose books that I might not otherwise read in my free time such as those on leadership, organisation and history. My ‘reads’ this year have included Practice Perfect, Getting Things Done (both books I had already read and wanted to recap), The Advantage, Built on Values (both about values driven organisations), The Great Courses: Victorian Britain and Just Listen. All of these have been very useful but I’m not sure if I would have read them were it not for my drive to work. Get a free trial with Audible and give it a go.
While I am not ready to replace Shakespeare with Serial, as one English teacher did, I do love a good podcast. There are none that I listen to that are specifically about teaching, but there are many that focus on things that we often overlook in teacher development such as organisation, productivity, health and wellbeing. Beyond the To Do List, the 5am Miracle, Cool Tools and This is Your Life with Michael Hyatt are some that I have found useful. I also like Steal the Show, which offers advice on how to present to audiences. Podcasts are free, so you can experiment with a few. Mystery Show will do nothing to improve your teaching but you should listen to it anyway.
Not all CPD can take place in a car- don’t try and host a teachmeet in a Corsa.