Meet Jo: Diary of a Lead Teacher author 2020-2021

Author: Jo Hodge, Lead Teacher

The Diary of a Lead Teacher is back! Showcasing our teachers and the amazing things they get up to each month, successes as well as challenges and a whole lot of creativity! 

Meet Jo Hodge, Lead Teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Primary School!

Jo Hodge is a Digital Schoolhouse lead teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes in Southport. The school is a larger than average primary with an ASD Provision and is extremely proud to be involved in the Digital Schoolhouse programme. Jo was excited to launch their schoolhouse in September and is keen to continue to support colleagues in creating an enriching, creative Computing curriculum. Her background was originally in Art and she has been a teacher for 17 years. With no previous Computing experience, she decided to challenge herself by taking on the subject lead role, trained to become a CAS Ambassador and an NCCE Facilitator. She is keen to develop resources for teachers and deliver bespoke experiences for children within her workshops and to introduce them to the wonderful world of physical computing.

Read Jo's first blog, below:

November 30, 2021

It has been somewhat of a challenging time, but the light at the end of the tunnel has been becoming a Digital Schoolhouse. I remember seeing a Twitter feed earlier in the year encouraging schools to apply. I completed the form and thought it was mainly for secondary schools so probably had no chance of being successful. Then Covid arrived with a vengeance and I put it to the back of my mind. Out of the blue, the email arrived to say we had been selected for interview. I could not believe it! I was so excited but terrified at the same time.

On interview day (which of course was a video call), the Head and I were nervous but believed that we would make a great addition to the Digital Schoolhouse family. I am not going to lie, we were asked some tough questions, but we hoped our answers showed that we had a lot to offer. Already being involved with a network of local schools, I realised, through this programme, I could further support not only teachers but more importantly children. After the interview, my head said it was like an Ofsted, however, we knew we had given it our best shot! Therefore, when we got the email saying we had been accepted, we were truly overjoyed, thankful and keen to get started.

Due to the pandemic, training was all completed virtually but it was lovely to meet the team and find out what Digital Schoolhouse was all about. We shared our experiences and joined in to some creative and fun computational thinking activities. I particularly enjoyed playing a drawing game, even if I was rubbish at it; not good considering I have Art degree! It was a fantastic introduction and although I was left feeling a little bit overwhelmed, I was excited at the thought of being a Digital Schoolhouse lead.

In September, through my role as a CAS Community Leader, I decided to launch our Digital Schoolhouse at an online meeting. All present were keen to be involved but nothing was confirmed at this point. Then our school experienced bubble closures and staff isolation which made me extremely nervous and worried about the months ahead. Desperate to get it all started but feeling like I was swimming through custard. I was constantly posting on Twitter about the wonderful range of workshops offered. I wrote an article for the local paper and even had other CAS communities promoting us through flyers. Still nothing booked. I was panicking and then I attended a regional DSH meeting which really helped to reassure me. It was a relief to know I was not alone in this and they gave me a renewed strength to keep on plugging, which is now finally paying off. Could I just say to anyone struggling at the moment, never give up – you will get there! Honestly! Despite the many hurdles, I have now managed to get some online workshops booked and feel a sense of momentum. Cannot wait to get this Digital Schoolhouse party started…

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