Stop and take a moment to think about the most heartwarming moments in your career—the ones that remind you why you chose to teach in the first place. The little things you’ve done, above and beyond the call of duty, for the love of education. Remember how it felt to know you were shaping the future generation. Now ask yourself, do you ever share those classroom stories?
Last year, Promethean’s #ClassroomStory competition encouraged educators across the UK and Ireland to share their favourite teaching experiences with the world, with the 5 most inspiring stories winning an ActivPanel. Now the competition is back and there are 5 more Promethean ActivPanels available to win.
So, what makes a winning story?
Promethean are looking for stories that explain why education is about more than just traditional, one-way learning. Perhaps your story inspires teamwork and key transferable skills, like the entry from Scott Curnell who used STEM to encourage child-led learning. Or maybe you provided a pupil with a fresh perspective on learning, like Neil Black who encouraged a pupil with ADHD to develop a level of independence and confidence. Both stories are supported by an engaging video and a winning narrative.
Just like last time, you can share your #ClassroomStory on Twitter by using the #ClassroomStory and tagging @PrometheanUKI, or on our website. However, we encourage you to bring your story to life with a short video, this gives you a chance to explain every detail of your #ClassroomStory. The competition winners are selected by a public vote and we found that video submissions last term attracted the most votes, and eventually became the winners. To give you a head start, here are six top tips that can make your smartphone recording look slick, engaging and professional:
1. Frame your face
You will probably choose to record your story on the front-facing phone camera. If so, make sure your face fills a good proportion of the frame, without being too close. If someone is recording you, however, make sure they aren’t standing too far away. Try to stand in front of a plain background for minimal distractions.
The best angle for recording is just above the eyeline, so you’re looking up to the camera slightly.
2. Check your lighting
Make sure the room you’re filming in is well lit. Try positioning a lamp in front of your face (and behind the camera) or standing next to a window for natural light.
If you’re using an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy you can also tap the screen to ensure the camera is focusing on your face, not something in the background.
3. Shoot in landscape
It’s important to film your video in landscape not portrait mode. This ensures you get more of your subject into your shot and makes it easier to view online.
To do this, just turn your phone on its side to record.
4. Beware of background noise
Whether you’re filming indoors or outside, there can always be unexpected sounds. Watch out for the washing machine humming or a passing bus.
For best results, choose a quiet location with good acoustics to minimise echo.
5. Keep it steady
To ensure your video looks professional, you want the recording to be as steady as possible. If you’re holding your smartphone, use both hands, keep your elbows together and try to rest your arms on a firm surface.
Better yet, consider keeping your phone steady with a tripod, stand, cupboard or shelf – so that your hands are free.
6. Be clear and concise
The best videos are short and sweet, maintaining the viewer’s attention to the end. Tell your #ClassroomStory in the most engaging and concise way possible, without eliminating any of the heartwarming details. If it helps, write your story down first so that you’re comfortable with the best way to tell it.
Finally, be mindful of time. Ensure your video file is no longer than 2 minutes. If you need to cut down your story to keep it within that time frame, you’ll have a far better chance of winning.
Now’s the perfect time to share your most inspiring teaching story. Tell us in any format you like, long or short, via social media or email, and we’ll get in touch if we’d like to hear more. For ideas, check out more #ClassroomStories to see what other teachers are doing simply for the love of education.