Colin Goffin: This is how I work

The aim of this series of posts is to share how we work with each other, and to publish one new post per week. However, in the interest of creating a bit of momentum, here is the second post a bit early with another one already in draft for the weekend…

I am Colin Goffin and this is how I work

Colin Goffin
Colin Goffin

Current job: Assistant Headteacher – Standards (CPD, Self Evaluation, Recruitment etc) The Benjamin Britten High School, Suffolk

Been a teacher since: 1999

Location: Norfolk

Current mobile device: Iphone 5

Current computer: Macbook Pro

School-issued devices: Laptop running Windows 7 – never leaves school as prefer Macbook although transferring one to the other can be a challenge.

One word that best describes how you work: My wife would say ‘continuously’ which I suppose is a fair summary. I certainly feel like I work hard but don’t see myself as alone in that or some sort of martyr!

How do you manage your calendar/diary?

iCal on my phone mainly. Input events here and also email to outlook on school system which is shared with Head’s office team who can add events in – although the sync from school to phone never seems to work as well as vice versa.

How do you manage your lesson planning?

I plan collaboratively a lot with the rest of the CBC (Competency Based Curriculum) team and we use a common school format which I designed based on TEEP. All staff are trained in TEEP so we have a (developing!) common language of learning. After Easter though I’m getting more punk thanks to Tait Coles @totallywired77 so the students will be planning their own paths

How do you manage your marking?

I used to mark Nationals in Media which was fantastic as was all ICT based feedback but the CBC uses more books and essays etc so I’m back to hand written comments which is a challenge for me and the kids! I use a trick I was taught as an NQT – arrange in piles of 5 and always do some when there’s time. I also mark in the morning when there’s nobody else in school.

 What’s your best tip for term-time weekends?

Get up early and make the most of the day. I can walk my dog – who is a godsend for my sanity – get some work done and a few tweets and be clear by the time my wife is up and ready for the day. Aside from that don’t be an Arsenal fan as you never know how they’ll bugger up your weekend!

What do you do during school holidays?

Last year I spent most of the summer doing things to our house as we moved in in June and there’s still some bits to do there. I love having people round and barbecues when the weather’s up to it and I’m getting back into reading. Had found it hard for a while as nothing kept my attention but now rediscovering it. Billy Bragg’s The Progressive Patriot is my current read as I search for my own identity.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

Just to be predictable Twitter is a massive one for me. Am learning not to get too involved in some debates there though as wasn’t switching off very well! I also love the podcast app and new bbc radio player for dog walks.

What offline tools can’t you live without?

Is it cheating to say music player on my ipod?!

What’s your main workspace like?

My classroom is a lovely space with big windows out on to the field in a building that was previously a middle school but became part of our site under when we moved from a three to a two tier system.  For a long time I was the Harry Potter of the SMT in an office with no windows (not even in the door) and strip lighting that was fairly erratic but now have a brilliant space with daylight and a table we can have meetings round as well as my desk. At home I work in the kitchen although will be moving to ‘the bunker’ a half converted garage when we moved in that will be fully converted some time…

What do you listen to while you work?

I always have music on. Itunes on random has gone from Billy Bragg to Miles Davis, The Roots, Simon and Garfunkel, Radiohead and Laura Marling (swoon) while doing this and at work have my docking station or Radio 2 if I want a giggle listening to Jeremy Vine.

What’s your best time-saving trick?

Just get on and do it really. Not much use that one is it?

What’s your favorite to-do list manager?

My head. Can generally carry things along there and keep on top.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?

Ipod or DAB radio – although I suppose phone can do both of these.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?

Sausage casserole.

What’s your sleep routine like?

Having a dog helps here. Pretty set – bed between 10 and 11 and up at 5 (although sometimes a little later at the weekends if it’s too dark to head to the beach).

Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?

Probably extrovert most of the time and I’d imagine that’s what people would say about me if asked but from time to time I like to withdraw into myself and take stock.

Fill in the blank

I would like to I’d like to see Tait Coles @totallywired77 , Chris McShane @McshaneChris , Lucie Lakin @lucielakin and Andraea Parker @dreya84 answer these same questions.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

My barber always says ‘don’t let people take kindness as weakness’ but he also says ‘if you can’t fight get a big hat’ so perhaps not the best. I’m indebted to Chris McShane the headteacher at Winton School Andover for being a mentor because he always puts me on the spot and asks difficult questions which have been more beneficial than hints and tips.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Grateful to be asked to contribute at all. Thanks.


Many thanks to Colin for agreeing to post here. Other This Is How I Work posts available here.

Colin Goffin: This is how I work

2 thoughts on “Colin Goffin: This is how I work

  1. Stephen Lockyer says:

    This is a really interesting series – good idea Dai! It’s interesting to see patterns and correlations emerging already, especailly choice of tech and sleep patterns! Thank you!

    1. Thanks Stephen. I’m also enjoying the little intimacies it provides as well. Hopefully it should run for a while. I’m sure your turn will come if you’re up for it??

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