Here we go. If not tomorrow, certainly this week. If in Scotland, probably last week. More than likely though, it is time to get back to work and start the new term, and for some of you it is your first day at work, teaching a proper class of your own. Good luck.
It has not been a particularly quiet Summer. It’s not been a Summer which has recharged batteries and prepared us to deliver an inspiring and dynamic education experience. It’s been full of stuff. Stuff which we could have done without. It’s been a political Summer (and a wet one) where I’ve had to stop myself from posting angry articles almost everyday (new term resolution No. 1 – no angry posts). Not only have we had GCSE issues, we’ve had free school problems, governor problems, University problems, employment figures problems, NEET problems, A4E problems, G4S problems, funding problems and my guttering gave out in all the rain. Not a great Summer at all.
What we have to do in times like these is focus on the task in hand which is being great teachers and taking our enthusiasm into the classroom. In this spirit I want to talk about what you are going to change this year, your new term resolutions.
You probably realise that new year resolutions, traditionally made in the first week of January are doomed to fail. We stop going to the gym, we do have a glass of wine, we do loose our resolve and revert to the old comfy ways. It’s just human nature. We still make resolutions because we know that we are not perfect and can identify some steps to make things better. We just don’t keep them.
New term resolutions are the same. We probably wont keep them, but it is great to analyse the work flow, identify the areas where we could improve and have a go at coming up with some solutions. Do the paperwork on time, have some more time for year 9, give better feedback, be a better mentor, be a better coach – that sort of thing. But you can make these thoughts more effective, even if you do fully realise that you are not going to keep them after half term. Tell someone, and ask for their support and assistance, share.
Once you have someone with you on the journey you gain extra support and extra perspective and have a better chance of coming up with a work flow which is sustainable and might survive a term or two. It might be your colleague in the department, or just a friend in the staffroom. In an ideal world it would be your line manager, but we all know that is not going to happen. Discuss your thoughts with your team and get them to do the same.
If only AQA had talked to OCR and Edexcel it might have been a different Summer for everybody.