Now that the summer holiday is here, have managed to relax and enjoy much needed time with friends and family. It's only when holidays kick in that you really notice how hectic term time life is. Constantly on a schedule, thinking about the next thing on the to do list...and that's before the school day starts which whizzes past at breakneck speed! Switching off the alarm clock and...not wearing a watch...signs that the holiday is here.
Teaching is one of those jobs that extends far beyond the classroom. It is often recurred to as a vocation rather than a career. http://randallbutisingh.wordpress.com/2007/11/20/teaching-is-a-vocation/ However, I have been astounded at the amount of teachers for whom teaching becomes all encompassing. Since joining twitter, I have been in the company of many hundreds of incredibly dedicated teachers sharing their expertise, helping and supporting each other. Fabulous. Teaching in a small, rural school, the internet is a convenient way to feel part of the bigger picture, to share with colleagues from around the country.
But, since the beginning of the holiday I have made a concerted effort to put school to the back of my mind and concentrate on family time. Of course I can't help thinking about next term and the year to come...Photos are snapped with a stimulus in mind, plans whirl in my head. But to recharge and relax is top of my to do list!
Last year was a good one. A mixed age class, massive spread of ability. When July came it was met with a mixture of pride and sadness . Pride in the achievements the children have made; those who were initially quiet and shy but now speak confidently in front of others. Their academic achievements don't thrill me in the same way as the progress in confidence, in skills, in a child retelling something they really enjoyed doing. Of course the academic progress is how we are measured as teachers, but seeing children mature, grow in confidence, learn to overcome difficulties. Those are the really important things to me. Sadness in seeing a child leaving the school.
Last year saw a change in leadership at our school and this has re energised the school tremendously. I am lucky to work alongside a team of incredibly committed and dedicated people.
So, what is going to be the same or different next year? For a start I go back in September as a job share teacher. Although the first week I am in all week as we have two INSET days! Working alongside a jobshare partner will be the biggest change and challenge having been full time for the last 20 years give or take maternity leave and two terms on 4 days a week.
Changing the way I teach maths is one of the main areas I want to develop this year. I think the strategy did a lot to damage the teaching of maths; I know that I have been guilty of trying to do too much. Teaching so many different ways to approach calculations seems to cause more problems than it solves. We are producing a maths calculation policy on one of our INSET days so I will be interested to see how this impacts. Although I am a firm believer in bringing the best out of children, enabling them to meet their potential. Attainment has to be considered (through gritted teeth albeit). My class results showed less progress in maths than reading and writing which indicates that I need to look at how I teach the subject and how to improve that.
Step 1- get to grips with policy
Step 2- put the guided writing approach into my maths lessons more effectively and use the time in lessons to work more effectively with children who have weaknesses...
That is where I will begin; let's see how that goes.
Other than the maths, I was really pleased with how the year went. I can't wait to get going with a new class. Tudor day with King Henry himself coming in. ( http://www.goodkinghal.co.uk/ ) . Lunar samples in January ( http://www.stfc.ac.uk/Public+and+Schools/2497.aspx )
Well, that's the first time this holiday I have sat down and really focussed on school. I shall revisit this later to add any further thoughts.