Summer Reflections

I’ve been told several times that your third year of teaching is when things “click” and I’m wondering if that will be true.

I know that there are several things that seem more achievable this coming year, like classroom management for example. I’ve now worked out how I want my room organised to suit my way of working and how I want the seats arranged to suit my pupils’ behaviour! I feel like my room will be my room this year.

Researching my new courses has been fun. Year 13 English Language is proving fascinating. The new GCSE spec seems interesting: next week I’m tackling the prep for the Shakespeare and linked poetry assignment.  And somehow, planning and prep seems to be getting easier… It’s a third year thing perhaps?

One thing that is definitely going to make a difference this year is my own proactivity in terms of my CPD. I’ve recently found Twitter and participate in the weekly educator’s discussion #ukedchat (Thursday 8-9pm)  I’ve attended my first TeachMeet and intend to attend more next year. The power of the PLN is huge… I am actively engaged in my own professional development and it has made me feel completely invigorated and positive. Now if I can only transfer this sense of possibility to the rest of the department then we might be getting somewhere!

My next project is Moodle… and that will need a whole new post!

“Have you read all these books then, Miss?”

“Have you read all these books then, Miss?” asked an enquiring Year 8 pupil, as she helped me take some texts back to our Aladdin’s Cave of a stock cupboard.

Regretfully – but probably not surprisingly – I had to say no. I’m lucky to work in a school with a long tradition of success in English Literature. That makes for a well-stocked text cupboard. As I looked round I was aware of the many gaps in my reading knowledge. Perhaps worryingly, this didn’t seem to surprise the Year 8 pupil, who nodded sagely at my answer.

“To be fair Miss, if you had read them all then you’d not really have much of a life, would you?”

Try as I might on the walk back to the classroom, I don’t think I convinced her that actually reading more would be a great thing to do. Shame I couldn’t instantly recall these wise words:

“When I look back, I am so impressed again with the life-giving power of literature. If I were a young person today, trying to gain a sense of myself in the world, I would do that again by reading, just as I did when I was young.”

Maya Angelou

Whilst I couldn’t convince her to give one of the classics a go, before we left the room I persuaded her to take a copy of Neil Gamain’s Coraline.  All reading is good reading in my book!

Things I’ll do differently next year…

I’m starting to get excited about the next academic year. Is this normal?

I just can’t help being enthused by the thought of fresh starts, new classes, new modules to teach, new pupils and new challenges. I love that I get to have this new year buzz in the middle of the calendar year too; it’s so much easier to be positive & optimistic when the sun is shining than in mid-winter!

So, I am starting myself a to do list for next year, so I can keep track of all my proposed good intentions. Here goes:

  • Fully integrate Moodle into my own working practice & then encourage full department participation
  • Research Masters courses for 2011
  • Make my SmartBoard my new best friend – get to grips with the software upgrade & use it! (Not long had it fully operational so have got out of habit of using it.)
  • Go to the annual NATE conference & any regional events where possible
  • Build up my PLN – attend TeachMeets, participate fully in #ukedchat on Twitter, learn lots generally from networking with other teachers
  • Build on the Kagan training I attended this year
  • Launch the ESB qualification
  • Start up the A Level Book Club
  • Make it a habit to share web-based ideas/innovations with rest of my dept at our meetings

I was thinking I’d keep this in draft form and add to it until complete, however I think there is more of an incentive in publishing it and then adding to it.

So, my new academic year’s resolutions. I cannot wait to get started!