You can keep Christmas. A food based coma where one prosecco-fuelled day merges into the next and after an eight week term, the only thing keeping me awake is the conveyor belt of food and the fact that I have an obligation to make sure I enjoy Christmas as I have been instructed to by every single member of staff as I left the school building the previous week.
Now February has got it going on.
It is my son’s birthday (big 6, big deal- he busted the mountain bike hiding place this year so now the David Walliams book has got a tough crowd tomorrow morning), my birthday- far less coverage for this one- and February half term always lends itself nicely to a bit of non-teacher related fun. Your eyeballs still work, sometimes you are known to be able to string a sentence together after such a short term and the fact that drinking during the day is far less socially acceptable in mid Feb, but most importantly, you are leaving classes that are just getting into the swing of things now. So before I scoot off to Iceland and remember how to be a fun human being, I wanted to round up why this term has been a good one and possibly the nicest one all round.
They are LISTENING!
By this point, your hard work is well and truly paying off. seating plans are in full throttle, students are tolerating and collaborating, pupils are managing to work in group tables without wanting to polish one another off in the process. Your already switched on group are with you, willingly holding out their hands for more learning, yes please indeedy give me that extra challenge further reading/homework/ website that you said was ace Miss (ok, there are about four of these children) and the not so proactive are coming around to your way of thinking. They’ve learned the person- they’ve grown accustomed to your ways, your expectations and are well aware that if they click that pen or rock on that chair one more time between now and July, you will get Liam Neeson on their ar…..
Ok. So it isn’t all raindrops and roses and whiskers on kittens, but they are on your side. They see that your intentions are good and the ‘why’ questions are being answered within your teaching on a daily basis. They have seen you trip over a cable/box of books/your own feet at least once and are secretly amazed that you’re a human because up until that point, you knowledge of your subject has made them think that you were some sort of super-learning artificial intelligence. Stick a USB stick behind your ear to keep that one going.
START GOING CRAZY
Now they are yours is your time to really start to experiment. That thing you saw on Twitter back in October and guffawed at the teacher’s bravery/time management capability to knock up the resource AND ACTUALLY USE IT? Your turn. As you may have seen, I have now started moving my classes towards pledges for next year, long term project based homework, questionless feedback and response lessons, student led learning and a vast amount of student voice to ascertain the direction that we can take together now. Now that you are over the 15 week marathon that you dragged yourself through before Christmas, and before all that delightful Summer marking starts, indulge yourself a little. Your kids will thank you for it.
Those lessons that you cannot even remember because it was the day that you received 684 emails, Jonny vomited on your classroom floor, Bob decided to knee Bilbo (I wish I taught a child called Bilbo) in between the legs, Martha walked out halfway through the lesson with a nosebleed, you had graphic novel club that day (that bit is true at least), a parent appointment after school, the photocopier broke and that child definitely, DEFINITELY whispered the word that starts with bell and ends in…. remember the good ones. The bits that worked, the bits that the kids’ eyes lit up at and you had real fun with. The lessons that you didn’t get through the whole lesson because you wanted students to enjoy the learning that you had jointly created within that room at that moment. For me, my best bits were:
Gothic fortune tellers
‘I bet’ trivia starters
A Christmas Carol Graphic novel pages (the day I called Jacob Marley Bob Marley)
Monarch for the Day (Beyonce as PM and Justin Bieber in prison- we all have to wear funny hats)
Could you run the NHS?
The crazy effect of Sugar
The documentary style football match jungle poem at poetry club inspired by watching the boys on the astro turf
HAVE A MOMENT
Look at your own midpoint achievements- what did you set out to do in your appraisal at the start of the year? Are you still working towards the same goals or has something happened along the way that changed your direction- perhaps for the better? I know that I have now reached a point where my focus has switched slightly and I have moved from a crossroads of career progression to a happy medium- working towards a specific goal but at the same time, relishing the extra opportunities that have come my way. Update a personal statement- map out your achievements to have a cathartic moment to celebrate how far you have come.
Happy half term everyone- you’re awesome for changing little people’s lives everyday and they love it, they really do.