Five positives from 2014
1. I felt like a good teacher (at least some of the time).
I’d like to think it’s rare I toot my own teaching horn, so to speak, but I aced ‘Of Mice and Men’ with Year 11 this year. The kids loved it. Their resulting work was INCREDIBLE. And I managed to share some teaching ideas on my blog that other teachers seemed to like too. Bonus. It’s those moments when everything comes together in some gloriously exciting recipe of discovery that make this job EXCITING. And that have the power to sustain you through other days when nothing seems to go right or inspiration fails to materialise and an hour feels like a day…
2. I turned 30.
I think this one’s at least partially related to number one. I am officially long in the tooth. I have grey hair. I am onto my third GCSE specification (not including the million and one revision to this one). And that brings with it a surprising amount of experience and comfort. Most of the time I feel like I know what I’m doing – or at least the parameters of what is expected. I definitely know who my friends are. As cheesy as it sounds, I know myself a whole lot better too.
3. I found/am finding the NPQSL course hard – in a good way.
I suspect I wasn’t the only one to leave the first NPQSL session going ‘Woah, what have I got myself into?’; talk of 50 hours study time to a stressed out HoF was never going to be an easy sell. But, as it turned out, the work load hasn’t been the only difficult aspect of the course. It’s held a mirror up to the bits of me I don’t like and challenged me to think about how to address them. I like it because I’ve found it difficult, which surely means it will ultimately be worthwhile – like all the really good learning any of us do.
4. I started to write again.
5. I got married to my best friend.
Five wishes for 2015
1. For Ofsted to realise (finally) how brilliant my school is.This is a big one for me; I am immensely proud of the teachers and students where I work and want recognition for them. Exam results alone do not a whole school make: when the big ‘O’ do arrive I’ll be very happy to peer through the magnifying glass to analyse our faults – there is no area for improvement we aren’t keenly aware of – but I will also have my arsenal of evidence ready to show them how much progress we have already made and exactly where we are heading.
2. To be kind to my house.We’re lucky enough to live in a lovely semi with views of sheep, high ceilings and a brick fire place. But, I don’t think our house feels lucky sometimes to have us as its guardians. It needs its damp course looking at. We don’t have a blue recycling bin. The loft has become a dumping ground for the unneeded and broken. The problem is that with demanding jobs, putting aside time for our little house is increasingly difficult. In 2015 I’d like to do something about that.
3. To create a new GCSE course I can be excited about teaching.I've made it out of the other side of the change curve in relation to the removal of tiers of entry, move to 100% exam etc. and am determined to embrace the new specs with open arms. Our students deserve a course that their teachers want to teach. For us, this is going to be mean exciting, fresh new texts and a new, more integrated way of delivering the course. We're only at the embryonic stage, but I'm excited for our plans to be brought to fruition ready for their September 2015 start.
4. To cook proper food more oftenToo often this year I've slipped into the habit of frozen things and takeaway menus and have been left feeling icky by it. I'm looking forward to opening up a couple of new cook books and making my occasional visits to our fab oriental super market more regular occurrences.
5. For my two best mates to have fantastic weddings.I'm looking forward to being the drunken bridesmaid this year rather than the overwhelmed bride: two of my brilliant friends get wed to their brilliant (and long-suffering) boyfriends this year. And that is just lovely.