I’ve come to this a bit late as a) it took me a bit of time to work it out and b) I’ve been away for a few days. So now I’m making up for lost time with my contribution. I’m mindful of Old Andrew’s strictures about not mentioning family and only ten words for each and then I decided to ignore them. Here goes:
1. My son AJ achieved a Level 3 in supporting teaching and learning to add to his English grade B GCSE and Level 2 Numeracy so he is now suitably qualified for TA posts. If only the numerous applications already made had resulted in an interview.
2. My exam results this year were great. My Year 11 group – C/D borderliners with a mix of the disinterested, the dispossessed, the downright bone idle and the late arrivals did themselves proud when 80% of them got the magic C+. It may not sound like much bit believe me it was massive. My year 10 early entry were amazing – 100% C+, with one A* and several As. See, they can achieve early!
3. Part of my role at school is to line manage IT both curriculum and “back office” i.e. the network people. I don’t know a massive amount about It- although I’ve learnt a lot – but I do know how to enable and empower the people I line manage so that they can get on with their jobs and feel great about it. The tecchies love me.
4. I worked with Terrific T (subject of another blog) and she enriched my life despite being the most exasperating pupil I’ve ever had! Fingers crossed for her grade next week.
5. I’ve been working with a fabulous group of young, brilliant AHTs who are also Faculty leaders. They re-generate me and have worked wonders within the school as a whole.
6. I found Twitter – finally. A couple of years ago my mate Jim said to me, “Get on Twitter, you’ll love it.” I had a couple of false starts but this year I used some of the time on holiday in Spain when everyone else was having a siesta to sort myself out – I even went as far as adding a photo to my profile. I hate my photos as I always look crap in them. Actually, it has recently dawned on me that that is because I actually look crap! Anyway, Jim was right – I do love Twitter. In fact, I’ve become a bit obsessed! Trial and error led me to a few good people to follow mainly, but not exclusively, in the education community. Here are people who seem to have something interesting to say and/or who make me laugh. My interest in lots of facets of education has been piqued and I feel re-invigorated. I’ve crazily saved stuff so that I can bore my colleagues endlessly at SLT meetings. I can’t do loads of the stuff like do a thing that says find out here with a link – oh maybe that’s blogs – or put those little pictures in. I even had to look up FF when someone did one for me! Still, I’m jogging along and will surely get better.
7. I met someone I follow on Twitter – David Didau, The Learning Spy – when I went to his presentation on the Perfect English Curriculum with two colleagues. it was great and we are still talking and thinking about how we can use and adapt his ideas to improve our own KS3 curriculum.
8. Thrillingly I finally got brave enough to do a blog and my first effort seemed to be well received. My second hasn’t been noticed and we’ll soon see about this this one. Scarily, the first one brought new followers so now I’m worried that I need to keep posting stuff to vindicate their interest. Good job I like a good rant!.
9.Our new school building should have a mention here. The first sod was cut just over a year ago and since then we have had little outdoor space and no school hall but we have managed. We moved in on the last day of the Christmas term! And yes, it was that bad. I think it may be worth a blog of its own! It is a beautiful building but unfortunately, lots of bits of it are not fit for purpose. it’s also arguable as to whether it’s a school for the future!!
10.Loving my job has to feature here. I’ve been doing this for a long time now – when I look at Twitter I feel I may be like something from the Dark Ages compared to what seem to be the bright young things on there! But the thing is, I still love it. I still feel enlivened by it. I still feel full of enthusiasm and curiosity and a desire to keep learning about this craft of ours. I feel privileged every day that I am a teacher and I’m not prepared to let Gove and his Forces of Darkness spoil that for me!
11. I’ve paid off my mortgage! In December I made the last payment and it’s still sinking in. I think it will hit home in January when my outgoings suddenly halve! I thought I would never get there as I have had lots of ups and downs and loss along the way.
12. Our town’s first Literacy and Ideas Festival has to have a mention here. It was great. I made it my business to attend as many events as possible because it is so important to have some positive things for our town which has been going through quite a rough patch. I saw Carol Ann Duffy, Gyles Brandreth, Ikram Butt and Kevin Kennedy – quite something for a little northern mill town.
13. I’m A Director and Company Secretary of our local semi-professional Rugby League Club. We are a member owned co-operative and have a hard four year slog, but this season we gained promotion and lifted our first trophy for 91 years!!!!! We are all so thrilled and excited and have silenced the critics and malcontents. Not only that but our ground hosted a sold out Rugby League World Cup game and we strengthened our historic link with Fiji. I so want to be a Fijian!
And now for the 14! I’m not faffing around with that be a better wife/mother/grandmother/friend caper. I just am. I do my best and mostly I’m crap at it all so no point wasting space and breath on it.
My 14 – in no particular order
1. Do my best to make the new building work for everybody- no easy task but essential. Some areas have gained greatly and some have lost hugely we need to look for equilibrium.
2. Working with colleagues to design a new curriculum for KS3 will be hard work but exciting and worthwhile. It’s long overdue..
3. Working with my Assessment focus Group to design new assessments now we have no levels is a priority and links with number 2. Exciting.
4. Working out how to deal with the new accountability measures without putting undue pressure on the staff while keeping us off Ofsted’s radar is a must!. Enough said!
5. Continuing to work with our bright young Assistant Heads before they inevitably move on to Deputy Headships – sigh.
6. Oh alright then – I want to lose weight. I’ve been saying this for about three years but I really need to do this.
7. Fervently hoping for the demise of Gove and his right hand man Wilshaw. I’m fed up being governed by whim: Gove wakes with a bright idea, by breakfast it’s in the news and by tea-time it’s a new policy to be implemented with immediate effect. Enough already. it’s no way to run anything let alone an education system. I’m fed up with being told weekly that we’re failing some group of pupils or another as though we’re some amorphous mass of hopelessness. Enough of that too. Generally, teachers are doing a good job in very difficult circumstances and would do an even better one if they all just went away. My teachers never had to put up with all this and they turned out people like me – well educated (degree and masters) hard working – (5 days absence in the last 23 years due to shingles – exactly!) and committed – (working every day to better the lives and chances of my pupils) What more could anyone want?.
8. Helping AJ to find a job which will enable him to have his independence and self-respect back will be a challenge but after nearly 4 years of limited employment it is vital.
9. Watching the re-generation of my town and seeing it grow and flourish.
10. Improving my Spanish and not copping out because I’m tired!
11. Finishing the bloody mystery blanket! This is a knitting project I started 3 years ago but have yet to finish because of time and the inability to do Swiss darning! How hard can it be?
12. Working to ensure my rugby team don’t get relegated after all the hard work last season. It won’t be easy but we will leave no stone unturned in the quest.
13. Taking more exercise by doing more walking and dusting off the bike I haven’t seen for the last two years! And when I try and excuse myself I will think of Tim Taylor and his inspiring, humbling blog and get my carcass into gear.
14. Weaning us all off ready meals and having more home cooked ones instead. Started that one already. Well done me!
So there it is. It will be interesting to see what I manage over the next 12 months.