Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Starting a new school in January.

January, a time for fresh starts, resolutions and all things new.  But not usually for teachers, January is an odd time of year to be changing  schools. Just one term into the year but not into the manic term that is the summer. Students have got used to their teachers and settled into their ways of working,they know what's what and who is who.  Even the year 7 aren't really new anymore. Then you walk in, the newbie in the school, in fact, the only new teacher starting in January. What should you expect?

1) As the only new member of staff there may well be no formal induction. You will have to glean what information you can from your department and the computer system, if you're lucky enough to be able to get onto the relevant parts and have all the right logins.

2) There will be all sorts of things going on that you will be expected to know about and deal with like mock exams and assessments. These will stop you getting to know your classes as quickly as you would've liked and mean you may get off to an odd start with some.

3) You'll need to pick up where someone else has started, this might entail a few cries of 'Miss, we did this last term' but if you're lucky these won't be too frequent.

4) You'll have so many names to learn and there will be a fair few people giving you strange looks as they try to work out who you are and what you're doing there. When you teach 4 classes of year 8 girls they will all start to look the same and the names will roll into one... You'll get there.

5) You'll need to slot yourself into a department that has probably learned to cope being understaffed or has been left at an odd time of year.  It might be hard but they'll really appreciate it.

As you will have gathered, I started a new school this month. The school is quite a contrast from my last, an all girls grammar school, and I've got a little journey in the mornings but it's not too bad. I'm getting used to different expectations from the students, different ways of planning, getting more efficient at my marking and generally taking every day as it comes. Every day I'm finding out something new, being given another document I need to take in or meeting another student that has been absent for whatever reason.

I've been very lucky to have landed myself in a department with lovely staff who are so helpful and kids who are (on the most part, as ever) happy and enthusiastic to learn.  I've got a way to go until I work the place out and really know what I'm doing, who knows if we ever really manage that?! But, so far, so good!

Next challenge: work out what on earth I'm doing this dissertation on and get on with it!

Sunday, 3 January 2016

#teacher5aday 2016

When I started #happyNQT100 - which I totally forgot to mention on my #nurture1516 post earlier on this weekend, I dropped the ball when it came to #teacher5aday.  Now that #happyNQT100 is over and the new year is with us it seems like a perfect time to start #teacher5aday again and make my pledges to #connect, #exercise, #notice, #learn and #volunteer again.

So, on the eve of starting at my new school my 2016 #teacher5aday pledges are as follows:

My connect pledge is to get to know the other staff in my new school better than I did in my previous.  With MFL being in a different block and having my own classroom to be based in, socialising with other staff was more of an effort and so I didn't do it.  In my new school I'll be sharing an office with my department and will make myself get out and about more.  Make the effort to get to know people in different areas of the school, you never know when you'll need to be on the right side of the reprographics lady!

Oh dear... exercise is not something I've been good at in a very long time.  I have a wii and various fitness programmes for it including cardio and yoga which I have been recommended a lot now.  The next task is to actually use them!  I know I need to though so I'll have to make that conscious effort.

Running along the theme of my #happyNQT100 I aim to notice the positive things every day.  I'm going to think of a hashtag and post a tweet or a picture every day of something positive.  If anyone wants to join me feel free.  I think I'll go with #postitiveteacher or #positivetweacher maybe?

My #learn is the same as last year, not because I failed at it but because it continues.  I started my MA Education back in July and need to get to the end of it!  I have an assignment due soon and then onto the dissertation - I seriously need some inspiration on that front!

Although I'm going to hold back and not #volunteer straight away I plan to get involved at school.  Whether that is running some MFL related activity or joining in with the music department (who I am already due to support for a few hours a week) I don't know yet.

Friday, 1 January 2016


I ought to start this with a big apology really, I've not blogged in an age - something I intend to rectify asap. It's been a very busy few months, I think what follows will go someway to explaining why! If I've understood correctly then the #Nurture1516 posts are about reflecting on 2015 and looking into 2016. I'm going to attempt to reflect on 5 things and list 6 for this year...


1) The main reason for my lack of posting in quite sometime - I bought a flat.
It took it's time, I made my offer back in July and finally completed at the end of the October half term break. This meant that every spare bit of time I had running up to just before Christmas was spent shopping, decorating and moving in. I moved in just a couple of weeks before Christmas. I had a lot of help from my parents, grandparents and boyfriend, I couldn't have done it without them. I'm so pleased with it - and will be even happier next week when I have a real sofa!

 2) I passed my NQT year! Wow, well that seems like a long time ago now, but that happened in 2015. Anyone that has read my blogs for a while now will know that my year had its ups and downs just the same as any NQT does, but I got out of it in one piece in the end!

3) I've met and connected with lots of new people. 2015 has been a year of new people for me. From new twitter friends, to fellow MA students, to my boyfriend and his family and friends, to new colleagues. There have been new people in pretty much all aspects of my life. That said, it's not just about the new people. Walking into ResearchEd and bumping straight into my secondary school English teacher and catching up with him or being able to go to sessions led and attended by faces I recognise from twitter was also quite an experience.

4) I started my masters
In July I started my MA Education at the Institute of Education.  I've done the first module called 'What is Education?' and I'm onto the second compulsory module (for which I should be writing an essay not this blog) Understanding Research.  I had some credits from my PGCE so they're the only modules I need to do other than the dissertation.

5) I got myself a new job.
This fits more into the things I'm looking forward to really but it's kind of an overlap.  Back in October I saw an advert for a Spanish teacher that must teach up to Key Stage 5.  With the sixth form numbers dwindling at the school I've been teaching in, to the point where we had no year 12 this year, I thought it was an opportunity I couldn't miss.  I applied, interviewed with three others and came away with the job!  I was sad to be leaving of course, I've left my first school where I completed my NQT year and where I had my first tutor group and a class of year 13s who I am really going to miss.  Despite this, I know this is totally the right decision for me though.


Ok, so I acknowledge now there is going to be quite an overlap between last year and this year...

1) I start the new job.
On Monday I'll start at my new school.  It's going to be a total contrast to where I've been as I'm moving to an all girls grammar school.  I've met my department, had the low down on who's who, got my timetable and planned a weeks worth of lessons which will go out the window when I've pitched the whole lot wrong I'm sure!  There are going to be lots of different things for me to be getting used to, where behaviour was a challenge before I anticipate the intelligence of these girls is going to be my challenge here.  The marking workload is higher so I'm going to have to work smarter when it comes to how I manage it.  I've been on a really light timetable recently due to the lack of year 12 so having a real timetable again might be a shock, that said I'm doing a number of hours of support in GCSE classes and some KS3 music so it's a little less planning.

2) I should complete my masters.
I'll jinx it if I say I will complete my masters, but all going to plan then that's what will happen.  Small issue being that I currently haven't got a clue what I want to do my dissertation on and I really need to start my reading soon...

3) I'll meet even more new people.
I intend to try my best to get to know even more new people.  I'll start with my new colleagues on Monday and see where to go from there!

4) I'll figure out a bit more about my teaching
Changing schools to one that is so different is bound to make me realise where some of my strengths and weaknesses lie that's for sure.  Beyond that, I want to keep trying new things, seeing what works for me and what doesn't, reading blogs, writing blogs and generally changing the way I do things.  I don't have the pressure of the NQT year any more, but equally I don't have the structure it provided either, now is when I find out more about my teaching than I have in a while.  In February I'm going to be working with the PGCE trainee when she comes back from her second placement and I'm sure that will make me think about my teaching again.

5) I'll settle into my new home.
Things have been so manic of late with Christmas etc I've not really had a chance to appreciate my new flat.  I'm looking forward to getting into a routine again and getting used to things.  Have I mentioned that I'll finally have a sofa on Wednesday?!

6) and just as I finish all of the things that have made my life manic? I'll find something else to keep me busy and fill up the time I don't have!
I don't know what it is yet, but you can bet your bottom dollar that once I'm used to the new job, settled in the new flat and submitted the dissertation, I'll find something else to fill my time rather than letting me relax, spend time with people, get out with the camera or even play the sax like I keep saying I will!