Survival of the Fittest

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind. I think I underestimated how much the first few weeks at a new school and going it alone would take it out of me! As well as the usual getting to know my new classes and colleagues, I’ve also been on residential with half of Year 9!

I thought now may be a good time to see how I’m doing with my resolutions. I already know I’ve not stuck to some of them as well as I’d like…

  1. Don’t take work home. 
    I have done this as much as I am physically able to during the week. The first couple of weeks I was particularly bad at sticking to this, but I had a million and one tiny tasks to do like class lists and seating plans… so I brought a little bit home. But I’m happy to say that aside from those jobs I’ve stuck to this one.
    It’s meant staying in work until about 6pm most nights, but this has been OK. I’d rather do that and know that when I get in we can cook some dinner and actually catch up on the days events, or watch some rubbish telly!
  2. Continue my weekend pattern.
    This hasn’t always been as successful, as I spend a lot of my weekends marking to be fair. Some weekends I do nothing but Sunday planning and others I am working Saturday and Sunday… I think this is just a case of getting into a good marking routine in the week and this will lessen?!
    However, Fridays have been for me, with a Betty’s fondant fancie and a takeaway with J. Without fail. And I have made sure to do something for me every weekend – either shopping in York, walking Milo or a night out with the girls to see Bridget Jones!
  3. Use my NQT time to observe excellent teachers.
    So far I’ve observed one teacher in my department every week, seeing some excellent use of AfL and differentiation in particular. I’m trying to use the ideas I’ve seen in my own lessons to make them better.
    I think I’d like to go to other departments to observe too, as I think its very easy to get lost in your own subject matter sometimes, rather than focusing on really good teaching and learning. I’m going to put this on my list after half term.
  4. Gain confidence in teaching A Level.
    My Year 12 lessons are fast becoming the highlight of my week. We had a rocky start with a mix up with timetables meaning we missed most of the first lesson, but I’m pleased with how the group are working for the most part. The group is 19 boys (I lost the one girl as she left to join the class with the only other girl in!) and that does present some challenges, but I have bonded with them well over a collective geekiness about maths and Marvel.
    I’m trying to use AfL strategies like in my other classes, and bring in the use of technology by using desmos/geogebra myself and with them – even just to show them how to check if their answer for the discriminant seems correct based on the curve. They are making strong links between all the polynomial and algebra topics already, and for themselves through investigations with the apps – so so far, so good!
  5. Look after myself.
    This hasn’t been the easiest one. Like I mentioned above, work seems to somehow seep into my weekends quite heavily and so seeing friends hasn’t been that easy. I am trying to make sure I do something good for myself when I can.
    I can tell you that I have not sorted out my eating. In school, I regularly skip lunch because of the millions of small tasks that accumulate on post its before the end of the day, and I need to stop that. We’ve also had a few weeks with lots going on, and no time to shop which has meant a lot of ready meals and rubbish evening meals. Then I’ve been poorly (probably as a result of this), and not felt hungry at all, and eaten very little of an evening. Or been starving and binged on Milky Bar buttons before cooking anything decent… I need to fix this, else I’ll be ill all year.
  6. Keep blogging. 
    This hasn’t been the easiest to keep up with as typing a huge blog when I get home or when I should be planning isn’t top of my To Do list. I’m not going to make any promises of a schedule but I am trying very hard to blog every couple of weeks, instead of once a month!

Overall I am doing OK. My mentor keeps reminding me that until Christmas, the NQT year is pretty much about survival… and I am managing that, with a bit extra some days.

I survived a residential with Year 9, which included jumping off a Jetty and gorge walking (which are 2 things I never thought I would have done!) and a 5 and a half hour coach trip to and from North Wales.

I have survived my first bout of sinusitis while at my new school (this is a regular thing, but this time it was quite high on the severity scale, even for me).

I survived missing #MathsConf8 because of this 😦

I have survived homework detentions with 18 students in them, and others arriving for help with other things.

I survived a lesson with Year 12 that I had only minimally planned for, as I expected they would have done more while I was on residential.

I have survived every single Tuesday so far, where I achieve nothing but teaching my 4 lessons and some training after school.

I have survived some awful phone calls home to parents.

And I survived my first observation – after which my mentor told me I was a natural teacher, and that the things I need to work on are only going to enhance that natural ability.

So here’s to surviving the next two weeks until half term, then until Christmas. And trying to make good on those resolutions at the same time!

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