It’s that time of year again – back to school! I think teachers are very lucky, in many ways – today I’m specifically feeling lucky for the sense of ‘New Year’ that we get to have in the middle of an ‘Old Year’. There’ something about September, with a promise of a new timetable, new classes, new stationery, maybe even a new school… all these things are a new challenge. It gives us time to reflect on what we’ve done in the previous school year and how we’d like to make things better for ourselves and our students in the coming one.
- Don’t take work home.
- Continue my weekend pattern.
- Use my NQT time to observe excellent teachers.
- Gain confidence in teaching A Level.
- Look after myself.
- Keep blogging.
I’m proud of how much I stuck to these. I was RUBBISH at most of them during the first term – I lived and breathed being a teacher to an unhealthy degree and I was so tired by Christmas. I learned slowly that No. 1, 2 & 5 were more important for my wellbeing and I have come up with strategies to help me with that. I am still not perfect at the whole work-life balance thing, and as such these things will be ongoing in some way.
But after a year of teaching, some of these need to change. For example, No. 3 is no longer something I have specific timetabled hours for – my frees will be reducing from 5 hours to 3. I’d love to keep observing, and I’m sure I will but it will be in a much reduced capacity.
No. 4 also seems less relevant as a general sweeping statement – I’ve LOVED teaching Year 12 and I was much more comfortable with it than I thought I’d be. My biggest challenge this year will be teaching mechanics as a result of the new specifiction changes – I’ve spent some time over summer revising a little and I know I will also have to seek out some CPD before I start teaching those topics in December.
I’m also going to have a very significant new challenge this year – I will have my first ever Year 11 class. This is super scary but also a privilege. I have a lot to learn about exam classes and the exams in general to make a success of it this year. Alongside this I will also be yeaching Year 12 Core Maths, which sounds so different to anything else I’ve taught!
So that brings me on to this year’s resolutions:
- Continue to look after my wellbeing
This year I’d like to quickly find a routine to help me sort out my work-life balance. Over the summer I have been on lots of long walks with Milo & have started an exercise regieme with Davina as my PT. It’s not a lot but I feel 100000x better than I did during term time, as I did nothing last year. I want to keep this, and my healthier eating habits, up as we go into the new year.
I also want to sustain that pattern of working mostly in school, particularly marking, and just some planning at the weekend (I like planning, and this gives J some time to play GTA without me moaning, so we’re all winners here!). I’d also found one night a week to leave early – hopefully I’ll find that quicker this year!
- Help my Year 11s to achieve their best
I think this one speaks for itself. I’ll be teaching one of our top sets, which has a nice set of pressures due to target grades, but I adored teaching the top sets I had last year. I’m hoping I can count on them for some enthusiasm, and I’m looking forward to getting my teeth stuck into some of the harder topics and problem solving questions.
- Inspiring students who don’t love maths like I do
This one sounds a little weird, because it’s what we aim to do as teachers on a daily basis, but I couldn’t think of how else to phrase it. This is actually one of my official targets – last year I struggled with fostering a love of learning maths for my middle set Year 10 class. I am an unashamed maths geek and as a result my lessons with top sets allow me to unashamedly geek out with them and everyone gets something out of it. My Year 10 did not respond in the same way. I have some classes of similar ability this year and I need to find more ways to engage classes who see maths as a ‘thing they have to do’ and really have very little love for it. Any tips on this are much appreciated.
- Gain confidence with Mechanics
I chose not to continue working on mechanics when I began my degree, so it’s been a while since I actively worked on mechanics until this summer. I’m excited and terrified in equal measure but I also know that with the new A Level reforms, now is as good a time as any to get reacquainted. Seeking out any CPD I can on this!
- Give back
The past few years I have magpied so many ideas from Teacher Twitter and various teaching blogs. I literally cannot thank those of you who share your resources enough. It makes my life so much easier. But obviously, I have been creating some of my own resources throughout the past year or so… many of them are not of shareable standard looking back, but I’m planning on sharing anything I can in the interests of ‘giving back’. I’ve popped a few things onto TES in the past couple of days – you can find links on my Resources Page.
I also want to try blogging about my teaching specifically – if I think I do something particularly interesting I will be sure to post!
I’m also planning on coming to lots more MathsConfs and other CPD events after finally meeting some of the loveliest tweeters around over the summer.
I think this about sums it up for me this year. I am insanely excited to go back – I’ve missed the kids and the department, and some sense of structure in my life… I also have big plans for streamlining small things I struggled with last year like keeping track of equpiment detentions and homework deadlines etc. If any of them work I’ll be sure to share!
Remember: we have the best job in the world.