Reflections Of Summer and The New Academic Year

Like most teachers I am aghast at how quickly the summer has passed. It seems like yesterday that I was sat in the end of year meeting, desperate for it to be over so I could start my break.

The summer hasn’t been a bad one – I’ve been to birthday parties, a wedding, visited London, been for meals, shopping, seen several films at the cinema, saw Mum, done lots of schoolwork, househunted, organised my current house a little more, blogged almost every day, I’ve done the usual holiday maintenance (doctors, dentists, hairdressers) and I’ve been able to get a clearer picture in my mind as to where I would like to be in a year’s time.

At this point in two days time I will be sat in the middle of a LONG data analysis presentation given by the Headteacher and SLT. While it may sound a little silly, I actually enjoy this part of the INSET days – it’s always a good opportunity to celebrate the achievements of our students. I know that the results have admirably improved this year so it will be a positive meeting to kick-start the new academic year. My timetable looks good, I’m going part-time so I won’t be working on Monday’s (and looking forward to the long weekends) and I have some lovely classes.

My favourite part of the first week back is always meeting the new Year 7’s (for those of you outside the UK, these are 11 year olds). I love the way that they arrive to their classes for the first time, wearing shiny new uniforms and carrying their brand new stationary and bags, fresh faced and wide-eyed and nervous from the sheer enormity of their new surroundings and the information they’ve been bombarded with. I like to start every new class, regardless of the year group, with the same format – I welcome them, I give them a short introduction to the course content for the year and then spend some time on what I refer to as ‘housekeeping.’ I make clear my expectations of them and what they can expect from me. These are my rules for behaviour in the classroom:

1. Respect is required at all times, both to myself, to each other and to your surroundings. Everyone has a right to feel safe and secure.

2. Listen to instructions, respond to requests first time and always conduct yourself in a calm manner.

3. Your behaviour has consequences in both positive and negative ways. Take responsibility for your own actions.

4. Be cooperative with each other. Regardless of personal feelings, the world requires you to be able to work effectively with other people.

5. Ask for help. If you do not understand something I will explain it in as many different ways as is necessary.

6. Do your best in everything. I cannot ask any more than that from you.

As a music teacher I always have lots of fun, but I’ve decided to approach this year in a slightly different way. As the self-proclaimed ‘Queen Of Procrastination’ I am going to attempt to set myself a small list of things every morning that needs completing by the end of the day, rather than constantly looking at the big picture and feeling very overwhelmed. My hope for the new academic year is fairly simple one:

Work hard and be satisfied that I have done my absolute best.

I hope all the teachers out there have a great start to the new term!

 

18 thoughts on “Reflections Of Summer and The New Academic Year

  1. May it be a wonderful year for you and the kiddies. Music is such a wonderful outlet for them, it leads them through their entire lives. I was an art teacher for decades but now have a brand new job as an instructional assistant (not for art) in a school I’ve never taught before. Butterflies in my stomach and much excitement for this opportunity. You have a great plan, and always remember: the drums beat louder than any kid can yell. (I’ve never tested that premise but it seems logical to me.)

  2. As I teach privately (one-to-one, at students’ houses) I always have a list of rules unique to each child. The most common though are ‘do not speak over me, however much you want to – wait your turn!’ and ‘do not play with objects on your desk, or I will confiscate/ destroy them’. I wonder if these are relevant in the classroom, or problems unique to private tuition! Jx

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