After a week of tests, and marking of said tests, walking out the school reception with a gym bag full of more marking, my first half term is over. It’s done.
Starting the holiday with a 3,000 word essay to write feels somewhat familiar though…
I don’t think it was until I stood in my very first lesson back in September that I realised just quite what was about to come in the term ahead. Dragging boxes of books and equipment to the ten or so classrooms I taught in, the start of most lessons were most often an exercise in fumbling. Lost pens and broken smartboards were common.
I’d spend hours making seating plans only to realise I’d completely got the room layout wrong. When the realisation came that my pupils weren’t putting up with my lack of organisation, behaviour hit the roof. I gave speeches about ‘respect’ and ‘fairness’ to try and win them round. Nobody listened.
I work in a large school, with students joining and leaving for all manner of reasons on a regular basis. I’ve had students turn up out of nowhere to join my class. I’ve had one student convince me to push back test dates, only for them to go on holiday the next lesson!
If there’s been one overarching theme for my first half term, it would be the unexpected, and how I’m not so great at expecting it. It’s impossible to keep track of every single variable.
The surprises aren’t always bad ones. One of my shyest students became one of the most eager when they suddenly understood finding a topic we’d spent four lessons staggering through.
My Year 10s usually prefer to work solidly through their Friday double lessons, instead of taking five minutes to have some cake in between each. “Cake Fridays” are definitely a highlight.
I’ve still got a long way to go. But I’m definitely feeling a part of my school; the support I’ve had has been amazing. It’s probably been the hardest eight weeks of my life, but it’s definitely been rewarding. The school holidays definitely make up for it too!