I’m so sorry I’ve not been around. I’ve been exam marking (more on this later) and desperately hanging onto the thought that it’s summer soon and I can finally stop and recover. It’s been a really hard year at school so I’m absolutely exhausted, like every teacher! (Fairly accurate visual representation below!)
I was having a conversation with someone at school and I said “This year has been horrible.” Which I realise now, sounds rather flippant. It’s been difficult: workload, new GCSE, unknown grading, bright boys not wanting to work, difficult decisions that effect morale, staff leaving, new changes etc. He asked me if there’s been any good. I immediately replied with “No!”
Now, in hindsight, that is absolutely ridiculous and I’ll freely admit I’ve been a fool here. So, I made a list of all the positives that’s happened this year. I want to share them with you all because when things are difficult, we tend to miss the good bits. If any teachers out there are feeling like myself, like they could sleep for a thousand years and that still wouldn’t be enough to feel human again, focus on what has made you happiest this year. I did and my perspective has changed. The hard work was absolutely worth it.
Successes of 2016-2017
- Year 11. Now I always have a love/hate relationship with Year 11. This year I’ve felt even stronger because I could physically see very bright boys struggle with the new, harder GCSEs. This meant that every success we had along the way meant even more. We were a team; they’d know I’d do anything and everything to help and support them. In return they gave me excellent lessons, where despite adversity, we still laughed and learnt ways to approach the new system. We learnt it together.
- Prom. I always go to Prom because it is really lovely for staff and students to have a nice meal, take millions of selfies and celebrate the fact the year is over, whilst anticipating what is to come: college and results. This year was no different. I spent most of my time with my students and close colleagues. It was a really privilege to win an award from the boys: most helpful teacher. It was a night I won’t ever forget because of the people.
- Linked to the prom is the prom video. I work with some amazing people who make a video for the students every year. It’s the highlight at the prom as the kids see us in a different light. This means we usually dress up which is lots of fun. This year my floor dressed in the school uniform! The least said, the better.
- At my school we have a prize giving day where students receive awards for academic excellence and to reward those who have been a credit to our school. This year, for the first time in the school’s history (apparently) I got a personal mention. I swear my heart stopped for a second. The pride I feel every time I see prizes and celebrations is immeasurable. So, to have my own mention was such a surprise on a really important day in the school’s history. It was just a reminder that all the sleepless nights, the worry about the happiness and progress of my students was worth it.
- Linked to the above: “Thank you.” I’ve heard these words a bit recently and you should never underestimate how much they mean to you. The words I’ve received will stay with me for the rest of my life. I always keep cards anyway. But the ones that have hit me the most are: “I don’t think I could’ve made it if it wasn’t for you.” “You’re obviously a part of our family now.” “You’ve been an amazing teacher to me, the best I’ll ever have.” I obviously cried my eyes out when I read these messages.
- Strengthening relationships. I’ve only been in my current school two years now but this year I’ve really strengthened my relationships. I’m so pleased I’ve got such a good network around me. It only takes one person to change your life; I’ve managed to find a few. You may have remembered my post from my weekend away in Belgium. That really was an amazing trip with some fabulous people.
- Finally, I learnt a lot about myself. I’ve learnt that I will sacrifice my own happiness and time to get whatever needs to be done for my department and students. I’ve learnt that despite there being difficult times, I’ve become more resilient and I won’t let anything beat me. There have been times where I’ve just wanted to give up altogether but I didn’t. I’ve been exam marking which was particularly horrendous; the hours were relentless. Despite finishing my quota there’s still thousands of questions left to mark so I’m fairly sure I’ll mark more because that’s a child’s hopes, dreams and ambitions on that page. I don’t think I can ignore it.
I’m sure there’s more but it’s taken me three days to get this far! I’m tired and emotional and trying to recover. I’ve got big plans for this summer. I want to read and visit new places and spend time in my beloved Stratford upon Avon.
So, whenever you’re feeling sad or like the bad outweighs the good, spend a couple of days evaluating the full picture. There’s always good in there somewhere. We just need to keep hold of it. It’s probably one of my worst habits so I need to continue working on this really.
Big love all xx