half term: done!

I’m utterly grateful that I get two weeks off for this half term. It’s the first time we’ve had this holiday pattern and this week has been glorious. Son still at school, daughter at nursery. A week to myself. Crazy, unimaginable stretches of time to do with whatever I want. I feel refreshed, rested and relaxed.  I’m not claiming I’ve done anything useful, but I have finished an entire box set and that is an achievement of sorts 🙂

Last half term has been the familiar ups and downs of the usual term time teacher roller coaster. With  extra high peaks and extra low troughs. I think I’ll review the half term with bullet points, with a vague chronological order:

  • Full time: for the first time in 5 years I’m teaching full time. I’ve been 0.6 since my son was born. I feel completely ready for this increase in hours. I’ve appreciated the part time work. My son has just started year 1. He was barely ready for reception last year and I don’t think he would have benefited from full time nursery before that. My daughter is a different matter. She loves being at nursery and has barely noticed the difference going from 3 to 5 days. She regularly asks to go at weekends. I’m trying not to fall into the trap of attempting to justify my decision. Suffice it to say it’s what I want to do and I’m very happy with this decision.
  •  Oh my god… the workload. Things feel pressured at work at the moment. I thought it was just the change from part to full time for me, but it’s more than that. We are expecting OFSTED. I’m not going to dwell on this, but to leave it out would be to give a very false picture of this first half term. I see all the things being asked of us are important and aimed at helping our students. It’s just with teaching more hours than ever, more marking, more of everything. There’s no time for life. Hopefully the coming terms will allow more balance.
  • No blogging. It’s had to take a back seat. But I’m back and will hopefully post a bit more. I’ve missed writing out my thoughts!
  • Promotion. A few weeks into the term there were internal interviews to sort out 4 TLRs in my department. People have been in temporary posts for a few years and it was time to do some permanent appointments. I can happily report I now hold a little TLR. I am Pupil Premium Intervention Coordinator for Science. More on that in a separate post. But if anyone has any great blogs or info or advice I welcome it.
  • Going on a course. I’m currently in the middle of a course on leading science cpd with a view to running some physics cpd courses. I love it! Having a day out is exciting. Being a student is brilliant. I haven’t been on a course since an NQT day many years ago. I stopped waiting to be asked and organised it myself. 🙂
  • Being filmed. I let cameras into my lab for a day.  All to try and help non specialists with teaching physics. As a definite introvert you might call this a personal growth challenge 😀 It was a lot of fun and I’m glad I took part. Though in the week leading up to it, I know why I was asked, and agreed to do it, in the summer holidays before the term time craziness started! I would strongly urge anyone to say yes to opportunities like this.
  • Routines. I’m working on my classroom routines at the moment. Focussing for now on the starts of lessons. All my classes start with revision questions. Three of them. One on last lessons work, one from the last few weeks and one from months back. I play some music as they arrive (themed to the lesson, of course), they settle down and answer the questions in the back of their books. It’s my attempt to build revision into every lesson to prepare them for all the assessment at the end of the course and to hopefully keep reminding them of key information so intensive revision will be less of a shock. I remain hopeful!
  • My students. One other fantastic advantage of being full time again is getting to teach more students. As one of only 2 physics specialists in my department, my timetable has been heavily weighted with sixth form and GCSE physics classes with a bit of KS3. Now I’m getting a much broader set of classes. More challenges, more fun? The interactions with students are the really great thing about every crazy day at school.

Thanks for reading. 🙂

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