Working on Holiday

2014-05-17 10.41.35Been sitting out in the shade since breakfast working on some ideas for my new venture and also on some notes and reading to help me be better in my job. I’ve had a heap of emails to answer and have finished all my new intake prep and feel more than ready to face the new term and all of the lovely new faces as well as the returning students from last year.

It seems like we get a huge long summer holiday when we are teachers but it’s not really the case. I’ve skimped on lots of boring updates of hours spent doing my prep for next year and the meetings I’ve attended and the phone calls and emails that have been fielded and dealt with and the times I’ve been into the office to do essential in between academic year stuff.

I wasn’t around for results day, I don’t teach GCSE’s personally but I have privately tutored some kids whose parents felt they needed a boost and I have also had some of my own students and even colleagues who have had to retake GCSE’s in English and Maths in order to progress to HE or into positions which require that basic minimum. So it was good to see how everyone had done and where there was no social media to help me find out I had to do some scouting. I’ve also had a few former students who are starting uni in September who have needed some last minute assurance and guidance with one or two things so they’ve contacted me for help there. 

A lot of work that teachers puts in goes unnoticed, the hours spent at home working are lost hours, nobody really counts them and teaching has got to be one of the few jobs in the world where you pinch things from home to take into work instead of the other way around.

I’ve ordered a whole new armoury of flip charts and markers, whiteboard markers, presentation clicker batteries, pens and 1280x1024_summer_ calendarpencils, post it notes and all manner of stationery which budgets do not cover and we often find we have to fund out of our own pockets and I’ve created, designed, constructed and printed off swathes of activity and task resources. It’s great to have the long summer break to catch up on all of this stuff and it’s great to be able to work when you feel like it but we do still work. i don’t think a teacher’s mind is ever quite fully off the job. The nature of the beast is that we are planning forward and reflecting back constantly and that doesn’t stop just because the calendar says it’s summer. I feel so much better organised this year, I really think this healthy approach has filtered through to everything I do and just made me function better as a person and hopefully it will make me even better at my job.

 

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10 thoughts on “Working on Holiday”

  1. Some of the most important people in my life were my teachers. Those who made learning interesting and enjoyable. I came to understand how undervalued they were. My late father taught engineering. He was constantly stressed out. When I went to live in Germany teachers had a very different profile and vocational training was valued. Good for you with all the extra you put in. Shame on the government.

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    1. Yes the German system is a good one it focuses on making sure everyone is equipped to do a job, less academics for academic’s sake. I don’t wonder that there is a lot of burn out in the profession but sometimes thing those who have burned out stick around and that’s no good for anyone. There is a lot of negativity in some teachers and that’s not going to inspire kids much. It shows if you are not interested in or excited by your own subject.

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    2. Me too. Second to my dad there were a few teachers who I really looked up to as role models, who I was in awe of and who shaped my life in one way or another. Germany does have a very different approach and they are also good at marrying academics with practical skills and not over focusing on one or the other where there is frankly more value to be had from an education that is useful to the economy and that will match people to jobs. I don’t think we get that right in the UK, there is too much education for education’s sake. So many kids go to university and sit a degree which has not practical transference into a particular job or profession, so many kids choose A levels poorly and at GCSE level there is little choice at all, too many compulsory subjects and no scope for individual talent or flair. It all adds together to create students who can read and write and do algebra but have no direction unless their parents have really pushed them down one or their talents are blatantly obvious. Many parents are ill equipped to choose careers for their kids especially in the lower rungs of society which sounds awfully stereotypical but it’s often true and the kids are not able to do so for themselves and so they end up in the army or as care workers (both admirable careers in themselves and much needed roles in society arguably but even so there were many more options open to them that they were unable to see).

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  2. Sounds so familiar. Things are very similar for teachers here in the U.S. I suppose you could run a classroom without spending your own money on the extras and the decorations, but it would make for a dismal environment for all the kids AND for the teacher. It would be interesting if all teachers would band together just for a bit and present their classrooms exactly as they would look if we didn’t add all those extra touches (that cost not only money but also tons of time and energy). I don’t think parents would like it very much. -Amy

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    1. That is such a good idea! We are tasked with a king learning engaging and there is a wealth of theory out there and examples of tactics and resources to use but mostly it’s the teacher who foots the bill for implementing it all.

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    2. That would be interesting to see how it worked out if we all stopped investing more of ourselves and of our money than is required. I don’t know a teacher who doesn’t do it, even the more jaded still go a few extra yards than is required, imagine how the targets would suffer if we stopped too. It makes me proud, in spite of the bashing the profession often gets, that we are mostly too devoted to our work to do that.

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  3. I have long admired teachers because of what they have to do just to work on a daily basis, the students whose parents blame the teacher for the student’s shortcomings or whatever issue, for the long, thankless hours that are put in just to ensure papers are graded, the grades entered, lesson plans prepared for the following day and everything I else I have overlooked or failed to mention.

    I have been truly Blessed to have so many wonderful teachers in my children’s lives while they were in school. If I ever received a call from the teacher, it was always me asking “What has he (or she) done now?!” It was never to blame the teacher.

    Teachers are our greatest asset and it is a travesty they are overworked, under paid and very much under appreciated.

    Thank you for being a teacher! 😀 xx

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    1. Awww how lovely! We tend to get the kids at 16 who have been let down by parents and schools and we’re supposed to right all of the wrongs in 2 years. It’s tough, but doable and ultimately rewarding. It can be a little bit challenging as they do not have to be in education by law so you have to make them want to be there and feel that they are getting what they want which is not easy for 25 in a group but I find treating them like adults, meeting them half way when it comes to some minor rule bending and instilling in them a desire to do something more with their lives works. I usually start a year with “There are two main paths you can take in life, one leads somewhere and one leads nowhere, if you want to go nowhere, that door over there is the way you need to be heading, if you are still sitting here in five minutes I’ll assume you have chosen to go somewhere and we’ll discuss all of the fab stuff you’re going to learn over the next two years”

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  4. My sister in law is an elementary school teacher. I was shocked to find out how much work she does ‘after work’. Yes, there are countless hours that aren’t accounted for that teachers put in. It’s an interesting perspective on your weight loss journey and how it applies to your professional life. I hadn’t thought of it that way, that taking personal accountability in health would have a systemic impact on all aspects of life. Well done!

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    1. I know right it’s really crazy how just taking a grip of things that matter runs into all aspects of our life. I’ve let go of the things I used to control which were not doing me any good and taking up the challenges that matter and I’m just really getting organised with life. I do find I have to plan a bit better now that I eat three times a day and so I can fit exercise in and I’m mindful of when I’m back at work and how hard that is going to be, so I’m kind of planning ahead and getting myself into a bit of routine already… you know like when you try to start waking the kids up early a couple of days before they go back from summer break?

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