So I am at the end of my first week of half term 4 (unless many other teachers, who had half term a week before my school). And actually, I’m feeling pretty positive. Of course, this is unlikely to last too long, but there are grounds for optimism based on my week. So here is a reasonably brief review of how things have gone, and what I intend to do to make next week (and weeks thereafter) even better:
- RAG123 I am sure I have mentioned this in every blog thus far, but once again I make no apologies for extolling its virtues. It’s a really powerful tool! I wrote last week about my intention to roll this out with my year 7 class in addition to my year 9s. This I have done, and it is proving really useful. My year 7 class is one with which I have struggled, in part due to the scheme of work prescribed for them. Having freed myself from the rigid shackles of that, however, marking their books after each lesson has quickly identified some students I need to focus on, as well as, most importantly, providing me with feedback on what they know, and where to go next with them. Some of them do not, I suspect, appreciate the greater scrutiny (as it removes a hiding place for them), and I welcome this. In the end, it will only be to their benefit. My other RAG123 group, my year 9s who I see every day, have moved through Pythagoras work at a faster than anticipated pace due to RAG123, and here I have picked up those students who have needed a little more help, as well as seeing the excellent work of some of my quieter students on a day-to-day basis. One asked me on Wednesday “Sir, don’t you get bored marking our books every day?” The truth is no, for it allows me to see really closely and really quickly how well students are making progress. And for a class I see every day, it’s vital to me that I see how the situation changes on a day-to-day basis.
- Work-life balance Ah, the perpetual struggle of the teacher. I spoke in my last post about the improvements I had had last half term, and yet even in the first week of this one, I believe further progress has been made. I have resolved to adopt working hours of 7.30-5, other commitments permitting, and this has served me well so far. Despite a parents’ evening and a traffic jam delaying my commute this week, I have had 2 work free nights at home, and managed a run last night. I feel relaxed and prepared, thanks in no small part to the medium term planning I had completed over half term. So positives here, with room for even more.
- BfL/behaviour management This week has seen the implementation of our new school BfL system. I have to say I have found this to work really well. The new system is working really well for me so far, providing a clear structure for staff to follow and ensuring that I deal with issues myself. It is time consuming (most days this week I have spent around an hour dealing with behaviour issues) but I anticipate this to reduce as we move through the rest of the year. Indeed, with RAG123, and clear expectations set out to students, I can see everything coming together nicely.
- More of a carrot teacher It might sound as though I am still focused on the stick, yet this week I have handed out more rewards than for a long time. I also tried ringing a number of year 9 students this evening in praise of their great work this week – although it was sad that I failed to get hold of so many for one reason or another!
So week 1 done. Lots of positives and room for encouragement for the rest of the year. I’m getting there….slowly!