One thing that surprised me about the response to my reading article in the TES was the response from a number of librarians. Many librarians got in touch with me to say thank you for acknowledging them. I was surprised by this. Librarians are at the heart of what we do and it got me thinking….and then I wrote this…
As I walk through the doors at just after 7.30 am with my colleague Kaz, we are greeted by Julie who is there every single morning, bright and breezy getting the breakfast options ready for our pupils. Every now and then I tuck into one of the breakfasts myself but today I have decided to be good. Kaz and I go our separate ways as she heads to the KS3 office and me, to my classroom. I walk up the steps using them as a barometer to distinguish how tired I am that morning. Often I pop into my Deputy Head’s office, Michael Goves, for a morning chat and catch up. We are both incredibly passionate about education and like to ensure our edu reading is up-to-date so we can talk for hours about the craft of teaching and learning in his office. I will eventually leave him to go into my classroom and set up for the day, hollering a hello to any of team English who have appeared: Sophie, Freya, Ria, Marija, Steve, Elizabeth – one by one the lights to our rooms turn on, our computers whirr up and the day begins to kick into action. On the way to our staffroom, I will bump into Carol Moorhouse, our librarian. I desperately need to meet with her to catch up on our AR strategy for next year and say, half-emptily, that we must catch up, knowing full well my diary is rammed. However, we will meet because we need to get our AR strategy right and I know she is really keen to do so. Before I get to the staffroom I will pop in to see Paul and Matthew. Paul is our hero – head of reprographics he will endeavour to meet any of our crazy requests. Today I’ve made a mistake and need my knowledge organisers un-comb bound and then re-comb-bound. I offer to do this and we laugh at how stupid I am but I pop back that afternoon and he has nearly done them all. Matthew is our IT whizz, developing our website and newsletters and social media content. He tells me he will get the banners done that I’ve asked for and I tell him there is no rush, it’s for September after all. Once I’ve touched base with repro, I make my way to the staffroom, shouting a good morning to ICT – Simon’s smile always makes me smile harder. As I’m heading to the staffroom, I cross paths with my line manager, Daniel Rosen, who gives me a cheeky grin. We pass sarcastic comments to one another as we fill up our coffee cups and he tells me he will see me on duty in 5. I head down to reception and grab the gate key off Denise, who reminds me to return it straight afterwards. I am notorious for going home with the gate key and, quite rightly, she has now become fiercely protective of it. I stand on duty for 15 minutes before my colleagues, Richard and Rebecca come out to keep me company. We have our weekly catch-up and look forward to the holidays exchanging notes about where we are heading. As I head to my classroom to teach, I catch up with Kelly, our Progress Leader for year 10 and tell her the Knowledge Organisers are nearly ready. And then I teach. For two beautiful hours, alone in my room with the wonderful pupils that make up my classes. At break, I head down to the atrium to check my duty team are all on duty and ensure I get round to saying hello to everyone. First I speak to Julie who, sadly, is leaving this year after 17 years teaching. She is always on duty on time. Next I say good morning to Ed – a brilliant man, ex-army and so very well-respected by staff and pupils alike. I catch up with Lucy, our amazing Head of MFL and we have a giggle about life and work in general before break comes to an end and I am ringing the bell to signal to our pupils that it is time to return to the classroom and begin work again. After I have grabbed a coffee, I pop into HR and ask Kelly and Nicky if they have heard from someone we employed last week and then I make my way up to my classroom to catch up with Matt Baker, our brilliant Head of Geography and new Director of Assessment. We discuss knowledge, exams, assessment and end of term. I then pop over to see Nev and discuss the English timetable which isn’t as straightforward as I would like it to be but we’ve been in worse positions so I just shrug my shoulders and we have a giggle about it. I am hoping I will get it sorted today. There comes a point when it just needs to be done. At lunch I go to the canteen where I am served by Karen. I ask her, as I do every day at the moment, which meal contains the lowest calories and she laughs at me as she knows this is my feeble attempt at trying to diet. I sit with the other staff – Courtney, Lucy, Sarah, Tiggy and catch up over lunch about the day’s events before heading for a wander around the atrium. I talk to Tracy who is our achievement leader for year 7 and express concern about a pupil who I know I need to have a better handle on next year. As I am walking to the staffroom, I catch up with a new member of staff who introduces herself and informs me that she will be my new admin assistant. I’ve never had an admin assistant and as I am walking away, I think about what I might ask her to do and make a mental note to tell my other Subject Leaders about this. In the afternoon, I return to teaching and receive an email from Donna, who is in charge of The Bridge – our alternative education site. It reminds me I must catch up with them about curriculum planning for next year. It also reminds me that I must catch up with Carla, who runs our nurture groups about their curriculum for next year to ensure they cover less content but in more depth. After school, I head down to the detention room where I am on duty with Verity and Elisabeth. They kindly offer to do the detention so that I can be in the hall with staff as we focus on our planning for next year. I walk into the hall and am greeted by Rob, my new line manager and head over to where English are sitting. I’ve already put Kaz and Freya in charge of leading English so that I can wander round to my other subject leads: Gemma, Peter and Matt to see how they are getting on. Gemma has it all organised and Peter is keen to show me the new curriculum map for Ethics and Philosophy that we sat down and wrote. He thinks it is better than previous years and I am excited by his enthusiasm. Matt is working with Katy, our latest recruit. She was phenomenal at interview – one of the perks of my job and I am excited to listen to their discussion as they plan for September. I am lucky to have such excellent Subject Leads. Once I have spoken to everyone, I take a seat at a table and crack on. Our head, Abrilli, comes over to see how I am getting on and when I’ve finished I head back up to my room. Our cleaners are busy hoovering and wiping the desks so I stop and have a chat with them and offer to sponsor Ann whose son is doing a run for a local hospital. As I leave my classroom for the night, I thank them and head downstairs to meet Kaz. We leave with Sophie, another Achievement Leader who is always one of the last to leave and one of the hardest working people I know. Another day is done.
Our academy is the sum of its total parts: teachers, senior leaders, librarians, ICT technicians, receptionists, hr departments, canteen staff and cleaners. We are all pieces of the jigsaw working together to try and improve the lives of our young people. We are all as equally valid and as important as the next and I am privileged to work with as many special and talented people as I do. I would hope that no-one in our academy ever feels like they are not listened to or respected and that we continue to make time in our day for all, regardless of their position.
To the librarians, no school can have a successful reading strategy without you and the library being at the heart of it.