The run up to taking on a new role in a new school means that you wish that there were three of you. The first person to focus on continuing to develop good quality lessons. The second person to tie up all the loose ends before you leave. The third person to be the person who thinks ahead. Alas, there is but just one of me. Admittedly, it has been the good quality lessons that at times are having to give. What this means is that my students are being given slightly more freedom in the classroom and slightly longer to complete tasks. It does not mean my standards have slipped. But, sometimes you have to prioritise and ensuring my year 11s are neatly folded, packaged and dropped off (good use of vocab here, according to some) is the most important part of my work right now.
Telling my year 11 students that I was leaving was unbelievably hard. Harder than I first thought. I was forced into telling them when a member of staff let my departure slip to my tutor group. I sat on the desk and in my head rehearsed my approach. It didn’t quite work out that way. Instead, amongst some tears I told them that I was leaving, that they are, for the most part, on target and their knowledge of the exam will mean they will be fine without me. The girls cried. The boys weren’t sure what to do. And then teacher mode kicked in and back to work we went. I was expecting a grilling at parent’s evening but I did not get it. Instead one girl broke down, two parents told me their sons were deeply upset and one parent informed me I had been inspirational to her child. I couldn’t ask for a better send off.
And so as the pile of underachieving Controlled Assessment folders dwindle on my desk and I approach the final assessment period, my attention turns to my new school. Over the past two weeks I have been familiarising myself with a new exam board. One would expect exam boards to be fairly similar but this does not seem to be the case so instead I am faced with learning an enormous amount of content within a short period of time. I am fortunate that I am taking over from an incredibly organised HOF so have no need to worry when it comes to Controlled Assessment and instead can focus my time on the exam. I have been given the responsibility for planning revision lessons and so quite clearly, I need to know my stuff.
It is the first time I have planned my lessons using power point, and whilst the end results look engaging and visually appealing, they do take longer to produce. To begin with, I was struggling. I am so used to having my word script that I felt worried about what I would do in the classroom without my script to refer to. I could see my script edging in on the first couple of slides of my power point even though I knew the script would only overload the students but I could feel a real tension about letting go. This was only compounded when I happened to glance at a Power Point a new colleague had produced which was stunning. The pressure was on. The difficulty was maintaining a focus on the teaching and learning. What was it that I needed my students to do in order to meet their learning objective? And then I realised that my attitude towards Power Point was that I had, up until this point, felt that many Power Points I had seen were all style and no substance. Indeed it is easy to lose the focus of what you are planning if your thoughts are more about the presentation of your slide and making sure the colour scheme is appropriate. In the end, I had to go back to my ever faithful planning grid to ensure that teaching and learning was at the forefront of my lesson plan. Once I had the focused skeleton plan back, creating the Power Point became a much easier task and I have ended up with something I am quite pleased with. Interestingly, despite the fact that I shall be going in as HOF, sending my completed piece of work off to the current 2ic was a nerve-wracking process. Would it be good enough? What would he think of me as a teacher? I nervously await his response, hoping that it will be good enough to earn some immediate respect that I actually can pass off knowing a lot more about the syllabus than I actually do!
Now to crack on with lesson 2!