I have been reflecting over the past fortnight, following my summer hiatus, on where I should focus my attentions over the coming weeks and months. Like many teachers I am spread thinly, with many areas needing my attention.
For the first time this year I am a Year 11 tutor; already this has led to a great deal of contacting home and ensuring all tutees are focusing in the right places. I have decided that being a Year 11 tutor could be a full time job in itself, checking in on students in various lessons and making sure they are lining up their ducks ready for post-16. As it stands however, I have even less free time than last year so I will have to make do and manage. Not a gripe – merely an acknowledgement that it’s simply too important to put at the bottom of my to-do list.
Equally, I am still aiming to improve literacy across the school and I am hoping to fight this battle on the display front for the first part of the year, using the success of last year’s CPD as the impetus to keep momentum going.
Literacy, of course, is something that despite being vitally important, is also very difficult to monitor regularly. If literacy is improving, GCSE results and the quality of written work should also improve; but how can we separate the impact of developing literacy with the impact of improved teaching and learning? In fact, do we need to?
Following some challenging GCSE results in the summer as a result of some questionable decisions by the exam board, another focus has to of course be the way we teach Year 11 and how we can ensure we do not repeat those mistakes next year. Easier said than done, especially when Year 10 are doing 9 – 1. (Next blog post will be about that…)
In short, I am not sure where my focus lies for the time being. Perhaps that is the teacher’s lot? We will never be able to sacrifice one aspect of education to specialise in another, not should we try to. All we can do is make sure that we’re doing right by the people who rely on us.
So, will it be a happy new year?
It will be if you make it one…