Friday, 27 December 2013

13 highlights of 2013 and 14 new resolutions

I have been putting off doing this as I felt that when I looked back at my resolutions from last year, it would make me feel a miserable failure. Actually, I'm pretty chuffed I've actually managed more than one of them! However, we will ignore the first 4/5 ;)

1. Lose the stone

It's Christmas!

2. Spend more time with family

Still a bad person.

3. Blog more

Rubbish! I have really neglected this, but maybe next year?

4. Work more with other teachers

Still need to work on this. I'm naturally an introvert, so it is hard to shake off the belief that I work far more efficiently by myself.

5. Survive GCSE fiasco

My classes did well. I am particularly proud of an SEN student who got his C on his third attempt in June after switching to iGCSE and doing coursework. School did not survive though...

6. Holidays

We had a glorious week in France with private pool. Not nearly as expensive as it sounds and with added bat aerial display every evening!

7. Stop imagining, start doing (and finishing)
See 8

8. Remodel my lounge
After 14 years of staring at artex on the chimney breasts and a hideous brick fireplace that extended the length of 2 rooms, I took a sledge hammer to it. Following further applications of drill, hammer, screwdriver, saw (and, yes, No More Nails), I now have a calm little retreat to come home to with a log burner. We have had a real fire every night since September!

9. Art projects

See 8. That kept me busy enough - my shelving unit is made from wine crates, I finally got my artwork up on the walls, and my boyfriend gave me a make your own muppet kit for Christmas!

10. Get on top of marking

Not sure this is possible, but I have approached marking very differently this year. Instead of taking it for an endless series of walks (to the car, from the car to the house, back to the car, to school, back to the car, back home, repeat) I now see it as fundamental to planning the next lesson, rather than a tiresome chore. It makes a difference. Also, I make sure that my classes spend at least a lesson responding to comments after each main assessment. If you doubt this approach, you clearly managed to miss Austin's Butterfly! Go watch it now!

I haven't yet managed to find a way to stop the cat chewing it though!

11. Avoid doing graded observations

Managed this so far... Clock is ticking though...

12. Do an MA

No longer see the point. It won't improve my teaching, probably the opposite as it will take up so much time.

13. Make more 'Feel good Friday' phone-calls

This is still on the list!

To make up the difference, other things I'm proud of from 2013:

Managing to get a (very) good when Ofsted came in to do a hatchet job on our school.
Apparently it isn't possible to get an outstanding judgment with Y13 when current progress at KS3 is inadequate. I also managed to achieve this whilst being interrogated about KS3 during the observed lesson!

Despite the enormous destructive power of Ofsted's visit, it has given me the opportunity to redesign the KS3 English curriculum. And where do you turn for inspiration? Twitter of course! Not only am I really enthusiastic about the new approach, but I have planned 60 lessons for 7, 8 and 9 in the last couple of weeks. I will blog about this soon, and thank people who currently don't know how inspirational they have been.

I have started working on a whole-school writing project too. More of this to come.

The final highlight of my year is yet again my boyfriend, who miraculously is still with me, despite me putting him through a truly vicious Ofsted and the fallout!

14 resolutions for 2014:

1. Help get school out of the crap.
2. Not to crumble under pressure of time and stick to what I know works.
3. Finish KS3 schemes and create an exciting and innovative curriculum that both students and staff enjoy.
4. Improve writing whole school.
5. Work with other teachers more effectively.
6. Keep healthy and sane (although both of those are debatable at the moment!)
7. Thank people I've never met who inspire me on Twitter (long overdue).
8. Blog more and share ideas.
9. Sort out the garden.
10. Sell all the jewellery I've made before it takes over the house!
11. Clear out the shed - does anyone know anything you can do with video tapes other than landfill?!
12. Do more exercise (shouldn't be hard, just have to do some exercise).
13. Cuddle the cats more.
14. Cuddle the BF more.