There have been many deeply moving blogs recently that show how difficult conditions are in some schools, the dark side if you will, Nearly two and a half years ago I worked in one of those schools. RI. Mocksteds. Book scrutinies. Learning walks. Full page lesson plans kept in a folder for every single lesson taught, monitored frequently. A ‘leadership’ style that consisted of telling those the next level down that RESULTS MUST IMPROVE! A behaviour policy that meant if you were going to get C’s you could steal another student’s phone, set fire to their bag and still be in lessons to make sure your grade counted on our stats. Experienced staff “moving on”. NQT’s being employed to replace them and moving on themselves, often out of teaching, within a few years. So many far worse individual stories that are not mine to tell. As I write this I can feel my anger rising that this is a familiar story to so many, that I barely have to fill in the details. Srsly, how is this the norm?!
But this isn’t about that. After 13 years there (No, I’m not a TOTAL idiot – it wasn’t always like that. When I started it was the warmest, most supportive, inspiring environment I could have had the privilege to be a part of), I left. For a 0.8 six month maternity cover, with no idea what I would do after.
This is about that, and the fact that 2 years later I’m still there, permanently, full time and at some point I think I might just possibly, maybe, have fallen back in love with this teaching malarkey ☺️
Maybe another time I’ll try harder to summarise what has made such a difference at my new place. It’s a culture built on so many small things that together form the ethos of the school. This is more about saying what past me would have liked to have read 3, 4, 5 years ago and about saying thankyou.
Thankyou to the Assistant Head that saw something in me at interview. Mostly just the fact I was there I guess, but, hey, I’ll take that. Thankyou to the HoD who just assumed I would stay when a permanent position came up. You probably have no idea how much of a vote of confidence that felt. Thankyou to my tutor group who have become (although of course I don’t have favourites) my favourites. Thankyou to my top set GCSE group and your constant (I mean, CONSTANT) questions, who have made me fall in love with my subject again. Thankyou to my.., um.., really, really NOT top set GCSE group who deserve better than to be struggling through the new GCSE and who have made me fall in love with teaching again. Thankyou to the department for making me start to believe that it might be OK to need help sometimes. Thankyou to my colleagues, who have become friends, for seeing a me that I’m not sure I recognise, but would quite like to be.