School – or travel agent?

So what’s been going on at school this week?  Well, precious little normal teaching, that’s for sure.

Year 7 had a talk from a visiting author on Monday, and were out in the Malverns for geography on Friday.

Year 8 went off to St Albans for a Classics trip on Wednesday, and were scheduled to go to a chemistry lecture (aka bangs, explosions, smells etc) on Thursday (unfortunately cancelled due to weather).

Some of Year 9 have been in Montpelier practising their French, and the remaining ones had an “Enrichment day” on Monday, where they got to try a range of different activities.

Year 10 have had a Geography field trip, a Latin module and an RS day visit.

Year 11 – back after their GCSEs – have had a day’s “Film School” along with sixth-form induction lessons. Some of them have been over at Birmingham Uni in the Physics department playing with various expensive bits of kit.

Year 12 have been gallivanting off all over the place – some in Lyon for a French trip, others off on “Headstart” science courses, and many attending university open days. They’ve also been subjected to me talking to them about university choices, personal statements etc.

And it isn’t just this week – there’ve also been a Year 8 Snowdonia activity trip, a Year 7 trip to Chepstow castle – and next week promises more activities again.

Like a number of my colleagues, I occasionally get a bit fed up with losing my classes. Sometimes the annoyance is due to my own daftness – for example, I hadn’t read the notice that told me I wouldn’t be having my Year 7s on Monday, so spent a while waiting getting increasingly irritated before it dawned on me that they weren’t just abnormally late for a lesson!   Having classes with a number of kids missing is more difficult – there’s a limit to how much you want to push ahead in those circumstances, but if I waited for all my Year 12 to be in a class before introducing new material this half term, I’d never get anything done (though that would please some of them – one of them looked totally amazed when she came back after half term that I was actually expecting them to start their A2 work!).  And of course, on top of the missing students, there’s the fun of covering your absent colleagues’ classes while finishing off reports/timetable/exam admin etc.

No, I’m not anti trips and activities  – I’m just having a moan. Kids gain an awful lot from all these visits – they often come back bubbling over with enthusiasm, eager to tell you about what they’ve seen and done.  The residential trips encourage them to become a bit more self-reliant and confident, and can really cement friendships. They wouldn’t get anything like as much from just being in school the whole time, so it’s worth the inconvenience. Just don’t say that to me next time I’m trying to find something constructive to do with half a class!

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