As ever, as soon as we get back, it feels like we’ve never been away! (note to non-teachers – I am NOT trying to say our holiday is too short, so don’t shoot me!)
First two days were teacher days. Monday started with a staff meeting, covering a whole range of stuff (arrangements for the new year, the new catering system, news about kids, decisions on prize winners, INSET courses available…). Those of us delivering some of the INSETs were pleased to be thanked for volunteering to do it, but didn’t quite remember the process as exactly “volunteering”… Embarrassingly, I wasn’t totally sure which I’d volunteered to deliver, and had to check to avoid signing up to attend my own course! After that we had a talk from someone who works for OFQUAL (who I suspect went away cursing me as I kept pushing the issue of A-level science practical assessments, cheating and grade boundaries (discussed at length in this post )). But fair play to him for being prepared to talk to us. We also had a talk on the new Teaching Standards, and then in the afternoon, departments met up.
Tuesday we had our annual Epipen and asthma training – boring but necessary. My timetabling colleague and I also had time set side to see people changing their options (it’s amazing how much of that there is – eg from maths, chemistry, biology, history to maths, economics, French, RS). We do our best to accommodate them, but sometimes it isn’t possible – groups are full, or scheduled against each other.
Then Wednesday the kids were back! A lot of admin stuff in tutor groups, several of us talking to the upper sixth form about various arrangements, re-marks, resits, UCAS… Wasn’t until the afternoon I actually did any proper teaching.
My new sixth form classes always seem odd at first, because they’re so silent! It’s probably because I’ve never taught any of them (my only contact with that year group has been in extracurricular activities) so they aren’t too sure at first. Hopefully our making a cake rota will break the ice. (ah, the sacrifices I make for education – inflating my waistline further in the cause of promoting a good class spirit!)