Well, we’re in the second full week of term, but it feels like we’ve been back forever. Normal sorts of things for the start of term – number crunching on results figures, looking over UCAS personal statements, discussing the possibility of re-marks (I’m always amazed how readily kids convince themselves that their low marks in all their papers must be due to errors… you could understand if it was just one, but a string of disappointing results are unlikely all to be down to careless or incompetent examiners). Oh, and teaching as well, of course. This year I’ve acquired a new Year 7 to go with my Year 10 in lower school, and some lower sixth chemistry to go with my assorted sixth form maths classes and bits of psychology (research methods). There’s also the before school extension sessions I’m involved in for both physics and chemistry. Today we’ve had the Maths Fun Morning for Year 7 (well, of course maths is always fun, but this is what you might call concentrated fun…. codes, mathematical magic, maths relay race, origami…
What’s worrying is all the things I haven’t done yet. I still don’t know all the names of my new classes. I still don’t remember which rooms I teach them all in either (though at least I know when the lessons are) – we have fewer rooms than members of staff, and as a timetabler, I end up with the short straw and tend to wander randomly from place to place. I haven’t transferred all the textbook numbers onto something more permanent than a scrappy bit of paper either. And whilst I have successfully signed up for our three mandatory internally-delivered INSET sessions, I haven’t noted down when they are, or indeed when the five I’m delivering are!
I guess I have some excuse (well, that’s what I tell myself!). The first week was particularly hectic because my strange tendency to always say “yes” when someone asks if I’d like to get involved in something came to the fore…. on the Thursday evening I was down at the Apple Store in Covent Garden as part of an OU presentation on using an iPad for study, and over the first weekend, I was delivering nine 90 minute sessions to OU students revising for a chemistry exam! Then in the second week there were lots of fun things to go to in the British Science Festival, which is being held at Birmingham this year – how could I resist an evening with Festival of the Spoken Nerd, for a start?
So – aim for the next week is to get caught up and feel vaguely on top of things. Should be achievable… I hope!