Just going to squeeze this one in barring distractions! Why is it that despite all the preparation and planning that I do in the holidays, the first week at school is complete chaos? The last week has been manic. I know that I have also been training for the Oxfam Trailwalk so this weekend more than 7 hours were spent pounding the concrete, the gravel, the sand and the grass. But even so, I feel like I’m lurching from one thing to the next. I do have several metaphorical hats to wear at school which adds to the mix but this year I have escaped having a form class. Truth be told, I’m actually quite missing that contact with the students first thing in the morning but ssshh! I’m sure I’ll get used to the extra time it frees up!
One of my hats is a digital one; I am the “eMentor” for our staff and support them using tech in the classroom for teaching and learning. The beginning of term is always busy helping new staff get to grips with new systems and supporting others as they make the shift from beach brain to teacher brain and they grapple anew with all the techy challenges they were sure they had mastered last year!
I said in my last post that I needed to redress my work life balance. Strangely, I do have balance in my job. My next hat is that of Outdoor Education Coordinator. Three weeks of the year I get to leave technology and the four walls of my classroom behind and enjoy time with our students and staff on school camps. I really don’t think you can overestimate how much benefit kids get from learning outside the classroom when they are challenging themselves and putting themselves outside they comfort zones.
Finally, but actually most importantly is my sombrero; my last hat. I am a teacher first and foremost and I love teaching. I have had to reinvent myself as, sadly, the importance of learning languages is simply not recognised in New Zealand and learner numbers are falling rapidly across the country. My first second language is French but I now teach Spanish and am learning alongside my students. It has been a steep learning curve but a welcome challenge and I am enjoying how it has made me think about my teaching methodology. I can’t be lazy any more, I don’t have the language at my finger tips like French and I don’t have a store of lessons in my head for the days when I really need to “wing it”! Fortunately, I have a dear colleague in a nearby school who has helped me immensely. It has made me reflect that we cannot be islands. We have to build bridges and causeways to connect with others and share good practice.
Oh, my 28 minutes are up! Time to stop. Feels odd.