General Extra Curricular

This is the Greatest Term!

This is the Greatest Term – do you believe that? It’s the final night before the term starts and I am feeling genuinely excited about the term ahead. I think that this is the Greatest Term!


The Half Term break has been fantastic for me, and a much needed rest from school life. But I always get quite reflective and start to look forward to doing a job that I genuinely love. It isn’t always a particularly easy job, but it is so rewarding! This term is always one that I look forward to, mainly because it is the build up to Christmas and I love all the events that are coming up. I have always loved this term because I think it marked a turning point for me many years ago.

Having taken over the music department at my school as an NQT I knew that I had to prove a lot in my first term. I remember the hours spent organising and preparing for the school musical and the various Christmas carol events. Those early days were tough, but I always had my sights set on what I wanted the department to be like. That is now ancient history in many ways, and here I am, 14 years later, about to embark on the same term. It hasn’t always been easy and I have had to keep going and keep working hard. I have had to stay in this job for a while to get to where I am now, and I have had to keep innovating and developing. I have had the battles, the hard times and the budget cuts. Some years have been harder than others and sometimes I have wanted to give up.

But I love my job and I am excited for the term ahead.

What’s your point Manwaring?

Whenever you write a blog you have to think about what the point is behind it. Why am I writing this? Who is going to care? Is anyone reading it? Who might I upset? Writing a blog is about sharing something with the world and just hoping that someone enjoys reading it. It is also a great way to get your thoughts out.

I guess this evening as I write this I am bursting with that feeling of excitement and I wanted to share that with anyone who finds that interesting. There are people out there that might not be that excited about going back to work – and I do get that. I already miss the beach and the time with family! Maybe it is really tough for you at the moment and you need some inspiration or support. I love my job, but it isn’t always easy. I am well aware that I am fortunate to have what I have, but I am also aware of the journey I have been on over the years.

My passion for my job is something that I love to share and I really believe that this term can really be a turning point for music in our schools. I share it not in a “look at me” way, because I feel the realities too. But I share it because I think that it is always good to read about positive stuff as well as the realities. And there are positives out there for all of us, and I am always grateful when I get to read what other people are thinking. I think this is the greatest term of the year mainly because of all the music making that goes on. The concerts and events showcase talent and I love working towards them. It is the greatest term for me because it ends with an amazing carol service that brings the whole school together.

Music Education at the centre

Music in schools is dying out at a fast and scary rate. Cuts are being made and there are countless stories of music being wiped off of the curriculum altogether. This is awful and harrowing and we need to do something about it. I don’t know all the answers but if there is one thing I do know – change starts with us. This term I believe that music teachers can have a real impact on their schools. I believe that music can be at the centre of school life and that the music teacher can drive that. Over the years in this term particularly, I have seen music take centre stage. There isn’t time now to do into a detailed analysis of why and how this happens. All I want to do is encourage you to hit the ground running this term. Believe that you can make a difference.

Be the difference

What I encourage you to do is look for ways of making music well and truly part of school life. Re-think the school carol service, get out into the community and make your rehearsals fun and worthwhile. Seeks ways of making lessons exciting and impactful and smile at as many colleagues as you can. Ignore the bad stuff and focus on the good. Strive to make music engaging and alive in your schools. It won’t be easy, and you will get tired. But the students will come with you and support you. They may even thank you for it. This can can be the place where change happens – and you can do it. Don’t do it alone and don’t forget that it will take passion. But music will move forward the term if you let it.

This is the Greatest Term

I will never forget my first term teaching as it changed my life. This term I intend to enjoy every minute of it. I intend to remember that it is all about the students and I want to do all I can to give them the best I can. Music education comes into its own at Christmas so just go for it.

I wish you all the very best for this term and hopefully this blog has helped give you a sense of purpose. This is the Greatest Term, I hope you get through it!

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