We are now into January and so I hope you have managed to read my last blog in this month-by-month series. February is almost here and for me this is the quietest month of the year in someways. As usual I want to share with you my thoughts on January.
February is a month when we can really think about us. We have a Half Term and also a calm before the coursework storm. It isn’t a month where i often have lots of events or big concerts, and so I can focus on me and my own Wellbeing. And lets face it, we spend January catching up on ourselves after the Christmas Season and so we do need to aim to calm things down as remove towards half term.
What do you have planned for Half Term though?
My fear is that you are thinking of Half Term as a chance to mark and catch up. You are already putting that time aside in your mind for work. And yet Half Term should be a break for you and you should be planning for that.
So what can you do now and in the month of February to ensure that you don’t have to work all half term?
Have you booked a holiday or some days out to ensure that you take a proper break?
February is a good month to really focus students on coursework – although January is also good for that. By focussing I mean, it is important to get our students to see that we are now very much on the road to exams. They need to be driven, committed and focused on what they are composing and performing. I like to ensure I provide extra sessions after school to support students. February is good for this as we often don’t have too many department or school events.
If there is one thing we need it is take-up at GCSE. February is likely to be the time that your school launches the Options process, I know it is for me. This is likely to be an evening where you get to sell your subject, followed by parents evenings. I think this is the most important thing this month and I make sure that I do my best to sell music.
In the lead up to the evening make sure your lessons are really on-point. Save something inspirational for Key Stage 3 so that they are feeling confident and positive about music. And on the evening itself, make sure that you inspire the students and the parents. Don’t worry too much about the nitty-gritty or anything fancy. speak from the heart and make sure you get some students along to help out. And for more advice on running an options evening please see my previous blog on the subject.
February might be the perfect time for you to catchup on some reading. I think reading is so good for us and I love to get stuck into a good book. I read lots of different types of books and try and keep my options open. Having a kindle means I can quickly switch between my latest reads without having to carry them all around with me.
It is difficult to recommend books as there are so many out there, but here are one or two you might like to read as music teachers:
The Rest is Noise – big book, but full of great stuff about 20th Century Music.
The Story of Music – great for a historical overview of music.
Black Box Thinking – this will get your mind buzzing!
The Greatest – we can learn a lot from Sport!
The Culture Code – ideas for creating a culture in our Music Department.
Just a few ideas, download the free sample on amazon and see what you think
February is hopefully a month we can all enjoy. We have Half Term to look forward to and hopefully a quieter schedule than December or the initial start to the year. Take time for you, remember you can’t do it all and keep your wellbeing in good check!
I hope you have a great month!
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