If you are like me then you will love a New Term & Fresh Start. Whilst I love my summer holidays, I do always look forward to the year ahead. If you are not like me then you will find this very irritating. Why on earth would I look forward to September? What is good good about a New Term & Fresh Start. Hopefully in this blog I can tell you why and offer you some advice on how to get the most out of the year ahead.
What’s to Love about September?
I guess the main reason I love a New Term & Fresh Start is because it is a chance to try and get things right! Most years, in-fact every year, I make mistakes and want to start again. But a school year just keeps going and there are some things that you have to let go. September gives me a chance to refocus and look at how I can build the successes of last year and make some improvements. Of course for some this is not really their idea of fun. The thought of focussing on improvement can be negative and daunting. But for me it is something I look forward to.
I also love September because I quite like teaching. I would maybe go so far as to say that I love being a teacher and therefore September is great. Meeting new staff, students & colleagues. Teaching new lessons, favourite lessons and risky lessons. Starting musical ensembles again, preparing for concerts and starting to think about Christmas carol services! The first day of term is always such a great day. Everyone is kinda fresh & up for it, and on the whole the students are glad to be back and happy to crack on.
Enjoyment not Survival
I have blogged about this before, and I have read more this summer, on the topic of enjoying school life rather than aiming to survive. Teaching is tough at times, and it can really drain all the emotions. But it isn’t a war or a battle every day, and therefore it isn’t about survival. Yes I know that some days feel like a battle, but we have to look beyond this to the things we enjoy. At the start of the year I always have to be positive and remember why I love my job. It isn’t always fun and I know that there will be long meetings, difficult conversations and challenging students. But on the whole, when all is said and done, I really do enjoy my job.
Advice for the Year
I thought I would share some of the things I have been pondering this summer. I hope that they might help you as you head in to the new term
- When it comes to Work/Life balance this is something for me to find for myself. My balance is different to yours and most others. Finding the balance is about looking at my own life, not worrying about others or comparing myself to those on twitter. I want to also make sure I support others and mean it when I say “How are you”.
- I have a role within school and I want to do my best. There is little point worrying too much about what others are doing, I just need to play my part and support the school through my work.
- This year I want to find a rhythm to my week that means I can spend more time at home with family. I want that rhythm to be sustainable, helpful and healthy! For me, getting up early helps – but that is not for everyone! But my advice is, find a rhythm to life that will help you enjoy the day.
- Switching off is something I find hard to do. But I know more than ever that I need to switch off in the evenings. This is something I am working on and would love ideas and advice. But I am becoming more aware of when I allow work to consume my mind, and ultimately it isn’t helping anyone.
- There are so many books packed full of great research, ideas, strategies and approaches. I love reading about teaching, but I need to make sure I actually try out some of the things I read about. This year I am going to try out some new things and also aim to refine some of what I do already. I guess I am always wanting to get better as a teacher, and that starts in the classroom.
- Mistakes will come and that is fine. I can’t do it all, and I won’t get everything right. I need to keep perspective and not get carried away with ideas or innovations. There are only so many hours in the day and this year is still only as long as the last.
New Term & Fresh Start
Like it or not, September will start and the long summer will be over. Inset will kick off the year and your brain will be overloaded with information – which we tend to cram in to 5 hours. You will feel like you have too much to do and not know where to start. Worry might kick in – will I remember how to teach? Stress might bubble up inside you as you think about classes, schemes & meetings. You will have to ditch the flip-flops and wear smart clothes that might be too tight or hopefully too big! Mornings will no longer be enjoyed with a coffee and croissant as you consider whether or not it is a beach day.
But do you know what.
Students will arrive and ask you how the summer was, commenting on your excellent tan. Assembly will remind you of the wonderful community you work in, with great colleagues and staff. The first break time will come, where tea & coffee will taste better than ever. Students will laugh at your jokes and appreciate the effort you have put in. You will chat with staff about great holidays and share stories of your summer. Lessons will actually be quite enjoyable as all that planning and thought pays off. You will meet trainee teachers & NQTs who are excited about their new beginnings. New students will join the school keen & excited – with parents hot on their heels wanting the best. There will be the usual staff meeting moans and groans, but there is always something to make you smile.
We are all in this together and with every New Term comes a Fresh Start. Not everything is easy, but in amongst it all there is always something wonderful. All I hope is that you enjoy your first day and the year ahead. Don’t suffer in silence or battle to be something you are not. You will find the balance and you will ultimately do your best.
Have a great year everyone!