End of term reflection

It has been a while since I last posted a blog about school, so I thought now would be a good time.  Come Friday, I will have reached the end of my first term here at The Piggott School.  I realise now how spoilt I was to have a term contract at the end of the year at Waingels – not only did I find a great friend, but I also didn’t have much to do, as a lot of the groups went for study leave and then finished the year early.  This term has been very different.  I got thrown in at the deep end a bit, with slightly less than a full timetable, and a lot of work to do.  I had done some planning, but nothing prepared me for how busy I was going to be.  During the first few weeks I found myself getting very overwhelmed with planning, behaviour problems and the stress of a full time job.  Luckily, Lisa (my Head of Department) and the other Lisa (Head of Year 9) were there to keep me sane, and provide lots of support.  I started having weekly meetings with Business Lisa, to go through my lessons, strategies for improvement etc.  Looking back now, I have come a long way.

I enjoy working here, and I feel like I belong.  I’ve gotten to know most of my students quite well, I’m on top of things workwise, and I’ve got a nice group of friends/colleagues (we hang out in the staffroom at lunch, and have a good laugh, mainly causing havoc).  Last Thursday was the school Christmas social, and to be honest I wasn’t really looking forward to it.  I ended up changing tables so that I was with Toby, Karen, Rob and Melissa, and we had an absolute ball.  It was held at Casino Royal, a nice golf club near school, and we had a lovely sit down meal, disco and Karaoke.  Karen and I convinced each other to do karaoke, so we sang ‘Wishin and Hopin’ together, and then I did ‘Sway’ on my own later in the night.  I had such a fun time dancing and laughing, so much so that I didn’t leave until after 1am!!

We have been busy with the usual parent evenings, open evenings, options evenings, reports etc and this week is no exception.  Last night a group of us (both staff and students) met at the local train station to sing carols for an hour, raising money for charity.  We had a great time, and for the first time in my life I was singing carols about the winter weather whilst not being able to feel my fingers or nose.  Then tomorrow night is the actual carols concert at the local church and I am singing with the choir.  Then Friday is the last day of term.  We have all sorts of assemblies and things, then we have our staff lunch.  After that a group of us are going to the pub to have farewell drinks for the music teacher Jess, and then Adrian and I are going to Hilary and Andy’s for dinner.  Rather than doing our usual of trying a new pub each Friday with them, we decided it would be nice to have a meal at their place, so we can give them their Christmas present, and relax a bit more.

So overall this term has been extremely busy and very stressful at times, but I’ve made it to the end in one piece, and feel like I’ve achieved a lot.  I’m actually rather looking forward to what next term has in store, plus there’s the added bonus that at the end of next term I will be heading back to Brisbane for 2 weeks!  The kids take great joy in telling me I don’t sound like an Aussie anymore, so they are all on the countdown with me until I go back (they are interested to see what you all say about my supposed English accent I’ve acquired).  And for those who haven’t started counting yet (I’m not sure why you wouldn’t have) I leave in 15 weeks on Friday   On that note I think I’ll go to bed, and for all those Piggott teachers reading this blog, thanks for all your support.  Enjoy your well-earned break, and Merry Christmas to all xoxo

One Response to End of term reflection

  1. Paul says:

    Dearest Janet. What a wonderful blog entry. I am very proud of your ability to see yourself in your new job and reflect on how you can improve and how far you have come. Both are important.
    How to improve is part of being a learner. The best teachers are deep learners and reflectors of their own work and ways of doing things.

    Ordinary teachers are just that – teachers who are only occasional learners.

    Your reflections tell me you will not be an ordinary teacher. The path to great teaching is fraught with its ups and downs and it is the downs that come most readily to mind. They usually are big things that have big impacts. Behaviour management that goes pear shaped is the most common one but there are others. The up are usually many small things – the little break through with a challenging kid, a lesson that goes well, a good relationship with a class. These are not things that happen fast or have a big impact like the downs. Rather they are small cumulative things that lead to a breakthrough over time. It is easy not to notice all the little things that lead to that success.

    That is why your reflection about how far you have come is so very important. Without that sense of progress, the task can seem endless. In truth, for a good teacher, it is endless. But that is an opportunity, not a problem. There is always more to learn and new kids to understand. No two students or classes are ever the same. Your first year is the biggest challenge in dealing with this. With growing experience, you learn to learn faster, to pick the key signals that help you understand what is going on. You get to feel more in control – perhaps less out of control!!

    However, the deep lesson is that you influence others by understanding them and controlling yourself. You cannot control others directly – just yourself.

    Changing countries, schools and support people during your first year is doing it tough. I am very proud of what you have achieved. I deeply respect and appreciate those who have provided your support in your new land so far from home and its support. After 35 years teaching and 30 years of team leading experience, I can recognise and salute the fellow professionals who have worked with you. Congratulations to them and thank you.

    May all have a beautiful Christmas and a rewarding New Year as you continue your professional and personal journeys together.
    love Paul