Nurture 14/15

After yesterday’s mammoth review of what I wrote last year, this is my actual contribution to Nurture 14/15. I’m glad that the rules or guidelines have changed; finding 5 things should be a lot easier than 15!

5 highlights of 2014

1. My family which is a constant source of happiness. I did manage to see a bit more of both my children last year and it is great to see how they are progressing in their careers. Then there is my husband who has been there for me always. He’s the one who picks me up when I feel that everything is just getting too much and copes with me when I am grumpy. Some of my favourite highlights of the year have been evenings out when we just take time to go out and have dinner and chill out together.

2. Leading Year 6
Last year we were less than half way through our first year 6, now we are in our second year. I think that I can justifiably feel proud that I led the year and implemented a lot of the plans. Having the freedom to create a new scheme of work was exciting as well as nerve wracking. However, now we are teaching things for the second time, we aren’t changing very much as mostly it worked which is a good feeling. I know that the Sats results weren’t what we hoped for but in all other respects, I think that we had a really good year.

3. London
Taking year 6 to London was fantastic. The weather was amazing and it was so lovely to see the children’s reaction to all of the famous landmarks. Some of my favourite bits were the low key bits such as having a picnic lunch outside the National Gallery on Trafalgar Square and watching the street entertainers. Taking them to see Matilda was a great experience too.

4. Holidays
Love taking time to go away with my husband. We have had some lovely times away this year. La Rochelle was probably the best as the weather was absolutely perfect and we had an amazing week.

5. Singing
We did Kiss Me Kate in the Spring which was good and then I did Aspects of Love which I really enjoyed at the end of the Summer holiday. It was completely different to any show that I had been in before but the cast and the production were great. I’m looking forward to repeating it at the end of January in Derby. Also watched my daughter and my husband perform in Fiddler on the roof although they were in different productions which meant that I saw the show twice in 8 days!

Hopes for 2015

2014 hasn’t been a great year for me at school. Our Sats results were not as good as we had hoped and there are other changes happening at school too. So here are my hopes for the new year which I hope will be better.

1. Feeling Positive
This was my resolution for last year which fizzled out around May and had disappeared completely by the Summer holiday. I need to try and not dwell on things so much. I let things get to me and they go round and round in my head which helps nobody. I need to sort things out into the things that I can deal with and do something about them and try not to worry about the things that I can’t do anything about.

2. Sats
After the disappointment of last year, lots of different things have been put into place and hopefully we will see positive results in July. The thing that is hard is getting the balance between getting the children to work as hard as they can and not stressing them out.

3. Holidays
We  are already counting down the weeks until we go to Sicily in May. I am really looking forward to just sitting and watching the sea as well as exploring more of the island. Then we are driving to Brittany in the Summer so hoping to bring  back lots of wine and Breton cider. No plans for October yet so that will involve evenings trawling the  internet as we decide where to go which is half the fun!

4 Hobbies
Singing and teaching really don’t mix and classroom management has a negative effect on my voice. Also, after 40 years, it might be time to work on something new. I want to learn to speak Italian I bought a book/CD in October which is still in its wrapper. By the time we go to Sicily I want to be able to be able to have a basic conversation at least

5. Reaching Out
I  will hopefully continue to develop my Twitter network. It is a constant source of ideas and inspiration. Not only that but I love the random conversations that you can become involved in. I can be feeling totally fed up but something on my twitterfeed will make me smile or even laugh out loud. Thank you to everyone who has shared their ideas and parts of their lives with me and I hope that you will all continue to be there in 2015.

I don’t know if anyone will read this but Happy New Year to you all.


Nurture 13/14 review

This one is really just for me as I review the things that I hoped to achieve this year.

1. Work/life Balance
This was a major fail. I thought that getting through the first year would be the difficult bit. However things have not got any easier or less time consuming. There seem to be more and more demands on my time from school with the result that I feel permanently exhausted. This state cannot go on indefinitely. I love teaching my class but hate the way that the job is never ending.

I did manage to see a bit more of both of my fantastic children. Had two lovely weekends with my son in Manchester and also spent time down south with my daughter.

3. Go Places
Ticked that box as well. Apart from Manchester, we also had a great weekend in Bath earlier in the year. There were also holidays to Barcelona, La Rochelle and Porto which is somewhere that we will definitely revisit.

4. Read
I have read 200 books this year and managed a couple of more serious ones among that number. My best educational read was David Didau’s Secret Literacy. I also really enjoyed Alex’s adventures in Numberland.

5. Classblog
This was another major fail. I didn’t use it at all in the first part of the year and although I have posted some things recently, it hasn’t taken off with my pupils.

This is still a work in progress. I have moved beyond ComicLife but am sure that there is loads more that I can do with them. I really feel that using technology as part of teaching and learning is important as it has such huge motivational impact especially for the less high achieving pupils.

7. Get Through Sats
Well, we got through them although the results were not as good as we had hoped. This has had a huge knock on effect for this year’s teaching as we now become yet another test factory. I will continue to deliver the best teaching that I can but hate the way that results drive everything. Am dreading the raised expectations of the 2016 tests already

Our year 6 residential was fantastic. The weather was gorgeous and the children enjoyed every minute of their 4 days. Didn’t enjoy the youth hostel sleeping arrangements quite as much. After having a single room in a hotel for years in Llandudno, sharing with 5 other people was a shock to the system.

9.Social Networking
Twitter continues to be a huge source of help and inspiration. I love it and can’t imagine school  life without using it. The slight disappointment is that the PTRC forum seems to be fading away. I have met so many lovely people through that and I feel sad that it isn’t really being used any more.

10. Teachmeets
I managed to attend one earlier in the year. Sadly on the same day that the lovely Bev Evans passed away. Also attended the launch of the CAS computing hub so managing to develop my IT teaching skills a bit more.

11. Lots of lovely theatre including a visit to Stratford. I had forgotten how much I love the RSC and will make sure that  we go back soon.

12. Singing
Aspects of Love at Buxton Opera House was great and is being repeated in Derby in January. Currently rehearsing The Hired Man which I am still unsure about.

13. Eat Better
Another fail. I cut down on sugar for about  a month and then slipped back into old habits.

14. Switch Off
Another massive fail. School seems to fill every waking moment and stops me sleeping. Need to do some  serious work on this area.

So that’s my review of last year’s post. It hasn’t been a good year in many ways professionally and for the first time ever, I seriously considered leaving teaching. I don’t want to give up my job as I love so much about it and I believe that I do it well but I am not optimistic for the future of primary education.

Tomorrow I will think about this year’s challenge for nurture 14/15. 5 positives sounds  a lot more achievable.