Back To School!

By Nina, our supply teacher from Norwich

How did that happen? 42 days have gone! The end of the summer holidays is upon us.

Gradually, the evenings have become shorter and the seasons are changing. You are shocked to realise for a moment you were pining for autumn with its falling leaves, cosy fires and hot drinks tucked up at home. Thoughts of enjoying Halloween, Guy Fawkes and Christmas with friends and family crosses your mind.

Perhaps the autumn term is alright after all?

Holidays have been good, pretty much, yet deep down we know that they can’t go on forever. In fact, perhaps there is just a little bit of us starts to wish an itch scratched. There’s a desire to be productive, contribute to something bigger than ourselves and we miss the whirlwind of the school social scene.

It is quite common (and very human) to have put off your preparations by as many days as you were going to spend in hours doing it. Google-ing the word ‘procrastination’ only adds to this delay. Just quite how the deputy gets her planning done in the first week of the holidays no one will ever know. It usually takes steely reserve, bank holiday rain or those recurring nightmares of walking into a classroom without preparation nor clothes, to get things rolling.

Some of the simplest tasks are the most satisfying as they address the most immediate back-to-school needs. Preparing the seating plans, groupings and timetables are printed with enthusiasm and of course look particularly efficient if they are on coloured paper and laminated. A quick check of your school email can get you up to date with everything, usually, unless the head has visited the cc’ing department over the break. There might also be some pleasure gained in streamlining some folders on the network so you will be able to find those Jam and Jerusalem resources in a flash.

Yet, when you get started you realise the paperwork it isn’t so bad and it doesn’t take as long as you remember, especially now your colleague finally found that supplementary DVD and you can use your professional judgement to cut and paste. One year of experience on, it is good to know that you won’t be repeating that game using custard and puppets to learn fractions although the activity using bed sheets to teach plate tectonics might work in the hall.

Some hours are happily spent surfing the web searching for interactive games and different resources that will light your pupils’ imaginations, and they absorb you. You recall the conversation you had with an artist earlier in your holiday and you email them an idea for a topic project. You purchase a fascinating tool that looks promising for tackling literacy misconceptions and you order a stack of tempting scratch and sniff stickers. In fact, it becomes quite exciting as you realise that you are going to have your best year yet!

D-day approaches. You make your lunch, fill your shiny new pencil-case, pack your bag, put out your school clothes, text your work friends, set your alarm and suddenly you realise your new pupils will be mirroring exactly the same jobs too – gulp. And then the blissful realisation that the INSET day will give a minimum of twenty-four hours head start before battle commences and soon victory is won!