Mrs Humanities

teacher . blogger . friend


#Teacher5aday – Mrs Humanities Reflections and Promises

After having seen and read so many inspiring posts from other educators I felt inspired to think to about the year ahead and consider ways to achieve a sense of well-being. With workload, stress and the burdens of everyday life, teaching can take its toll and can affect us in the classroom. I love that Martyn Reah has introduced us all to the idea of #teacher5day, helping us to think about our well-being, the people we work with and that of other educators.

How will I #connect, #exercise, #notice, #learn and #volunteer in 2015?

This has certainly provoked some thought. 2014 was nothing special. No family members died this year (phew), we didn’t move house again (2 years running we’ve been in this home of ours, yay!) yet I barely saw Mr Humanities since his job meant he worked most weekends. My Dad got married, great but I had to wear a hideous pink dress, boo. However I managed to get a job in the school I wanted to teach in since my PGCE… well I guess that one was pretty pleasing. Oh wait and I took part in a TV show which screened this Autumn, that was fun. Mr Humanities got a new job last week… Okay thinking about it this year has been pretty good in comparison to previous years. It’s only when you reflect that you remember the good things.

I will be the first to admit that I get stressed, I work and work and work and then I buckle under the strain. I don’t speak up until I’m about to hand my notice in. I don’t rest and feel guilty when I give up because I’m too exhausted to do anything. I never knew I was any good at acting until I became a teacher – I’ve only cracked in the classroom once. Not my most pleasing of moments, but it made me more relatable to the year 11’s that appeared to despise me because I wasn’t “Mr whatever his name was that left”.

So here are my #teacher5day promises for 2015 to improve my well-being and teaching practice

#connect – Recently I’ve found that some friends have distanced themselves and have stopped inviting me to things because they automatically assume I’m too busy with work to do anything. I want this to change. I want to say yes more. I want to socialise more to take my mind off of work.  I’ve just joined a historical re-enactment group with Mr Humanities and I’m hoping to connect with real-life people on a social (and historical) level. Then there’s the connecting with other educators to help improve my practice in the classroom and department leadership. Considering I only qualified from my NQT year in July 2013,  I’m setting up and running a brand new department from scratch; a department which consists of me, myself and I. It gets lonely at times, no one to share ideas with, no one to delegate tasks to, no one to talk to … I look forward to employing and supporting someone in my department next September.

#exercise – my exercise won’t come in the generic form. Now that Mr Humanities has a new job, we’ll have weekends to spend together, this means we can go out on our outdoor adventures like we used to do before moving down to the South East. We can visit the mountains of North Wales (my favourite place in the world) and climb a few peaks, hike between country pubs, walk along beaches and coastlines, visit woodland, build dens and fires. If I’m outdoors I’m exercising in some form or another. I haven’t done enough of that in 2014.

#notice – I spend so much time working that I forget to notice the people around me. My friends and family. I can sit for several hours looking at the computer screen on a Sunday so engrossed in my work, repeating to myself “I’ll just finish this then I’ll….” often I even fail to notice Mr Humanities has arrived home from work. This year I plan to stop working so hard at home and notice the people I have in my life. Ask them about their day, week, month; notice and celebrate birthdays and major events in their lives; notice the positives of a working day…. and stop noticing the imperfections in my work (I’m a perfectionist).

#learn – I LOVE learning! I never stop. New techniques, new ideas, new theories, new subject knowledge. This year I need to learn more from others. I want to get out of the classroom and observe the good practice around me, visit other schools and Humanities departments; see an Outstanding Geography/History/Humanities department in action and learn from them. I’m keen to partner up with a department in another school to learn how to lead a successful (and hopefully outstanding) department; I know that outstanding teaching isn’t enough.

#volunteer – Since training to be a teacher I’ve tried to get back into conservation and environmental management but it just hasn’t worked out what with my lengthy working hours and Mr Humanities weekend work. However now that he’s got weekends off and I try to have at least one day a week off, I hope we will return to our environmental roots through volunteering. We already have a woodland coppicing weekend lined up in January, I hope there will be many more opportunities throughout the year to lend a hand.

Overall I just want to be outside more this year, the outdoors just seems to help me relax, reflect and improve.

I hope for a successful (and hopefully less stressful) 2015 for everyone.

Let’s rock this year!

Mrs Humanities

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The Marking Frenzy by @TeacherToolkit

Since I started teaching I’ve always over-marked (opinion of my previous school). When Ofsted visited in my 7th week of teaching two years ago in my feedback they highlighted the outstanding feedback they felt I provided my students. Although I know the importance of marking I often feel it weighs me down. I’ve no time to complete in school hours, so I have to do it at home. With Humanities I teach 10 different classes twice a week and 2 classes once a week, that results in taking home a set of books every night and a set for the weekend for good measure. It’s exhausting and I’m always looking for ways to reduce marking whilst still providing high quality feedback to ensure progression.

I like using DIRT after marking books once a fortnight but I find that due to time limitations with the curriculum taught there is not enough time to allow pupils to go deep into their responses and redraft work. We have to get on with the next stage of learning to ensure the whole topic is taught. Is it just me that finds this?