Tag Archives: big picture education

New start, new ride

Just a quick one on this glorious Wednesday!

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Today was my first day at a brand new school. Last year I formed a pretty significant bond with my advisory as part of the Big Picture Education pedagogy, and I was dreading having to leave them and start fresh. I’ve never been a big fan of change, and I had settled in so well at my old school that I ended up in a panic on the drive down to my new school this afternoon.

However my old school was nowhere near perfect (it is solely the familiarity and the students that have me missing it). So as soon as I got all my induction information and realised that I could finally be in an environment where I could learn and not have as much premature responsibility as at all my previous schools, I was a LOT happier. I loved being a part of a Big Picture school because of the emphasis on knowing your students and having a strong relationship with them, which is one of my biggest strengths as a teacher by far. My relationships with those kids were some of the best in the school, and I am very proud that in my farewell speech my line manager told everyone how I was a big sister figure for the disengaged kids especially,and that I was frequently the only one they responded to and would complete work for. Even now it brings me to prideful tears thinking how far I was able to bring those kids, though they are coupled with fearful tears knowing some of those same kids will go backwards without someone investing that same amount in them as I did.

As great as my student relationships were though, the staff were another story. Not dissimilar to my previous two schools, often I was left to my own devices with a huge amount of responsibility for someone only two years into her careers. The English department was nonexistent both in support and function. I would have my reports all ready to go with very little guidance, only to be told I had done them wrong and I should have been told the correct way to do them.

My new school already has a vastly different feel amongst the staff. The English department head has been amazingly helpful and there are a lot of existing systems in place for personal and professional support. One of my personal beliefs when it comes to teaching is that I will be less than useless in looking after and educating kids if I am not looking after myself. I struggled a lot in my first two years with that, overworking myself and taking on a lot of duties that were beyond me, and only recently finding a balance between work and self care.

Maybe that’s why I was hesitant and on edge this afternoon before arriving to school. I had finally found that routine and balance only for it to be swept out from under me without being able to do anything about it. I like to have control over things, and I do tend to panic first before letting go and enjoying the ride. Hopefully I have the panic all out of the way now, and can enjoy being at what seems to be an amazing school.

Hope you all are having an awesome week and that you Australian teachers are taking care of yourselves ahead of a new school year!

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Party (appropriately) Time!

Hullo!

Me right now. Well not exactly, I’m still at school.

I can finally emerge from that dreaded teacher hibernation known as reports, as I have officially finished mine for the semester! made all the more difficult of course by my own procrastination in leaving myself piles and piles of marking, but I managed it and feel so so so SO much lighter as a result!

I had so many students who were working at an A or B level, but because they didn’t hand work in their grade was dragged down to a C or D, which is disappointing to me. BUT I do also get some satisfaction out of the look on their faces when they realise their laziness has in fact NOT worked out for them at all.

I thought I would share a couple of my comments for my advisory class. They have to be around 300 words and they are the kids I know best. These two are a male and female student on complete opposite ends of the spectrum, but I love them equally:

(Girl) is a creative and talented young lady who makes her passion for reading, writing and art known every day. I personally enjoy talking about books with her; it is heartening to see such a pure love for something so often taken for granted. Her involvement in cadets and the (company) project has allowed her to use her strengths to grow as a young person as well as for relationships that have been beneficial to her at school. (Girl) approaches her work with an individuality and surety that is rare for someone her age. While she completes all her work creatively and to a high standard, I would like to see her share that passion more within the classroom. (girl) gets along with everyone in advisory and though she expresses herself confidently in small peer groups, I would like to see her collaborate and cooperate with the class as a whole. At times (girl) does retreat into her work away from the collegial atmosphere of the class emerging when required. (girl) works well with others and has shown leadership across the year group. (girl) always seems prepared and if she isn’t she finds what she needs in order to complete her work.  She regularly organises her file into a neat, presentable state. I think that (girl) has the capacity to be successful in whatever field she decides to pursue. I think it will be up to her though to decide what she wants and to go after it 100 percent without letting anything get in the way.

And my other delightful cherub:

(Boy)has shown himself to be a very caring young man, always one of the first to want to help when one of his classmates is in distress. In one-on-one situations (Boy)has been able to communicate well with classmates, and I would like to see him work on forming strong relationship with everyone in class. I believe that once (Boy)finds something in common with someone, he is loyal to that and it allows him to relate to them in some small way. (Boy) had had some stumbles this year so far but what I so admire about him is his resilience and his eagerness to be at school no matter what. With his individualised program continuing to be developed, I think that (Boy)will be able to find things at school to work on and be proud of. When it comes to class work (Boy)relies heavily on guidance from teachers and mentors to complete his work and stay on task. (Boy)can be a polite, helpful and co-operative member of Advisory and the year cohort at times.  However, sometimes he engages in behaviour that is hurtful toward others.  This behaviour has decreased somewhat but he still can try to eliminate it all together to keep his reputation as a positive and helpful person intact. I enjoy talking to (Boy)and getting to know his passions. I think there are many opportunities for (Boy)at a school like (school) and I am excited to help him pursue them. Ultimately though it comes down to him putting in the effort to focus and communicate his needs and concerns. He has started to show that he is able to do this in small stints, the more we work on this the more successes I believe (Boy)will have at school.

I genuinely love these kids, and desperately wish I could teach them again next semester. Fingers crossed!!

Love,
Andrea