It has been a tough old term.


The festive holidays are upon us and I swear I could almost hear a synchronized sigh of relief from teachers all over the land!

So how was your term? Mine was tough and I’m writing this for selfish reasons. I want to just pour out my little soul about this term. It’s been tough for a number of reasons. So much so that I drafted my resignation in my head at least fifty times. I’ve never felt so low about education and more particularly with Further Education.

  • Everything seems to be needed to be done months before it should be and a million times faster!
  • Teachers are so busy doing admin work that little time is left for focusing on quality teaching and learning.
  • Yet again we are being given a list of what Ofsted wants and some colleges are still insisting on grading internal observations.
  • Students and staff have struggled with the maths and English agenda of the government and we are all at our wits end with it all. I have touched on why here.
  • Finally there is little money for FE and therefore retention and achievement is even more important than ever. This is leading to some teachers values and beliefs being pushed over the edge.

With all this going on my own personal health has impacted on my feelings towards teaching. It would seem early menopause is not much fun when teaching. It is extremely hard teaching when you feel like you are about to combust with internal rage over your board marker not working, or that you are about to physically melt infront of your students. Unfortunately it seems to bugger up your hormones and leave you feeling like Jekyll and Hyde.

At the October break I focused on my family and made sure I didn’t look at work emails or take work home with me. I did take part in the first UKFEchat conference however (see here). The combination of both actually helped lift me out of my negative slump towards teaching. Slowly I managed to talk myself out of being a shop assistant and all other daft ideas I had. As for the health issue, I’m just going to have to ride the storm, as so many other women do.

So what will I do to get through the next term?

  • I will continue to ignore college emails out of office time.
  • I will strive to do all planning and marking at college, not home.
  • I will keep most weekends for my family and friends.
  • I will go to the local pub more with @cherrylkd
  • I will attend Primary Rocks, ReseachEd, Northern Rocks and hopefully another UKFEchat conference (these events are great to help boost my motivation for teaching and learning).
  • I will learn to play the piano.
  • I will get a dog (the cats will get over it).
  • I will reduce the amount of crap I eat at college. Sweets and crisps are not a staple diet.

I think that will do for now. Merry Christmas to you all.



Nurture 2014/15


It is that time of year where lots of tired teachers are all ready for a break (I know I most certainly am!). We can all finally wake up in the morning without the shrill sound of the alarm clock. Some of us (including myself) will start to reflect on this year as it nears the end and what we hope the new year will bring. As I sat sipping my tea this morning enjoying the fact I did not have to rally the children to get to school on time, make pack lunches and dash to college to teach, I leisurely caught up on blog posts. One of the first I read was @ChocoTzar ‘s  #nurture14/15 campaign. I joined in with this last year for #nurture13/14 and therefore I wanted to make a contribution again. So here are my five positives from this year and my five wishes for next year. 2014 – Five Positives

  1. I am still enjoying teaching despite the ever increasing workload and demands. Although I have to say there have been moments where I have considered a change of career.
  2. In September I had the privilege of contributing to #ukfechat ‘s guide book (see here for the link to download).
  3. November came and with it the launch of a charity diary that was inspired by a blog from @ChocoTzars and got @cazzwebbo rallying teachers to join in. I was one of the many teachers who posed for the camera to go into a diary. This was to help raise money for the Family Holiday Association (see here). It’s not often I don a pair of fairy wings
  4. fairy meThis year I ventured to a few education conferences and events. The main two were Northern Rocks and Research ED, both of which have had a huge impact on my teaching. All have been fabulous experiences and I have been bitten by the ‘edu conference’ bug. In addition to this I have attended some less formal teaching events in pubs! I have met some really great teachers and strongly advise you to try it for yourself.
  5. On the 20th December my little sister got married, it was a wonderful day and a clear reminder to not let teaching consume me. Family and friends are what keep you sane.

2015 – Five Wishes

  1. Earlier in December I wrote a post on what I would do for my #teacher5aday. This was another twitter campaign focussing on teacher wellbeing started by @MartynReah I will endeavour to keep to it as best I can. We all need ‘me’ time.
  2. I am taking a lead role in my department to help create online resources to meet FELTAG requirements in FE (see here and here for more information). My hope is that we develop meaningful resources that will support learning as opposed to ticking boxes to get funding.
  3. On twitter I am actively involved in #ukfechat (see here for more information) and look forward to continuing with this. We have had several meet ups, all organised by the marvellous @MrsSarahSimons. 2015 is going to see us making some real progress in the world of FE. Watch this space!
  4. My daughter will start secondary school in September. I hope she gets into the school both she and I want, and that it is as smooth a transition as possible. It is such a huge step for any eleven year old.
  5. Finally I wish to continue to engage with twitter, blogging and educational events. I have already booked to go to Research Leads, Cambridge and Northern Rocks 2015.

Thank you for reading and I hope you can find the time to do your own #nurture14/15. I would also like to take this opportunity to wish you all a wonderful Christmas and fantastic New Year!