School Holiday Reflections: Investing in the Future of our Students

A New Chapter

I really miss my class!

Having introduced our pupils to their new teacher and support staff, we have said our goodbyes and I’m now on a family ‘staycation’ by the Northumberland coast.

With time to reflect and catch up with my thoughts, I can’t help but feel a sense of loss.  The last time I felt this way was when my daughter left home to attend university.  Although you know in your heart that you have to let them go, you still can’t help feeling a nagging sense of separation as your children begin that new chapter.

The truth is, kids and young adults are resilient.  They will thrive and become twice the person they were before they left you.

 

Our Classroom Family

My colleagues would often say, “In teaching, you can’t be too chummy or friendly with your class children.”

I wholeheartedly agree with that!

However, despite the need to establish and maintain clear boundaries, a strong bond is built up between you and the pupils.  They are not so much ‘friends’, but they do become ‘family.’

On several occasions, children have inadvertently addressed me as ‘dad’.  When the word slips out of their mouths, they feel embarrassed and apologise for their mistake.

But I take it as a compliment.

There is a hidden contract that develops between us.  I commit to protect them, teach them, and guide them through their daily squabbles.  I correct, encourage, challenge, share, and nurture.

In return, they trust me because they know I’m looking out for them.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all sugar and spice!  I often have to be firm with them.  But we can share stories and they laugh at my attempts to be funny.

It is certainly like family life, and I don’t mind being a father figure.

 

Building Relationships

It takes time to build a good relationship with your class, but it is a worthy investment of effort and patience.  Eventually, you’re entrusted with a deeper understanding of each individual child.

They’ll sometimes open up and share their thoughts with you, but most learning is gleaned by careful observation.  You begin to see their true character, and you learn their fears, concerns, and aspirations.

As a trusted professional, they have confidence knowing I would only speak to them constructively, never to embarrass or undermine them.

And the joy is that, by understanding how they process ideas or challenges, you can gently impress on them the confidence to trust their given strengths, develop their weaknesses, and instil a ‘can-do’ attitude.  Through this, they develop a positive outlook and hope for their future, knowing that they too can tackle any obstacle and make a difference for something good.

 

A Joyful Classroom

One of my greatest joys is getting to know their sense of humour!

I love bringing fun into the classroom.  When I stand up to start a lesson, I often make myself the ‘goofy’ one by saying, “I just don’t know if I can work out the answer to this question.  Can anyone help me?”

I always get a shot of hands flying up, ready to talk me through how to find the solution.

I allow them to play the ‘teacher’ role, where they stand at the front and demonstrate on the display board to the rest of the class.  I’ve even ‘hid’ the child behind my back whilst they explain their answer, and then mimed the words to pretend I was the one speaking.  I don’t think they were fooled by that one!

Acting and roleplaying in the classroom always brings a smile to the children’s faces.  We all look forward to it!  Of course, we’re sometimes more down to earth in our lessons, but getting the balance right is where we achieve the best results and greater long-term success from the whole class.

 

Anxieties and Struggles of COVID-19

With the year being marred again by COVID, our class had been separated for quite a while during lockdown.

As mentioned above, we come to learn our pupil’s fears and anxieties.  These struggles and emotions were truly evident when they returned back to class.

The pandemic has affected us all.  Some have experienced personal loss, while others hold on for better days.

As much as we do our best to spare our children from bad news, they pick things up and attempt to fill in the gaps.  I’ve had children burst into tears, worried that their loved ones might catch the virus and not survive.

In addition to all their anxieties, was the loss of education.  Google Classroom did its best, but not every child accessed the technology.  The attainment gap amongst our pupils increased exponentially.

The whole class had lost something precious.  The sparkle in their eyes had dimmed and the momentum we built had unravelled.  Teacher and TA worked doubly hard to raise their spirits and get their learning back on track.  It took some time, but the joyful ship was soon sailing once again.

 

The Next Chapter

Our children need all the support we can give them.  That’s why I enjoy my advisory role at GeneratEd.   I get to see what the team produce and how the material can equip and inspire children to make leaps and bounds of progress.

Each learning pack contains the perfect mix of engaging resources for the subjects being covered, such as play-dough, games, stickers, and puzzles. They also come with a complementary Grown-Up’s Guide to help parents and guardians get involved.

I implore you to have a look at the website and grab a couple of packs.  You will find something exciting for children in Reception right up to Year 6.

As I continue to test and trial each learning pack, I can assure you that the activities and lessons are made with care and are aligned to the National Curriculum.  Plus, they’re packed with creative ideas and heaps of fun!

May I encourage you to invest in your children today:  they will reap a bountiful harvest tomorrow.

Keep in touch,

A Humble School Worker

 

P.S.  Though I miss my old class, I’m now looking forward to meeting my new one.  Hurray!

 

~

 

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~ Team GeneratEd

 

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