1) Balance – Create more of a work life balance, you teaching-obsessed freak.
Even when I wrote this, with my heart all aflame with dreams of reinvention, I knew I wasn’t going to change much. Bluntly and honestly, I have grown quite attached to my work-addiction, since my entire social life in London revolves around my school.
Well knock me down and call me Judith, I have only gone and got myself a work life balance haven’t I? Pleasingly, my school has been really receptive to my ideas and suggestions, and I chose to let them know that whilst I love my job, I simply am not able to work sustainably whilst teaching how I want to teach. I don’t want to let my standards slip, I told them, and although I am enjoying things, I made it clear that it is a struggle.
We discussed all the exciting stuff going on at our school, and it worked out that there were many things I could be doing at school which would serve my needs as well as the school’s. As such, I am in a new post! I am now Assistant Director of our Teaching School. This gives me the chance to organise and run a network of about 40 East London schools, and to begin putting on lots of projects to link up the teachers and pupils. I will have the chance to work in primary and secondary schools, as well as sixth forms, and whilst back in school, I will still have lots of time in the class working with a trainee teacher all year on a class share. And I will continue team teaching Geography across the school, and I can develop new curriculum projects too.
I am absolutely made up about it, and grateful for the trust the school has put in me to develop this quirky role, and a great thing about it is that I have enough freedom and autonomy to get really engaged and creative, but I will also be able to manage my workload.
This weekend is the first one in four years of term time in which I did not need to do any additional work. I slogged hard from 8-6 each school day, but this is fine. Exciting stuff.
2 Thesis – Get cracking with your Masters, you dillydallier
I have absolutely no idea what to do for my thesis which begins in September. I think that is a bleeding marvellous position to be in. Tabula Rasa is highly desirable. I shall spend some time in the summer mulling it over. I am highly fortunate to have become friendly with an astounding educator and retired Cambridge professor of education, Eve Bearne, who has offered to help me flesh out my ideas, and I am lucky to have such a great acquaintance!
3 -Jaunt – See the world, you reclusive little thing
In my 1415 post I was moaning about how poorly travelled I am. Much to the dismay of my bank manager, who presumably exists, I have thrown myself fully into rectifying this. In February, I spent a few beautiful days in Athens, visiting sites of ancient history, filming a lip sync video to Beyoncé – Listen, mistakenly ordering a large glass of Ouzo with breakfast (thought ouzo was Greek for water…) and ending the holiday with the sort of shameful debauchery that would make Dionysus blush and did, in reality, make the man next to me on the plane very concerned about the sick bags tied to my wrists.
In April, I spent ten days exploring the mysterious alleyways, minarets and madrasahs of Marrakech. We stayed in a little Riad in a very rundown part of the city, and we’re grateful to have become friendly with a hilarious Berber man who spoke only in Arabic. Despite the absolute language barrier, we had the most hilarious evening of mimed communication and shisha, as the storks flew overhead. We saw magnificent tombs and palaces, ate some absolutely gorgeous food and I thoroughly enjoyed being called Ali Baba by every single vendor we encountered.
And I just booked flights to Turkey in August and want another cheeky jaunt in October. If everyone keeps battering teachers for their holidays, my subversive response will be to confirm all their prejudices.
4 – Publish – Keep writing
Some good progress has been made here. I am writing much more regularly now for TeachPrimary magazine, and will be writing in the next edition of the United Kingdom Literacy Association’s ‘English 5-11’ journal. I am enjoying working with Nasima Hassan, who I met earlier this year through mentoring a UEL student, and it seems as though we are not only co-hosting a conference on Difference (SubvertCon) but we are collating a blumming journal of some sort.
5 – Miscellaneous Life Improvement- sort yourself out sir
The expansion of my stomach has become a source of infinite amusement to my class this year. One has even been so bold as to pat me on the stomach as a joke, and enquire about my pregnancy. Quite simply, my diet is not good and I don’t exercise. I won’t faff about by talking about my ‘little variations’. Realistically, this will not get better until I start doing stuff. I need a bike, I have decided, and I need to not desire Greggs. This is hard when I live above it, and can hear them being made whilst I wake up, like some angelic reverie of pastry.
Other parts of my life. Meh. Dating hasn’t really taken off but I have one nestled in my google calendar for next week so we shall see. Facial grooming has not happened, though probably should before I go to Turkey for all sorts of geopolitical and stylistic reasons. I am reading a bit more, and have just started reading Family Life by Akhil Sharma.