Well the things I wanted to do this year were to find a new job, to do more community stuff in Newham, to develop my creative writing and to GIF hard.
I changed jobs in April, leaving my much loved first school to go to another one nearby. I’ve stepped up to being an Assistant Head, which I have found really challenging but rewarding. It was a funny start, going in as AHT but due to staffing, needing to jump straight in as a Year 5 teacher. This term has levelled off and I’ve been able to think a bit more strategically about everything. Morale seems good among the kids and teachers I work with, and whilst I sometimes think I have informalised everything too much, people seem happy enough, the kids are learning and it all seems alright. I am still in touch with my old school, working with them on some training and with the Open University Reading for Pleasure Network. It was the right time to look at moving on to a second school.
Community stuff in Newham has been OK but largely quite tokenistic – I’ve attended meetings and a few events, but haven’t committed myself enough. I am a trustee of the Sheba Project and enjoy working on a bajillion small and large projects with Aisha Siddiqah. The community garden has come along well but we are now looking for funding to develop it further, so that it can become a little hub for community learning and heritage, as well as a calm oasis. There are other secret ideas in the pipeline that we are working on.
I loved studying albeit briefly at Goldsmiths, taking part in the Writing the City short course. It was so fun to take time out one a week just to listen to people talking about their experience of the city, and especially to learn about the East London Group. Our group contained an archaeologist, an Egyptian drama student, a retired social worker, a secondary teacher and so many others who brought really interesting perspectives into their writing. I didn’t end up committing as wholly as I wanted to, as I ended up changing jobs in the middle of the course, but I got so much from it and am really grateful to Sonia Lambert who facilitated it. In the future, I’d love to go back to study.
GIFfing, however, has been solid. I have installed the Lively app, meaning I can make them myself, and now routinely respond to emails with a GIF of my own face. This is progress if ever I have seen it.
For next year, I think I just want things to carry on basically as they are. I am feeling invigorated by my new work, and well supported. I am fortunate to work with people I like, doing meaningful work, and having increasing creative license to try out new things. I am loving spending more time focused on reading with the kids, especially the Year 6s. I feel quietly optimistic about the SATs tests, which I cannot really ever ignore, and I want to insulate the teachers and kids from taking it all too seriously without doing them a disservice. The data looks alright, and whilst as AHT for 5/6 my neck is on the line, I like that we are taking it all quite collaboratively.
I’m going to get more into the swing of writing this year, and hope to be able to make more time to commit to it. I’ve got some talks scheduled at various education conferences and I am already getting giddy about pulling together the strands of what I’ve been up to, for Cambridge Festival of Education, UKLA and some TeachMeet events around East London.