Drrrrained

Thank God I’m going out tonight. Hoping to find some positive energy to turn that down pression toward light and sun.

Winter is seeming to drain the life blood out of me.

This week feels like its put alot of us on the back foot

Days are hard and night seems to be the most inviting. Itching for unconsciousness to take me far away.

Ofsted under the brand spanking new framework put the whole school on heightened alert and tension.

Failing hot water drove me and the kids to biting one liners, filling up kettles and buckets with boiling water, incessant moaning and endless calls to the Council.

Proving I should retain child benefit that my ex is trying to take from me, find witnesses for an oncoming court case and fight for benefits that are my Right: enveloped me in mounds of hard, unsympathetic, blank, crackling, white paper – the canvass for hard evidence, I Must Find.

This is too hard.

It’s All on me.

4 hours of driving each day in a derelict car that needs daily top ups of water and oil filled me with exhausted numbness.

Couldn’t even write a blog. Couldn’t enunciate the sadness fog.

Can’t even find it in me to care if the Conservatives get in again, or look forward .. .

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Threats of Failure.

After witnessing something close to shell shock, when my students had to do an assessment…I decided to drill down and find out why…

We had a little ‘family chat’ in between analysing some Steinbeck and their feelings and views bit me to the core.

They believe that if they fail their GCSEs- their life will be over.

It’s as if they have one shot at success and that’s it. Do or die.

One teacher told them that they’d end up homeless if they didn’t get their gcses. Other teachers constantly threaten them with failing their exam in over 2 years if they don’t memorize yet another key bit of information.

They said their assemblies focus on GCSEs the whole time and they’re already fatigued by this incessant threat of possible failure years before the real thing.

As they’re in a lower set, they already feel inferior to their peers and many just expect themselves to not understand or write very little. (Here in lies the issues around setting.)

I know this is how most children feel in Secondary school and the clear pressure they feel from school to get it right NOW is turning more and more children off. This immediately negates a nurturing environment into a monolithic, minimalist definition of success.

I told them straight that you can restart your life at any given moment. There’s no finishing line! That GCSEs or anything else do not define their worth.

After doing some intensive timed work to acclimatise to exam situations, I then sang a couple of verses of an Adele song and they left happier and more confident than before.

Exams Kill.

I have some beautiful students.

Beautiful souls. Eager, delicate, in need of gentle guidance.

We debate, we reveal parts of our personalities, we experience time together…growing older together. Appreciating genius words, colliding with notions, crashing into history and showering us with emotion.

Don’t think for a second that my classroom is idyllic- it’s far from it. I get seriously wound up and so do they. I admit I’m a smothering Matriarch.

But it’s safe. I really work hard to make it emotionally safe.

Until we had to do out first assessment today configured loosely around GCSE exams.

Some of them literally crumbled before my eyes. They wilted. The stress was palpable and they’re 2 years off the real thing!

As teachers we act as a conduit for the extreme expectations of the management. The kids feel our intense burden of how do their books look, are they making adequate progress, are they engaging enough…how that makes Us look.

The current education system makes us care about our career and professional prowess over forming young minds.

It’s agonising to watch. Supremely painful to watch their bravado, their insight, their brilliant inference meld into a quivering wreck.

My bouncy, intuitive student couldn’t find a word to put to paper: despite my empathetic nudges, she had to leave the room, cry and tell me how much she cant cope with getting it wrong. I told her to chill and read a book.

Another boy, spent the whole lesson in sick bay after some sorry attempts of mine to prompt him.

So many students couldn’t remember their quotes and were flummoxed. Any hurdle tripped them up.

Others needed constant reminding sentence by sentence after weeks of prep.

We talk about building robust future citizens. I think this new exam heavy curriculum is creating a massive chasm of the haves and have nots.

The few who can do tests and the many who find the order too tall.

Yes I learnt some important pointers today about their low self esteem and the need to practise the complex requirements of exams in tiny swallowable chunks.

But this kind of pressure definitely takes the joy out of Learning.

Much Ado…

Can’t wait to teach this tomorrow…

To 11 and 12 yr olds!!! And make it exciting and relevant…!!!!

Shakespeare always grounds One 😏😏😏😏

Just trying to keep up with the plot twists makes you forget your own problems.

Then there’s the thick layers of language, innuendo, imagery…

I love my job.