This post is a bit different, I have shared and written about a lot of different things on this blog, it has turned from a personal blog into my online presence as an educator and leader. This week sees the start of the next exciting chapter in my career with a move to Charles Williams Church in Wales Primary School in Caerleon in the post of 21st Century Schools Leader, a role that I am relishing and looking forward to. But that is not why I write this post… This post is to acknowledge the staff and pupils that have given me 9 amazing years at The Dell.
From the amazingly warm welcome of Louise Xerri when I first joined the school inviting me to the Christmas do before I even started the job to Sarah Jane who has been an absolute pleasure to work closely with over the past 4 years.
I started as an NQT and quickly got myself involved in ICT, becoming joint co-ordinator and dance partner with the superb Hannah Kilbourn before taking the ICT role on for myself, we had some fun, especially presenting at the head teachers meeting. The first few years were a blur with inspection and a massive learning curve, but Caroline Haynes guided me through those times with great support. I made some great friends in Lesa Davies and Becky Pullen and we had some awesome times together outside work, thank you.
Being an amateur DJ meant that staff socials and leaving do’s were memorable and I had great fun providing the entertainment on the dance floor for Claire Jouvenat, Caroline Haynes and Keith Rowlands, The Dell definitely has some great dancers, you know who you are…!
Working alongside Vicky Wilson & Donna Shewan for the first few years was brilliant and I shall remember those days fondly. An opportunity to become ICT Advisor for Monmouthshire thanks to Dave Evans was a fantastic experience and gave me the opportunity to see education from the other side and meet some wonderful people as I travelled around the county. My heart always belonged in the classroom so I came back and continued developing as a teacher and leader, the number of training sessions and INSET days I have been involved with is impossible to count, I just hope as a result staff feel they are better teachers.
Trips to Hilston Park and Gilwern with Hannah Kilbourn, Matt Nicholas, Hannah Adams, Lizzie Peckham and Sarah Lewis were always the highlight of the year. Trying to develop some staff with their ICT skills, Lousie Xerri, Mark Adams to name a few has caused my hair to turn grey a bit quicker.
Doing the light and sound for the summer productions and seeing the pupils on stage gave me so many proud moments, I will happily come back and do that again! Getting 400 kids dancing and singing on the field for the Queen’s Jubilee was so memorable, in fact dancing seems to come up everywhere as many pupils I have taught will testify.
My class assemblies which have become more and more random over the year always bring smiles to the children and their parents. Being in the demountables at the far end of the school had it’s ups and downs, further to walk but also not so many interruptions means we can make lots of noise. Also to Donna Shewan who found it easier to phone me for tech support rather than walk across the school!
Christmas concerts with Carola Silk and Alyson Jenkins helped me to understand how organisation was key to making them successful and they were very successful. One of the most grateful of all the staff when supporting her with ICT, Diane Ashton-Smith showed me what a great teacher looks like as well.
Spending money over the years has been fun and always with the intention of making a difference, the ICT infrastructure is unrecognisable to what is was when I arrived at The Dell, the hall also looks very different thanks to Hannah Adams who I worked with on a huge project.
A post like this must also allow me to say a huge thanks to Jo Martyn, Morag Buchannan, Debbie Cass and Maureen Selby, my classroom assistants over the years who gave me such great times and memories and taught me a thing or two.
As well as good times there have been some incredibly hard times and lots of tears, but the unwavering support from ALL staff made sure I bounced back even better – thank you.
Then came the last 2 years, partly with the arrival of Steve King and partly with my own wake up call after getting disheartened and stuck in a rut with my teaching, I sat up and decided to take control of my career, I had been teaching for 7 years and wanted more (I also had a family to support), I knew I would have to work for it and I knew it was up to me. I discovered Twitter and the amazing teaching community out there who have inspired me to become better and challenge myself. I discovered that if I wanted to do something, just ask and if it had the children’s learning at the heart of it then it would probably happen.
I am now a much more enthusiastic and reflective teacher and even through all the bureaucracy and paperwork there has never been a better time to be a teacher, in my opinion. Not a week goes by where I don’t see some idea on Twitter or Pinterest which excites me about trying it in the classroom, my passion has never been greater and this has rubbed off on the pupils.
This year has also seen me start to present at TeechMeets, something I am proud of and keen to develop, I never thought I would be able to get up in front of my peers to talk about something I feel passionately about.
My message to the staff at The Dell and any other teacher that feels a bit disillusioned with teaching is even though Estyn/Ofsted, the Government, LA, data etc are important never let them be what you are teaching for. Always have the pupils at the front of your mind and if you want to try something or do something different go for it, I have and am loving teaching at the moment.