We had two Inset days on Thursday and Friday, then the weekend before the children started today. I’m a big fan of two-day-weeks anyway, and my Head of Music requested that I consider ensuring we have two days off after every two days of work in future. I’m looking into it.
Anyway, I began the first Inset day with a reminder of why we do our job in the first place: a photo slideshow of lovely moments from the previous year. Photos of our kids learning, enjoying, competing, trying, caring, succeeding, laughing, inspiring, travelling, performing, smiling, embracing, celebrating, achieving. It was such a pleasure to put together, going back through the photo archive and seeing all the wonderful opportunities that our school provides for young people, and the way in which they seize those opportunities with both hands. I soundtracked the slideshow with two tracks from our gospel choir’s new CD: “September” (topical) and “True Colours” (emotional). I wanted to begin the year with a celebration of the children – because that’s why we do it.
The first inset day was focused on performance development, our replacement for “appraisal” or “performance management” inspired (as usual) by John Tomsett’s work. It’s our first run through this year – I’ll blog about it when we’ve got it properly up and running and let you know how it’s gone!
The second day began with a focus on teaching and learning. We are launching teacher-led research and development groups working alongside a leadership strand in scheduled meeting time over the course of the year. My colleagues and I will be presenting about this at #WomenEd’s Unconference later in the year – again, blog to follow!
The point of all this preamble is that I’d already had two opportunities to speak to the whole staff. Briefing on Monday was going to be factual – key information about the new Year 7 to be checked, arrangements for lunch and catching the buses etc. But I wanted to set the tone for the year and make sure that I gave out key messages about our approach and direction. So here’s what I went for.
- Love the kids.
- Pace yourself.
- Start the learning straight away.
- Enjoy it.
Have a great year everyone!