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New year, new opportunities

Catherine Barker

27 August 2015

Every year in teaching I have had the same feeling after the summer holidays – can I remember how to do it? How to actually teach? I can remember friends I described this to finding it completely ridiculous. How on earth could you forget how to do it when you have racked up literally thousands of hours in front of classes? But I did.

I’m hoping that this is very normal. Because, on reflection, this feeling gave the first lesson after the summer holiday a tangible excitement, a nervousness that gave it new energy and a chance for reinvigorating my teaching. When I started in a new school, the feeling was even more pronounced. Teachers have the chance to kick start their practice every single year, taking on new challenges; different classes to get to know, fresh workmates to collaborate with, and innovative opportunities to plan for students.

Working in a multi academy trust, we are lucky to have a further dimension to this.

As the group grows and flourishes, new initiatives are launched, presenting opportunities for us all. Across Enrichment in the group there are a host of opportunities to tap into. In Music and Performing Arts, the ambassador visits start in full swing this term. The Opera tour is currently in the planning, with schools being invited to sign up this September. The massed performance of ZIMBE is booked, and schools can begin rehearsing the material in the new term. Curriculum reform is also on the way, with a mastery approach looking to put United Learning on the map as a leader in excellence in education. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

So, as the new school year dawns on us all, I will be harnessing the nervous energy and focussing it on reaching out to the schools across the group, attempting to spread that excitement around – and reassuring teachers that you aren’t alone at all when you think you’ve forgotten how to teach. At least I hope not.