Missing In Action

Thanks to everyone who enquired about why there have been no blog posts for over a week. The reason was that I was crumpled on the kitchen floor.

Actually I wasn’t…rather I was totally immersed (anyone interested in positive psychology would call this “flow”) in the planning and programming stage for this semester. I have pulled so many working hours at home in the last two weeks that I, myself, am horrified. People ask me why I have to do so much work. They want to know if I am perhaps marking books.

So, here it is. At present, I have been allocated thirty students across three grades. I say “at present” because there are more to come. These thirty students have varying degrees of learning difficulties and disabilities. I am responsible for ensuring that all 30 children improve their reading, writing and spelling skills. Looking at my timetable, that means I have 21 specifically scheduled lessons each week over four days. That makes 147 lessons that need to be prepared before the April school holidays.

147 challenging, inspiring, intensive and creative lessons that will encourage a love for learning in 30 children.

Each lesson needs to be carefully planned to make sure it works and that every child’s needs are met. Each lesson does not just happen on its own. Somebody needs to plan them. Me.

So, why don’t I do this planning at school? The school day itself is filled with teaching, parent and teacher conferences, team meetings, visiting classrooms, adapting programmes for students, lunch clubs, sitting on various focus groups and committees and let’s not forget good old playground duty.

So, at the beginning of each year I spend hours (and hours and hours) programming an entire term, right up to photocopying each programme and sheet. Teachermums don’t have time to stay after school planning the next day’s work. It needs to all be done beforehand, unfortunately sometimes in the wee hours of the morning when everyone else is sleeping. I work hard for my money…

Now, the term is planned for and I (being the total control freak that I am) can be calm and relaxed in my teaching, knowing confidently which direction I am moving in with each child. If I am calm, my students are calm. Calmness makes a great foundation for learning.  I can go to bed at night knowing I did my best for my students today. I hope that the teachers of my own children go to bed at night feeling the same way.

I know the planning is worth it, because the kids love their lessons. They love coming and they never know what to expect, because each time there is something different happening. This combined with probably my own pressure I place on myself for my standard of teaching, makes me spend hours and hours working outside of school hours. Don’t get me wrong – I love the planning process – it is where creativity in my work takes over. It becomes and expression of who I am. The problem is time, or lack of it. For the other terms, I programme in the April, July and September breaks.

Am I the only one who does this? Anyone else out there find they do the same? Anyone else out there get annoyed by teachers who don’t make an effort?

I am looking forward to returning back to the real world with a bit of balance in it this week. I am sure Husband and children are too. I am also looking forward to sharing my ideas and strategies with you over the next few posts. Watch this space.

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12 Responses to Missing In Action

  1. Roxannne says:

    Do you think all teachers have as much passion as you do ?

    • TeacherMum says:

      I don’t think all, but they are definitely there because they are the ones out there who inspire me with ideas.
      I have met many passionate teachers on my travels. And even those who are not passionate teach me about what kind of teacher I do not want to be.

  2. mercy says:

    how nice, hope all teachers are same as you.

  3. JOAN AND GERALD says:

    LOVED YOUR BLOG (AS ALWAYS) WOW,DO YOU GET TIME TO EAT – WHAT A GREAT IDEA FOR A DIET!! LOVE

  4. Lub says:

    I hope the kids you teach know how lucky they are to have you teaching them 🙂

  5. Little L says:

    Instead of a regular teacher preparing one lesson for 30 kids, as a remedial teacher you are preparing 30 lessons for 30 kids! It is inspiring how dedicated, passionate and creative you are. I wish more teachers were like you. I see a mix of teachers who teach my children – some who are passionate, and a few who just ‘cruise’. They come to school, present children with a confusing mix of photostated notes from various sources, teach and then go home – without caring whether the kids grasp or understand what is going on. I don’t know if there is a way of ‘inspiring’ teachers who don’t really care, and to whom it is a job just to ‘get through’??? But it is inspiring to see teachers like you who care and go the extra mile. I wish you taught my kids!

    • TeacherMum says:

      I suppose it is like any job – there are those who care a bit more and go the extra mile and then those who cruise. In education it is all the more sensitive because we pay school feesand expect the best for what we pay for. We get frustrated when we don’t get it.
      Ultimately, it probably builds up a resilience in our children because when they are adults they are going to encounter a working community of people who inspire them and people who cruise along.
      I am so lucky that I love what I do and that I work in an environment that tries to inspire a great culture of learning. Professionaly Development is expected.
      I reckon those teachers who make no effort have lost their love of the job. It has just become a job. I have always felt that the day my teaching becomes just a job will be the day I quit the profession.

  6. Leila says:

    You are phenomenal. Your students are indeed lucky to have you. I do a lot of planning as well. It seems our jobs are never done. Keep up the fantastic work.

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