This week, I have been fortunate enough to pick up some teaching in Year 6, some break duties with Year 5 and a lunchtime with Year 6. I have also seen our Year 7 & 8s a little more, too, albeit as a wave through the classroom doors. Even now, after many years in education, my ultimate perfect time is when I am in a room with a bunch of kids in front of me and a great lesson planned and resourced to the best of my ability. It is a very privileged position in which to be.
It is always good to touch base with our older pupils and try to really listen to them, always trying to empathise with them and understand what their perceptions of school life. This is the unseen curriculum here at St Peter’s, often undervalued and totally hidden from view, rarely recognised. I don’t even know what to call this hidden curriculum. For now, I will name it ‘The magic that cannot be planned for’. Well that curriculum is certainly held dear here.
We have a formidable team of tutors at St. Peter’s. They have outdone themselves this half term and shone. They have worked tirelessly with the pupils to quickly get them classroom ready, Covid aware hygiene savvy, resourced-up safely, settled in comfortably, prepared for the day of learning ahead, prepped with prep, bonding with friends and committed to their studies. But, most of all, these tutors are the true pioneers of ‘The magic which cannot be planned for’ curriculum. Their weird and wonderful tutor ideas and lessons are seen right throughout the school. It is the tallest order to be a tutor and the pressures on them (especially at the moment) should not be underestimated. Thank you to each tutor in the school for their extra care of the children since returning in September. It is so very much appreciated; it is the one single thing that has made the biggest difference to the pupils.
We always say that the ‘The magic which cannot be planned for’ just starts with a conversation. It starts with…
How are you? Are you happy? Any news for me?
You never quite know how these informal moments will go! Kids are unpredictable. As a teacher, when you get your toe out of bed every morning, you at least know that you can expect the unexpected.
With the recent (constant) reference to the topic of ‘mental health’ surrounding our children, teenagers and adults, I thought this was a timely moment to catch up with them and see where they were in these Covid times. Were they really all suffering as much as our news would have us believe? Have the repeated messages given through our media, our school curriculums and through our communities helped them or hindered them? Basically asking myself: ‘Are they OK?’ It does seem as if everyone is having their own conversations on the subject of mental wellbeing and sometimes we can forget to include the children in these. As a result, I interacted with the pupils less when on my duties this week. I just watched the kids. I listened. I asked them outright how they felt. Then, when the time felt right, I simply asked them for a group photo to best represent how they were feeling. Here are the results:
Deputy Head, Teaching & Learning