A Year in Reverse – Summer Writing no. 1

Posted: December 13, 2012 in Summer Writing
Tags: , ,

Over the Australian summer holidays, I’ll change tack a little and look to write more often and more broadly. Normal blogging transmissions will resume late January/early Feb next year. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these posts.

A Year in Reverse

A year ago, I was in the process of moving out of the school Boarding House, having lived in for more than six years – four of which I oversaw the running of the place. I left for a variety of reasons, but was quizzed by a few students as to “why it had to be now?” In answering, I said that first term was just too hectic a time. There were all the new boarders and, for this next year, I would also have my youngest child starting school. It felt like I was juggling a few too many things. At the time, I also said

If the year could start as it is ending, then I could do another year. But with the big start it’ll be just too much. I want to dedicate my time to a whole number of areas, but feel like I’m spreading it so thinly none might be covered fully.

Fast forward to now and, while recently chatting to a colleague, I reflected upon the these sentiments. Currently, teachers start the year with a full battery, full of ideas, only to be met with a full load, the need to be fully prepared and (perhaps) not with sufficient time for reflection. By the time one gets to the end of the year when there is possibly more time on your hands (say with the exit of a Year 12 class), you are often mentally, if not physically tired. It’s that time of the year when someone could show you the best app of all time, the greatest teaching strategy, the best book you could read and your reaction is lukewarm to indifferent. What, we mused, if the year could start the year as it ends – with Term 4, moving towards Term 1. Here were the perceived benefits of our grand manifesto:

  • Rather than starting at full tilt, in a Reverse Year (RY), you might start a little more slowly. The year 12s don’t even arrive for a whole term (this would be their “stu vac” time!!)
  • As a result, you’ve got at least one lesson per day to put towards your own R&D – what about that online open uni course you’ve thought about that always starts in the first part of the year?
  • Or do some app trialling, rather than having only a basic understanding of how “Explain Everything” or “iMovie” works. Now you can get some real functionality.
  • Continue reading and perhaps even writing, rather than “dropping everything” as might be the case in the normal year, when the pressures of lesson preparation are at their most pressing.

Of course, the middle of the year would be kind-of-the-same, but the downside would now be the end of the year. You would end the year at full throttle and fall over the line into the holidays (quite likely factoring in the first week to get over the looming illness that you’ve managed to stave off for the last couple of weeks… but then again, how often does this happen now at other points of the year?!)

But perhaps this has, to some degree, been offset by the sense of gain already achieved over the course of the year. As teachers, we need to remember the need to be learners for life and, while not perfect by any means, a RY could offer a starting point for further consideration.

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