The children come back to school tomorrow. We have spent the past two days on preparation and training. We have been through the processes of re-establishing relationships, beginning to form new ones with new members of staff and finding our feet again.
Most of us have been into school on and off throughout the summer. Yet today felt distinctly different. The anticipatory tension about the return of the children tomorrow. We are implementing a few changes this year, mainly in the way that our Learning Support Assistants are going to be working and SLT have been managing the anxiety that this is causing both in the LSAs and in the teachers (who will have times when they are on their own in the class). The level of need in the classes is what makes teachers anxious about being on their own. I know that they will manage well once they actually are doing it, but they doubt their own abilities. I know that once people have started and got into a rhythm the anxieties will disappear. The anxiety can cause negative reactions from people, but I know that this is because they want to do a good job. Staff can worry too much and over think things.
Our start of day this morning was a sort of ‘team building’ session. I wanted staff to see how all of them are important in the smooth running of the school machinery. As we were talking it became apparent that they didn’t really see how much their colleagues relied on them doing a good job, they were very self-depreciating. So I got them to write on sticky notes ‘you enable me to…’ and they put the initials of the member of staff they were talking about on the sticky too. They then stuck them on the flip chart and I read them out, leaving out the initials. There was so much genuine positivity it created a real buzz. More importantly though it made people realise that their colleagues need them to do the best job they can do, and that it is really appreciated when they do. This is what enables teaching for learning to be effective, especially in a school like this where we have to support each other as we are dealing with such difficult stuff on a daily basis. I am going to put the comments together and make them into a poster for the staff room.
Until the children come through the door tomorrow, we are never sure who is going to return. We are not sure how they will return, what state some of them will be in. This time last year I had to gather up 11 boys and contain them in a separate class as they came back so feral. This has now become our turnaround class. This year the group is established so there is somewhere to contain and support children if they are unable to manage the transition back to school.
There was also a murder on the estate over the summer; in the flats where some of the children live. We wait to see the impact of this.
There is a real buzz about.
It’s incredible how much rubbish gathers in a school over the course of a year. Corridors are hoovered, walls painted and scrubbed, clutter cleared, boards backed inviting the celebration of new learning. Classrooms are prepared, labelled, holding breath, waiting…