There are so many moments in every hour, day, and week when you are dealing with adolescents, but some allow you that moment of reflection yourself. I was doing one of our regular checks at the ‘White Shops’ on Thursday, and I found myself standing in the rain talking to the students; partly about expectations of the behaviour in the community (such as the issue of crossing the road on their bikes), but mainly about their lives and ambitions. As I was strolling back with a Year 9 student, we stood on the footbridge and looked over at the city and he said his uncle worked there. I simply said and so could you: we stopped and looked, and I think he realised that I was entirely serious. I reminded him that ambition will drive you a long way, and that it is critical you keep your eyes on the prize.
One of the common responses you get to being a teacher is “I couldn’t deal with children that age all day”, but actually if you remember that they are just young adults with a variety of interests that you have to find a way to engage with, then you quickly realise the pleasure in the job. The conversations yesterday morning were as varied as: the quality of Mrs T’s breakfasts and coffees; the different types of bikes on the market; the difference between weather and climate (our Geography Department will be glad to know that all the Year 9 upwards got it); the Wilder v Fury fight (and, of course, whether either could beat AJ!); and the value of reading. Diverse, eclectic but completely enjoyable. Personally, would I rather be commuting on a delayed train in to the city? No, is a simple and honest answer: each to their own.
On Tuesday, my wonderful group of Year 8 readers brought our book to a close. I have really enjoyed getting to know a different group of students and trying to nurture their love of reading. The boys have done really well and grown immeasurably in their confidence to read aloud and discuss difficult vocabulary: a top effort. Reading has always been, and will always be, the thing that unlocks education.
Beyond the tree going up in the front office, it is clear that Christmas is coming: the cast of “Frozen” are here until late; tonight we have the Winter Ball; the food order is in for the OAP party, etc. However, in the excitement, it is important to remember there are still nearly 3 weeks of school left, and our expectations of the students learning remains the same: it’s all part of helping students get the balance between hard work and enjoyment right, so that they can achieve those dreams and ambitions (in the city or otherwise).