An English Teacher's Toolbox

An English teacher at a Secondary School in the UK. * Sharing and questioning the day job. * I teach KS3/4/5.
* Looking for inspiration and motivation, to share with others. * Looking to constantly improve and grow. * On Twitter at @MissBex_M *
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Well, actually, no. All is not quiet!

It is the night before the GCSE results are officially available to students across the UK, and tonight there will be sleepless nights aplenty - and that’s just the teachers!

I, like many other Secondary/ High school teachers, will be thinking about the consequences of the results my class achieves, and the results of my school as a whole. Will a reduction in A*-C pass rate bring Ofsted back in? Will my department have to start reporting on a weekly basis how many ‘milli-points’ of progress we’ve achieved with little Katie this week?

Just what will tomorrow’s results mean?…

Well, sadly this is something that shows our society has lost focus, somewhat. Tomorrow’s results should be about my class, those individuals - what they deserved and what they wanted, and importantly what that means for them now. Some of them want to stay on at Sixth Form, others can’t wait to leave and go to…yes you guessed it….college. While many - ‘have had enuff’.

Yet, the media will no doubt focus on ‘how easy the exams have become’ and how ‘little effort is required by the teacher and pupil’ to achieve that grade A.

What the media, society - and actually many parents - don’t realise is that us teachers give blood, sweat and tears to get little Mikey through Y9,10 and 11 with a grade C at the end. Mikey doesn’t care; he wants to play football with his mates and tell you to ‘shut up’ on a regular basis. Whereas, Lucy wants more than anything to get a B grade and is unlikely to scrape a C - no matter how hard she tries and no matter how much her parents want it!

It’s all hugely unfair and it’s extremely stressful. How do we cope? What do we do to push ourselves through it, year after year - keeping up with the changing hoops?

Well - we do it because tomorrow most of my class will get what they deserve, hopefully. If I’m lucky, they’ll get what they’re predicted. They’ll get accepted to sixth form or college. They’ll get enough to start an apprentice at the local mechanics or beauty room - and that, that will be enough of a reward.

I wish you all good luck!

Well, I just absolutely love that first Sunday night of the summer holidays! The sky is blue, the TV is on and you can use the internet - without feeling guilty because you haven’t planned that year 8 lesson yet.

If you aren’t a teacher, or you’re not living with one, you can have no idea how dark and depressing Sunday nights can be. Yes, we love our job - we love working with young people daily and seeing the amazing progress a child can make - but Sunday evenings are like a dark grey cloud hanging over an otherwise promising horizon; tainting the otherwise picturesque week ahead.

So what is it about Sunday nights?
Well, they weigh down on us with the constant reminder of all the admin tasks we haven’t done yet, such as: planning lessons; making, printing and cutting resources; entering or updating data; marking books, assessments or homework, and of course the general day to day challenges - including difficult colleagues or pupils.

However, during the holidays we become regular, normal people. With regular, normal lives and we get to enjoy Sunday nights just as they should be enjoyed! This means we can read a good book, enjoy a nice glass of wine or a cold bottle of beer. Alternatively, we can go to the movies, or visit friends and family - and we can do all of this, without the guilt/ worry/ anxiety of the week ahead.

Now that is priceless!