If you’re a student, parent or teacher you will be very aware of the upcoming end of term. The last few weeks always feel like a blur of activities, with sports day, leavers assembly, plays, concerts and performances packed into the last long hot days of the summer term.
We are all longing for the start of the long, well deserved summer break, to take time out of the gruelling schedule, to recharge and reconnect. This year I’ve seen from a parent’s perspective just how much work teachers do throughout the year. Isaac took his GCSEs this year and I’ve been amazed by the commitment of the teachers to making sure the curriculum was covered. All year teachers have been offering before and after school classes, and even Saturday school, seriously going above and beyond. At the end of a concert, I’m in awe of the music teachers and staff who have worked in excess of a 15-hour day just to ensure the kids have performed a stonking concert and showed off to their parents. The pride on the teachers faces as they see their students shine is really humbling.
What’s also fascinated me is how much an individual teacher can impact how a student feels about their subject. Subjects where the teacher is engaging, sometime provocative and always challenging are the ones that inspire Isaac, get him thinking and talking about the topic and are the ones he’s chosen to pursue.
I’ve also seen how unreasonable expectations and criticism can turn the love of a musical instrument into something dreaded and feared. It’s not long before the practise sessions are dropped and the instrument discarded, along with the progress and the lessons.
An amazing teacher is the added extra, the “sparkle” that brings both a subject and the student alive. When a teacher is creative, using different teaching techniques to involve the class, singles a student out for praise, affirms a thought or a question they had: students want to do better, work harder, and achieve more. Where they were unaware of their talent and ability, a teacher saw something, and drew it out with their encouragement.
Teachers, I’m in awe of you. The amount of work you do, your emotional investment, the targets, the timetable, the crowd control, is off the scale amazing. You don’t have time to stop and breathe most days and you have your work cut out for you just to get on with your work. Honestly, you do an amazing, worthwhile job. You influence the lives of hundreds of children a year, and you have no idea how one small word of encouragement may lift a student’s expectations, aspirations, and self worth.
Thank you. You don’t hear it enough, but you should. Without you, our kids are lost, and we’d all have to home school. Enjoy your break. And keep going!
Naturally, we’ve made some mugs for you. Parents, every teacher needs a tea or a coffee and your own mug in the staff room is an essential. When that mug came from a grateful parent or student and says: “Mr Harris you’re amazing” they may also insist on the rest of the staff room saying it to you as they pass your morning coffee. You may not. But it’s a great gift. Parents – end of term thank you presents – sorted. DM us and we’ll sort the order out and put it in the post in a jiffy, and your child will be remembered with fondness (or you can repair the damage after a tough year so their name is not used in vain for years to come)….
Well done to everyone. Parents, teachers, pupils, you’ve made it through the year. You’ve got through the playground issues, the boring lessons, the difficult pupils, the revision, the exams, the concerts, the plays. Now –time to enjoy the holidays!