Since the last entry of this type it’s amazing how many things have changed. My #nurture1314 blog almost looks like it is written by a different person.. not quite sure if that’s a good thing – maybe just a sign of how quickly things change, particularly in the current climate of education. Looking back and reflecting on it now there are some things on my 20 14 ‘ wish list’ that I managed:
I have started to wear more sensible shoes for work (might seem a tad trivial but my back is very grateful for it!)
I have just about finished my MA – just awaiting game now to see if it’s actually all been worth it and I have passed!
I have started to do more art myself. It may be mostly WAGOLLS at the moment – think it’s a good transition from doing nothing though and it makes me feel less guilty for spending the time making and creating. In reality, I don’t mind making things to use at school, the outcome of the making isn’t as important as the process. I just enjoy the creation and experimentation of physically doing and making things… in a way, the wide range of examples that I do for school is far more satisfying for my creative needs as I get the chance to play and experiment!
Now.. on to this year. I have opted to slim things down this time (in an attempt to be more efficient and all that) rather than writing out 14 best bits from 2014 and 15 wishes for 2015:
5 ‘best bits’ from 2014
Being appointed as Head of Art – after a few failed attempts to progress in the pastoral system at school I did feel slightly deflated and not sure of where was meant to be. The Head of department role has allowed me to feel like I can use my skills and ideas to benefit others.. its early days but it feels like this is always where I was supposed to go. We have a really hard working and dedicated team which obviously has made things a lot easier to make changes but also, there’s a lot to be said for just feeling like you work with nice people who are on the same wavelength as you.
Teaching Art full time – This may seem like a strange one considering the above comments.. However, like many textile teachers I have always had to teach D&T textiles for KS3 students as well as teaching the more arty version to exam groups. The change of job role this academic year has meant that textiles has been fully integrated into the Art department now.. Arty textiles for everyone!
Lovely new office – The relocation of classrooms etc. over the Summer was slightly more eventful than anticipated; opening the Art office in the first week of the holiday and finding that the fridge had leaked all over the carpet wasn’t really on the plan! however, like all things, there is usually a silver lining. After a lot of work, paint and throwing things away – we have a refurbished office (complete with sofas so that we actually have somewhere to sit and mark work now. The image above shows the before (on the right)and the completed job (on the left.)
Going Underground – I had a vision for the department to ensure that the KS3 students bought into their assessment process and new how to develop.. Those of you who have read my staffrm story on bradding will already know that I have a slight obsession with the London Underground – it is this that influenced the branding off the new assessment systems. The students seem to really understand the differentiated train lines and how they need to improve in order to change trains. The conversations with students aren’t just ‘what level am I Miss?’ – they are meaningful discussions about how they an improve.
Saying goodbye to Year 11 – For some teachers, you will read this and fully agree that waving off year 11 each summer is indeed a positive! .. For me it is a slightly more complicated one. This year I said goodbye to my first tutor group, the group of students that I had from their first day in year 7 and supported right through to their last day in June (I even spent most of my Easter holiday hand drawing/painting a version of each of them as their leaving present!-I know, sad!) They were literally like an extension of the family – and I often had ‘proud mum moments’ as well as the ‘disappointed mum chats’ in equal measure over the years! It really was lovely to see how much they had grown up and (in most cases) turned into mature, confident an independent people. The really lovely thing about it all though is that in September I was given a year 12 tutor group – I even have some off my old ‘kids’ back.. even if they didn’t say much as they left year 11, they have told me that they really appreciate having me back for their 6th form journey as I’m their school ‘Mum’ and they know I’ll sort them out!
5 Wishes for 2015
Be a good HOD - I know this may seem like a bit of a far fetched one…. However; I want to (try my best) to be a supportive, understanding, inspiring HOD who aims to drive the subject forward and uses the range of subject knowledge that I have to develop the way that art is perceived by the wider school community. It will be interesting to see how this one develops – I anticipate that this will always be on my ‘wish list’ from now on!
Embrace technology - this is a slightly complex one as it involves a range of different aspects of the job.. The ideal situation is to become more efficient with assessment, planning and teaching by using carefully selecting ICT systems. We have already streamlined the way that photography is taught in year 10 by using virtual portfolios.. The new iPad should hopefully go someway to help the quest for more efficient assessment (this extends to continuing to push for increased access to ICT for the students too!) ..looking forward to significantly less books to be carted home.
Accept that I can’t do everything – I am a self confessed perfectionist and this s a tough one.. I hope that this will be a simple way to relieve some of the build up and stress over the last term. It is difficult for me to admit defeat, but I need to be honest more often and tell people when I’m sinking. (Those of you who know me will understand how out of character it is for this one to be on the list.. Although, it’s an important one.. I am more than happy to admit that I can’t pretend to be superwoman anymore!)
MORE Art! – Even if it is just to add to the ever increasing mountain of WAGOLLs for work, I have really enjoyed the making and creative aspect of the job. I often tell my 6th form students that I never started out wanting to be a teacher.. I am a failed designer. The teaching thing just happened by accident. Not that it means I am any less dedicated to the job, it just means that I crave the creative, hands on making ‘thing’ …making working examples for the students helps me to keep creative without having that ‘teacher guilt’ thing that I’m wasting valuable planning/assessment time etc.
Complete the department blog – This is a personal target, I really really really think that it would not only be a HUGE asset to the current cohort of students but would be a really valuable resource for future students (not to mention the wider arty education community) too. The directory sections of my personal textiles blog have been the most visited by far, it is this type of resource that I want to create across the art endorsements…. Watch this space for a fully detailed, all singing and dancing art blog at: http://www.srpaartdepartment.wordpress.com soon.
…There are so many more wishes, although being more realistic with my time is something that has to be a priority in order for all the positive change to be sustainable…. It will be interesting to see if I manage it!