On a grey and damp Norfolk morning, I'm pausing before starting a big writing job to reflect on my first term back in the classroom after 5 years out working for the Geographical Association, and then as a freelance Geographer.
It's been a fascinating term, which started in late August, with a whole set of new teaching groups to meet and get to know, and whole new school routines and structures for assessment, reporting, pastoral support, examinations, information management, coffee and biscuits, CPD and meetings and where to sit for lunch.
The school is a 50-60 minute drive each morning, which in the winter months has meant mostly in darkness, but also with amazing sunrises, dense fog and detours to villages I've never visited before. I've refined and adapted my route over the weeks to find the most efficient one. As always, I get in early on the days that I teach, to get prepared for the day. It helps having a decent coffee machine down the corridor.
I've changed as a teacher from my first time through as I'm coming to it 'fresh' and also with the knowledge and experience of my time out. I've got a new group of colleagues with a range of experiences and skills, and have been very fortunate to join a department which holds the GA's Secondary Geography Quality Mark, and which is now a Centre of Excellence too... This is very well deserved and is the result of very hard work and some really creative and imaginative schemes of work.
The school's 3 aims for its learners are: Courage, Energy and Integrity, and we aim to develop those characteristics in the students, through some inventive and creative pedagogy grounded in subject knowledge and enquiry learning.
Big thanks to my colleagues, and to the students who've generously involved me in their community. I'm enjoying the 'rest' at the moment, and looking forward to three new units to teach for the first time from January.
Thanks to the 6000+ viewers of my relatively new teaching blog.
Read all about my teaching and grab some resources and ideas over on Geography Teacher 2.0
Image: Alan Parkinson - Scan from the Ely News...