If I were to describe 2015 for me, 'odd' would be one word I would consider to sum it up. Both personally and professionally it has been a strange year. Rather than reflect on 15 things and look forward to 16 (as I did in my 13/14 and 14/15 nurture posts), I am simply going to suggest how some 'odd' things from the past year could be smoothed out to be 'even'. After all, my main aim for this blog is for it to be solution driven.
So the government abolished levels. It sounded like a brilliant idea. We all knew the flaws with the system and how far from what it was designed for it had become. The powers that be decided to replace it with...well...nothing. Nowadays schools are doing different things. From conversations with colleagues in schools around the country this year, it would appear there is very little cohesion. Even places using the same assessment system are using it in a variety of ways and coming to different judgments. Most schools in our locality are using Target Tracker and deciding to click objectives for each child. This process potentially requires up to 8,000 double-clicks for one year four class.
It feels like we have gone from one ridiculous time to another. My biggest problem with assessment at the moment is that I cannot see a logical, practical solution. We are being forced into a position where children are spending so much time proving they can do the objectives that we are losing valuable teaching time. And, of course, our pay is dependent upon these confused assessments. Assessment has caused much frustration for me this year and, although I can't see a solution for the time being and don't have a huge amount of faith in the system, I live in hope that a Eureka moment will come this year and that things will start falling into place for assessment without levels. We shall see...
After ending up at the doctor's in the summer, I decided to take some deliberate actions to improve my well-being. This, along with a new cohort, has made a massive difference and the Autumn term was much easier than previous ones. You can read more about what I changed here and I will try to update this at the end of the school year. I will continue to try to put life first so hopefully this coming year will be more normal than the last one.
I was reminded recently by a teaching friend of the importance of looking after our health. He explained how he put off a visit to the doctor because he felt his job was more important. His message prompted me to get those little niggles that we often ignore checked out so that we are healthy. After all, our classes need us to be fighting fit so that we can give them the best of our time during the school day. So my aim for this year is to get some things checked out which I have ignored in the past.
The aim, when starting up TeachMeet Sussex, was to have an event each term. However, due to this year being so odd, we have only managed to have one event in 2015. Plans are underway for 2016 already, with the first TeachMeet being on Thursday 25th February in Worthing. There are schools lined up to host in the Summer and Autumn term as well so hopefully this year can bring some continuity for these important and inspiring events.