U is also for …. uniform

ULove it or hate it, if you go to school you have to wear a uniform. Interestingly, my younger pupils think you should be able to wear whatever you want to school, and my older ones think uniform is a good idea.

No matter what you think, uniforms have a purpose. They help to identify you, and this is important for adults too. How would you recognise a policeman if they didn’t wear a uniform?

They also put you into the right frame of mind for the job you are about to do: think about people in the forces. Do you think they would be as focused and efficient if they were allowed to wear ripped jeans and band t-shirts in training?

And rightly or wrongly, how you dress affects how other people see you. If you were about to have an operation, would you prefer your surgeon to be in calming green surgical scrubs and sensible shoes, or teetering about on sky-high heels and dropping sequins and glitter in their wake?

So even if you hate your school uniform, wear it smartly at school and change into your own choice of clothes when you get home. It will stand you in good stead for the rest of your working life.

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O is also for…. Opportunities

o is forYou’ll get lots of opportunities at school to do things outside of lessons. There will be art clubs, and language clubs, music lessons, debating societies, chess clubs….and a whole lot of other things.

Last year I spoke to some Year 5 children who went along to a school lunchtime club part way through the year, just because their friend who went had been nagging them to try. They hadn’t started at the beginning of the year because they thought it would be boring. When they got there, they loved it and they kept going to the end of the school year. They said that they really wish they had started going as soon as the club started, and that in future they’d try as many clubs as possible to see whether they enjoyed them.

That sounds like a good idea to me. My advice would be to take all of the opportunities you can, while you can, because once you leave school it becomes harder to find those opportunities. Try everything, even if you think you won’t like it, because you never know when you might discover a new interest or talent.

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Manic Monday

Manic Monday. Think The Bangles had it right there – Mondays are definitely my most manic day of the week at the moment.

They start too early when the alarm goes off on one side, and my husband shakes me on the other to make sure I don’t ignore the alarm! Then it’s up, showered, dressed, breakfast if I have time and out the door.  I get to school, which is in south Birmingham, just in time to check my emails and then over to my House (the House is like a before school social event for the children) to accompany the pupils to chapel.

After chapel, lessons start, but I can’t get into my classroom straight away because it is someone else’s form room so I have to wait until the children have been registered and dismissed. By this time I can enter my first class is already lining up outside so I have to welcome them into the classroom, grab the books from the cupboard to be given out and log on to the computer at the same time.

I have three lessons back to back with three different year groups and two different languages. At last it’s break time, but that’s not a chance to catch my breath – that’s time to pick up pen and paper and head over to the main building for a staff meeting.

Lunchtimes on a Monday are a rush too – shorter for me on Mondays than on the other days of the week because I teach infants straight after their lunch on a Monday, but theirs begins earlier than ours so their lessons start half an hour earlier in the afternoon.

Thankfully I have a free period at the end of the day so I can begin marking, but straight after work I head back to north Birmingham to begin my other job as a private tutor – I don’t even have time to go home first.  Two hours of tutoring later and I’m off to my adult education class. By the time I get there the class is well under way so I offer my apologies and take my seat.

Thirteen and a half hours after leaving my home, I walk back through my front door. Just time to think about an evening meal, washing up and feeding my pets before collapsing into bed.

Thank goodness Mondays only happen once a week!

To find out more about my work, visit my website www.sjbteaching.com.