What a week! (Although, strictly speaking, it was now last week because although I started this on Sunday, I was too busy catching up with myself and bone weary from it all to finish!) Isn’t it amazing what can happen in just one week? Most are predictable and fly by, and then just occasionally it is all complete unexpected and you look back to what feels like a much longer period of time. Doctorwhofan98 is off to Normandy with the school orchestra next month, and I have tried explaining to him that this is how that special week will feel like (in a good way), but he is too caught up in all the exams and assessments he has to get through first, before he goes. (Perhaps I could go instead – they’d never notice the change of gender, size, lack of musical talent, etc and then I could get to see the Bayeux Tapestry!)
Anyway, last weekend I was looking forward to a lighter work load than usual – school was closed on the Monday for the teachers to have time to write the end of year reports. (A job that actually takes about one hour per pupil for the four page document, so thirty plus hours!) Did I say a lighter week? My reports were already finished from a month of using my ‘spare’ time wisely – I work badly under pressure near to deadlines! So the day was shaping up to be one of my favourite in the year – walk son number two to school, make chilli for his birthday the following day, do some tie-dyeing as well as clean… potter and be the housewife I don’t have time to be in my normal existence. But the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. The route to school was through woods and fields. Pollen, pollen and more POLLEN. Son’s treatment for hay fever was not up to it, and I had to go back to school with his eye-drops at lunchtime and ended up collecting him from school early as well. All from being a kind parent and not sending him off to pre-school childcare that day! After the mid-day trip to his school, I checked emails and there it was: the OFSTED phone call had been received at my school. Dread. Any teachers amongst you will know that stomach-dropping moment. And there the day transformed as if the sun had been replaced by storm clouds. Polishing up of lesson plans that had already been done for the week. Plans from scratch for lessons I don’t usually teach. Resources to make to try to ensure everything perfectly ready for every moment of the two-day visit. Son’s green gunking eyes got eye drops but no TLC, although that still meant I could not rush in to school as we were being asked to, to tidy up and prepare there.
Tuesday was a long day, with staff queued up by the gates at 7am, waiting for them to open, and a seriously annoyed caretaker at the other end of the day, who didn’t get to close up until gone seven in the evening. (And poor son number 2 had had to open his birthday presents on the Monday night, before the OFSTED storm really hit!)
Wednesday was tough – little time to get anything ready with meetings and interviews as well as observations. My student had his final observation of his placement by his tutor and I was observed for maths, both of which went really well. Neither of the special lessons I did on the afternoon, when I don’t usually teach, were seen, although I was happy with them.
Thursday we knew we were nearly there, as the inspectors tend to huddle away in the afternoon to write their report and there were two of them around instead of Wednesday’s three. I was observed teaching phonics and straight through into the literacy lesson. My work was rated well, which was a relief after what one of the boys wiped down one of the girls jumper in front of the lead inspector. Frustratingly, my overall score was lowered by the poor work of my support colleague, who has had so much training and support this year to try and break her out of her slow monotone delivery that I am at a loss as for what to do.
And it was over. 4:20 so the outcome and it was a universal ‘Good’. Thank God.
And now we have a staff that walk around like exhausted zombies and are counting down to the end of term, even though that is another 3 and a half weeks. How does this benefit the children?! But it will be a while before the next call, so we get back to all the good work, and considering that two cycles ago, the school was in special measures having failed, and last time they got out of those special measure with a ‘satisfactory’, the ‘good’ this time could even become an ‘outstanding’ if we work for it. Quite an achievement when looked at like that.
As was all the husband did, from altering his own work patterns with the blessing of his boss, so he could work from home and ensure all got fed and watered here. What a star!