Collecting Smiles



It’s been a rotten week in education. Just as we hit the all-important exam season, we’ve been hit by the news that, no matter how hard we try, we’re all going to become academies anyway. Nicky Morgan implied that we are all a bit rubbish and that our training clearly hadn’t been robust enough in a White Paper that, to be honest, I haven’t had the time to digest because I’ve been working my butt off, attempting to make sure that a group of 16 year olds get the best grades they can in an exam, in a frighteningly few weeks.


I cried last night. I felt exhausted and beaten down. But trying to be positive, and to remind myself why I keep doing the job I do, day in and day out, I’ve spent the last 24 hours picking out the things that have made me smile; the things that mean I keep going and why I continue to do the job I do. So here goes…



8.40-9.40 – Year 9

Introduction to Dystopian Fiction, we learnt the words, dystopia and utopia; we discussed the conventions of dystopian fiction and students excitedly related it all to their own reading and prior knowledge – “Miss, I think I’m going to enjoy doing this” – SMILE

9.40-10.40 – Year 9

Looking at setting in the Hunger Games – “Miss, it’s all fake. Everything in the Capitol is about image, and it’s not real. It’s like they are pretending it is a utopia, when really maybe the people that live there aren’t really that happy because they’re so worried about how they look” – SMILE

10.40-11.00 – Break

Student collecting coursework draft – “Thanks for looking at it Miss” – SMILE

11.00-12.00 – Year 12 Resit

They’ve nearly finished their coursework – SMILE

12.00 – 1.00 – Once a week year 11

This one is less smiley…However, I amused myself when a student attempting to push my buttons said they were going to use Siri to find out the answers, to which I replied that I was more intelligent than Siri, “no way are you” he retorted. “At teaching you the English GCSE I am,” I replied – Boom! SMILE

1.00-1.25 – Form

Naughty student showed me his report; he’d had a good lesson in the one his behaviour has been less than great in –I hugged him,  we both had a SMILE

1.25-2.00 – Lunch

Looked at the results of year 7s reading tests. Lots have made excellent progress – SMILE

2.00-3.05 – year 7

Trainee taking the lesson. It was a good lesson, really pleased with their progress – SMILE

3.05-4.10 – year 11 coursework

Time with some year 11s who I had signed out of detention to improve coursework. They are one of the most difficult classes I’ve ever taught; 36 hours of English lessons missed through exclusion since September. They test my patience. I’m feeling utterly exhausted after a long day of teaching but they feed me chocolate, make me laugh and most importantly, hand me a new, improved version of their coursework. They finally leave when one says, “Miss has got a parents evening, let’s let her go innit”- SMILE


4.30-7.30 – Year 7 Parents Evening

I like a Parent’s Evening; I actually really enjoy meeting and chatting with parents. One thanks me for helping her son, as he is has made excellent progress with his reading – SMILE

I cry when I get home; it’s been a long day and I’m someone who soaks up the negativity from the world around me. Yet more, schools need to change, teachers aren’t good enough. For someone who has a natural propensity to feel like they’re not good enough, things are feeling a bit tough at the moment. I decide that marking would be ridiculous tonight and just make sure tomorrow’s lessons are planned. Sleep will make it better



It’s Friday. Feeling tired and a bit subdued, but there are some amazing people in the world and there’s some lovely morning messages in my inbox. Sent some happy Friday messages, some replied, some didn’t but hopefully it makes some people’s day. I know the little thoughts make mine – SMILE

I arrive at work find a note on my desk from my trainee, who is in college on Fridays – SMILE


Someone has brought in Creme eggs. Early morning chocolate – SMILE

8.40- 9.40

Year 10 are on work experience, so a rare Friday free lesson. Go through more coursework drafts for year 11; they’re nearly there – SMILE

9.40-10.40 – year 11

Remind them again they have until Tuesday to get me in their final coursework pieces. We talk about the fact that they only have 3 weeks after Easter until the exam. The most vocal and often excuded member of the class looks over at the class and says, “right everyone, we need to shut up and get our heads down” – SMILE

10.40-11.00 – Break

Go through some coursework improvements with year 11, they’ll email me over the weekend with the final drafts they want me to look at. – SMILE


Another free lesson as year 10 are on work experience. Normally I teach all day Wednesday, Thursday and Friday so use the time to catch up with marking their Romeo and Juliet answers so I can feedback to them on Monday and we can look at how we can improve further – SMILE

12.00-1.00 – Year 8 Accelerated Reader

I only see this class once a week. Off to a computer room to test and see if their reading has improves over the last few months. They take the test very seriously and show some amazing improvements in reading age- SMILE

1.00-1.25 – Form

My Portuguese tutee, who wouldn’t boo to a goose a year ago, cracked a really funny joke – BIG SMILE


I actually sat down for lunch – SMILE


We carried on with our discussion on so utopia/dystopia in the Hunger Games and students wrote some interesting paragraphs contrasting settings and related their ideas to the conventions of dystopian fiction. Really challenging them – SMILE

Home early – it is Friday! – SMILE


So amongst the week of slamming education and those who work in it; hidden among the sense of foreboding and worry about what the future might hold there were lots of things that made me smile and look at where those things came from….the job that I trained hard for, the job I love for the 6 hours I day I spend in the classroom, with the people who matter, the people who make me laugh and smile. I needed to remind myself of that for a bit this week; it’s not the kid’s fault – they need and want to be educated. I just truly hope that at some point, amongst all the White Papers and announcements and GCSE changes, I am at some point given the time to do it properly, so I’m able to stay spending my days with wonderful beings that create a hell of a lot of smiles.


‘Never stop smiling not even when you’re sad, someone might fall in love with your smile.’
Gabriel Garcia Marquez

These Twitter people made me smile this week and for that, I thank you dearly. I am glad to count some of you as real and supportive friends:




















Thank you, you all made me smile at some point, and I remembered.

There are others, who for various reasons are not on this list, but they made me smile nonetheless and are not forgotten. You know who you are.











  1. Arithma-ticks · March 20, 2016

    This was lovely, I’m going to do this this week. I’m so exhausted and cannot wait for Thursday at 3.10. But I need to do something like this to get me to there!


    • Becky · March 20, 2016

      Do it! Honestly, it will make you feel better and it’s surprisingly how much you realise you enjoy. Have a brilliant week 😘Xxx


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