This was too long to write as a tweet…140 characters is never enough to enthuse about something, but just bear with me.
I’ve had a tough old timetable this year, a timetable that for staffing reasons, changed from the original and meant that I had 4 GCSE classes. Not that I mind; I live and breathe GCSE and teaching the new specs gave me something to get my teeth into, to constantly have to reflect and adapt and consider the best next move. It also gave me an opportunity to do a spot of research, something that got the old brain whirring again. And to be honest, who doesn’t love rooms full of opinionated 15 year olds? However, it has been hard work, and this isn’t about me, but the wonderful people who have kept me going this year.
First of all, running @Team_English1 with @NooPuddles has been utterly wonderful. In a year we have accumulated nearly 9000 followers, meaning we have nearly 9000 people sharing ideas, resources and just generally supporting each other. Never has this been more needed that in the first years of massive changes at KS4 and KS5. Between all of us, we have dropboxes full of thousands of resources covering anything and everything. Every day I wake up to tweets every day from people asking for help and from those that have stepped in and supported them. A trawl through our followers gives a snapshot of what education is all about: trainee teachers, NQTs, RQTs, teachers that have been teaching for years, Teachers in Further Education, Heads of Department, Assistant Heads, Deputy Heads, Headteachers from both Primary and Secondary, Teacher Training accounts and exam boards. The account has been mentioned in school CPD sessions, exam board training sessions and government meetings. We have had messages from people saying that they had been ready to quit teaching, but they had found us and felt revitalised again. That’s pretty special.
And all of this is down to you all, people that interact with us every day, to all of you that understand that the greatest thing that you can do as a teacher is step out of the comfort zone of your institution and look at how others do things. You are people that are constantly reflecting and improving, and are as up-to-date with research, ideas and resources as anyone can be. Because in the end it will make you a better teacher, because we are the brain power of many, and as you collapse onto your sofa with your end of year drinks, pat yourselves on the back, and realise what a fantastic community we have made between us. So thank you on behalf of Nikki and I for going with us on this crazy journey with us, a journey that looks ready to lead into exciting things; @Team_English1 and #teamenglish is a force to be reckoned with.
Last year I said personal thank you’s to so many people. This year I think that there are too many to mention. I love you all, and so many have helped and supported me this year, I just can’t possibly highlight everyone, you are just all wonderful human beings.
But there are a few that I want to mention personally….
@Xris32 @mr_englishteach @DoWise and @HuntingEnglish are absolute bastions of the English teacher blogging world. Every single blog they write, gets me thinking, gives me practical ideas that I can go and try the very next day in my classroom and their subject knowledge is second to none. Not only that but they are all jolly nice blokes, who give up time and energy to support and advise. Hats off to you gentlemen.
@dutaut is one of the kindest, intelligent men that you could ever have the pleasure to meet. He is one of the most beautiful writers you will ever come across and his sensitivity and humble nature inspires me more than he can ever know. This year he got me to read The Manual of The Warrior of Light by Paulo Coelho. It was needed just at that moment….like he had sensitive super-powers or something. So thank you JL.
Twitter is an odd thing, and edu-twitter can be both a wonderful and negative place to be in equal measure. But I have had the fortune to interact with some amazing people who support and guide in equal measure. Where else really, can you be mentored and advised by HoDs, SLT and Headteachers from across the country? People who are impartial, but have your best interests at heart and just want to help you get that little bit further. Some people don’t understand why I would bother with Twitter, but that is why I stay; there is nowhere else that you could get that.
So to my final thank you…I have had the utter pleasure to meet some amazing friends via Twitter, people who I talk to every day….and I mean, every day. I talk to them more than members of my own family. They have kept me going more than they will ever know. During this exam marking season these people have kept me sane and supported. They make me laugh and smile and hold one another up when it is needed. Ideas suddenly become resources, bad days are made better. We have had tears, tantrums, job interviews, meltdowns, a lot of exam marking and even a labour…yep. So, a public thanks to my wonderful friends: @MrsSpalding @NooPuddles @evenbetterif @TLPMsF @MsMaster13 @Xris32 @Cornishwelsh @ladybarkbark
So we’ve done another year. Well done everyone, ‘cos this was a tough one! Across the country teachers await exam results with trepidation, but for now, relax, raise a glass and get some breath back…we’re going to need it.