04/05/2015

What's another year?

Eurovision

It's at this time of the year that all thoughts start to turn to the Eurovision Song Contest.

(Well, that's not strictly true, but I needed an intro!)

I do remember this one from 1980, though (again, not completely true, but now in need a of a witty link...)

Jonny Logan. 'What's Another Year?' He went on incidentally to win it again in a unique double for Ireland with the equally memorable 'Hold Me Now' in 1987!

Jonny Logan Eurovision 

What, indeed, is another year?

I hear a chorus of 'its pretty obvious, isn't it, you fool - 365 days!?'

But what does another year in education really mean?

At one level, those of us in schools live in a remarkably stable world. Rather like the old agrarian cycle of sowing and reaping, we prepare and then examine our students on an annual basis. All very predictable. Samey.

Might be the same for us teachers, but not of course, our students. We've 'seen it all before', been there, done it and got the t-shirt. 'I survived the exam season... Again'.

It's therefore imperative that we remember that's not the same for our students - and their parents. And that we therefore always offer afresh the rounded support - academic, emotional and physical - that they need. I refer to the latter not simply in terms of the importance of staying healthy and physically active throughout the exam season, but also in relation to the sheer effort of writing for extended periods of time. Those of my generation have the callouses to prove it; the proud scars of so many 'terminal' three hour written examinations!

Handwriting

Children don't physically write for extended periods any more, do they? In the age of the touchscreen they simply don't have the stamina. Unless, like the athlete preparing for their competitive peak, they train for it. And you wouldn't prepare for a marathon without going out for plenty of long runs before it.

Marathon runner

At every other level, the world of British education is one of contrast flux, whether it be the latest changes to the Ofsted Inspection Framework or how we are required to assess students' progress and their knowledge. A week might be a long time in politics. You want to try teaching!

That's why a relentless and consistent focus on values, learning and welfare are essential as we prepare our young people for years - let alone a single year - of change.

And lastly some context for change. And the pressures that it exerts on us.

This is the blog I wrote over the Bank Holiday weekend this time last year...

www.parkhouseschool.org/Blog/Making-the-most-of-a-special-Bank-Holiday-Weekend.aspx

It was written from Erbil, Northern Iraq.

It celebrated all that was being achieved as part of the education reconstruction partnership programme there.

Erbil Education Northern Iraq

That work, and the brilliant progress being made by teachers and students has and will continue - despite a subsequent year of change and upheaval that none of us could possibly have anticipated or can possibly imagine.

Erbil Education Northern Iraq

Perspective.

What's another year?

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