Bullying

Bullying

Bullying

Anti-bullying week is coming up in November, and it is something which we dedicate a large amount of time and effort to in schools, not just during that week but all year round. I was thinking this evening how strange it is that we are so tough on bullying among children, yet we have so many schools, businesses and offices in which bullying is endemic and even accepted. My first experience of teaching was a stressful and extremely difficult one, due to the nature of the head teacher.  She would routinely humiliate staff and she piled on the pressure to

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Gifts from the heart

Gifts from the heart

Teaching can be tough but, honestly, I think that working in education is the best job in the world!  Little notes like this one just brighten my day.  (And who doesn’t love a random treehouse?)

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Sweet dreams

Sweet dreams

When you’re so tired, and the weather is so bad, that all you can do is lay your head on the pillow and listen to Michael Morpurgo read extracts from his books! It doesn’t matter if you’re three, thirteen or thirty, a good story is a good story–and a good storyteller makes it all come alive. What do you read or listen to, when you need just a bit of comfort?

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We are one

We are one

I just wanted to share this illustration by Shinya Okayama with you.  I think it is charming and beautiful, and speaks of a simple compassion for all beings.

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Our final curtain call

Our final curtain call

Well, our production of Romeo and Juliet is over! It was a long day of rehearsals and waiting around at the theatre, but it was so worthwhile.  The children performed brilliantly and, I think, stunned the parents with what they were capable of. I am so proud of them. I am definitely looking forward to getting my teacher planning time back, along with my Wednesday evenings, but watching these kids grow in confidence and self-belief is what it’s all about.  As well as developing their enthusiasm for Shakespeare and the arts. They have achieved so much. I’m grateful to have

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Send that note

Send that note

I just received a message from my old head teacher–a man I really like personally, and admire so much as a leader–to wish me good luck for our Year 5 Shakespeare production tomorrow.  (You may recall that I have been directing a group of ten-year-olds in Romeo and Juliet for the past few months…) It was such a lovely surprise and so nice of him to remember and think to write.  It definitely gave me a boost ahead of the performance! Before I drift into unconsciousness, I just want to urge everyone to send that little message you’ve been thinking

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All eyes gaze on us

All eyes gaze on us

Our production date is almost upon us! On Wednesday, I will be taking seventeen Year 5 students (aged 10 and 11) to a local theatre to perform ‘Romeo and Juliet’ to their parents, teachers and two other primary schools.  This is part of the Shakespeare for Schools Festival, a wonderful organisation that trains teachers to become directors and allows children, even from the most deprived areas of the U.K., to perform a Shakespeare play in a professional theatre.  It is a magical experience for the children and I am really looking forward to seeing the fruits of their labour on

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Anyone can be a leader

Anyone can be a leader

Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a post about Donald Trump (there are enough of those in my Facebook news feed right now…) but the current climate has made me consider the role of leadership and the qualities that make a good leader.  I have also been influenced to make this post because of my own professional development and first forays into leadership within a school. I am a teacher and, whilst I didn’t begin my career having particular aspirations to lead–meaning that I wasn’t especially focused on ‘climbing the ladder’ and becoming an assistant head or even eventually

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For the quiet ones

For the quiet ones

When I was a child, I was told often, usually by well-meaning family members and teachers, how quiet I was.  How shy.  I wasn’t a particularly nervous child, and I never considered myself especially shy, but I was always content to spend time alone–I thoroughly enjoyed it, in fact–and I was taught to be polite and respectful from an early age.  Coupled with my natural, introspective tendencies and a good imagination, I probably was quieter than many of my peers, at least in a large social situation. I am a similar way now, although I am in no way shy

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Children need space too

Children need space too

Whilst I am a passionate advocate for education, I worry that we are overloading our children with information, and setting expectations that just rob these young minds of their love of learning. As a teacher, I know children who are constantly busy with extra-curricular activities–sports clubs, language exams in the evening, tutoring at weekends.  They spend six hours a day with us at school, expected to listen carefully and work hard, and some barely get a chance to breathe before heading off to another class. After-school clubs and hobbies are great, but giving a child space and silence is just

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