It’s an unbelievable eighteen years since I first walked into a classroom as a newly-minted teacher. Here’s what I’m looking forward to in 2016/17 – and what I’m looking forward to a little less!

Looking forward to:

  • My students. I love the interaction that is at the heart of effective teaching, and I’m looking forward to continuing my journey with my 2nd, 3rd and 6th Year classes, meeting new students in 1st and 5th Year, and exploring different territory with my TY classes.
  • My colleagues. I’ve worked with some of these people since my first day as a teacher, and am lucky enough to work in a supportive, collegial environment. That interaction is vital too!
  • Routine… I actually enjoy the routine of the teaching day, with class changes every forty minutes, or eighty if it’s a double – there’s no danger of monotony!
  • New experiences. I’ll be continuing my work on the Instructional Leadership Programme, and I’m looking forward to putting new ideas into practice and learning new tactics, skills and strategies to improve the effectiveness of my classroom.

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Not looking forward to so much…

  • Another year of industrial action and uncertainty, especially in relation to the new Junior Cycle programme. I can see all sides of the argument, but at the chalkface, I just want to know what I need to prepare my students for. I’d like some proper training too!
  • Tiredness. Much as I love teaching, it’s an exhausting job and you can never really switch off.
  • Marking. The hazard of the English teacher – we now use many different methods of assessment, but there is no escaping the fact that our 5th and 6th Year students need to practice those looooooooooong exam questions…
  • FOMO… After a summer of pretty much unfettered access to social media, how will I survive on a limited diet??? And what will I miss out on???
  • The need to be organised… All those lunches to be planned (and actually put into my bag each day rather than left on the worktop at home!), my run to be fitted in to the daily schedule, a life to be lived after school… I feel a headache coming on already!!!

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They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger… bring it on!!!