So….by now most schools in England will have seen some children by now. I know our colleagues in the other parts of the UK have had them in for a while.
The title refers to ‘That Was The Week That Was’ which was a weekly TV programme with a satirical look at the news. The question is – How was it for you?
It made me think about my various ‘first’ weeks. As a newly qualified teacher, I had spent quite a bit of my holidays decorating my room with posters and charts. Colleagues were quite surprised because my first job was in a secondary school and it was at a time when a creative environment was not high on the list. Classrooms were quite bare & clinical.
My first day was a mixture of highs & lows. The first couple of lessons went ok but then I had a class that romped through the work I’d set! Only having a matter of a few hours experience, ‘making it up as I go along’ was not really possible. I’d love to know what those students thought. I don’t think they were too badly behaved but I after that, I always made sure I had something in my bag ‘just in case’!
One memorable first day of the year was the start of my second headship. The school was situated in a deprived area so it had lots of challenges. From the comments of the staff at the previous days in-set, one of the biggest was a group of parents nicknamed ‘The Coven’! I dressed accordingly – black suit, white blouse and heeled shoes. Now it had been a wonderful summer so my feet had not seen shoes for months. As for putting them into heels….!!!
My approach in new situations is often to try and find a deflection. I went onto the playground and headed for the children commenting on their new uniforms, their big school bags and asking if their tummies were as wobbly as mine was. I managed to get through the beginning of the day without any run- ins with you-know-who but of course I still had the end of the day to get through which would include lots of chatting parents and questions.
By the end of the day I had removed my jacket. My feet were really aching so I went onto the playground and grabbed a bit of wall to sit on. Little did I know that this was the ‘meeting point’ for THEM! Gradually they joined me asking how the day had gone. They took the opportunity to tell me some of their views of my predecessor (none of which were complimentary I might add!) describing various shouting matches they had had. It is always difficult in those situations to regain the control so I just told them that my door was always open; that I always had a cup of tea or coffee available; that tissues could always be found but that if they shouted at me, I would cry!
Somehow, that bit of sharing did the trick and although we did have our challenges, they never did raise their voices!
So…. that was a couple of my ‘first’ days. How was yours? If you are a newly qualified teacher was it as you thought it would be? I expect you are extremely tired! If you are a head teacher, how does your school feel at the end of the first week? If you are parents, how have your children settled in and what have you done with the time you now have?