Well, the first full timetable cycle is over and schools is well and truly back. It’s always a challenge coming back after the long summer break and, in Australia, the return to school time often coincides with the hottest part of the summer and not the ideal environment to begin working with eager young minds.
This year, the dry heat has stayed away but it’s been sticky and unusually humid in Melbourne; hot, overcast afternoons getting stickier and stickier until it breaks into loud thunderstorms and tropical-like rain for an hour or so. All very odd! And it might explain that teachers and students looked a bit tired after that first cycle, getting out of the holiday routine and back into a timetabled structure that includes lots of new interactions. I was thinking about the Year 7 students especially, coming out of primary school into a new school and multiple new relationships with teachers and students. Tiring stuff, though, ironically, they seem to have the most energy of all. I’ve begun to know my new Year 12 class, and we’ve had some good discussions, but we haven’t really ‘bonded’ yet. I don’t know them well enough and they’re still mostly treading warily, not wanting to make too many mistakes too early in the year.
Teaching’s an odd profession. I speak to lots of people during the day, students and teachers. So many that, when I first get home, I often want some quiet time, a ride on the bike, or a walk down to the river, or a good read of the paper. But funnily enough, one of the most positive things for me in the first fortnight was getting together again with a network of teachers who meet two or three times a term for breakfast and to discuss and reflect on the craft and art of teaching. I never like getting up early, but this meeting is always worth it. I came back to work from that breakfast meeting, all energised, and ready to leave the summer behind.
Top: Mornington Beach, January 2011, Photo: Warrick