Review by Emma Mattinson-Hardy

9 Sep 2016, 5:00

Emma Mattinson-Hardy’s top blogs 6 September 2016

How was it for you?

Even after 11 years as a teacher I never slept before my first day back. My feelings were a mixture of impatience to meet my new class and begin all of the things I had planned, and nervousness about the latest initiative/hoop/change. As we face the year with increasing funding cuts and staff shortages, scares from chaotically planned assessment changes, and the possibility of further boycotts and industrial action, try to stay positive and remember that together we are stronger.

Tea, smiles and running away – advice for NQTs
Relational education

Teachers don’t seem to mix anymore. Many schools don’t have a staffroom, and if they do, it is remote and often doubles up as an “intervention room” for students. In every school there will be supportive and kind colleagues, you just need to find them.

“There will be so much going on and the to-do list will be long, but it is worth taking the 10 minutes or so at the end of the day to have a drink with someone. This is an amazing way to get to know those you’re working with, share funny stories of student interactions or share thoughts on your favourite Strictly contestant – it doesn’t particularly matter, just build those relationships. School life is hard, especially as you first adapt to it, and taking the time for laughter with one another can prove invaluable to getting through the next deluge of tasks.”

GCSE results – “you are not alone”

Most teachers will recognise the pre-exam results, stomach-churning anxiety described in this blog. “With the approach of GCSE results, every year, a sort of atavistic nausea grows in my stomach, catching me during a moment on the beach, in a nightmare or whilst playing with my kids,” this blogger says. She argues that we must make sure that teachers, pupils and parents never feel alone during this stressful time. Every year the same questions are asked about who is responsible for the results that children receive. Some say that teachers are just the “icing on the cake” and make little difference; others that teachers are the single most important factor. Whatever we think is the correct interpretation, it does nothing to change who is held responsible, and that is always the teacher.

Prevent duty created “suspicion” towards Muslims, UN says. And divisive Brexit rhetoric led to increase in hatred
Local Schools Network

Whether you supported or opposed Brexit, one thing is certain: the impact will be felt in schools. In many ways schools are a microclimate for the society they are in; perhaps that is why some people support selection/private schooling, which is ultimately social segregation. This blog argues that Prevent has failed. “The Prevent duty which requires public authorities such as schools to have ‘due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism’ has created ‘an atmosphere of suspicion towards members of Muslim communities’,” says the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.”
Never has it been more important to emphasise #moreincommon The committee was “seriously concerned” about the “sharp increase” in reported incidents of racist hate crimes and speech before and after the referendum. It was also “deeply concerned” by the “divisive, anti-immigrant and xenophobic rhetoric” that many politicians used to whip up prejudice and fear.

10 ways emotions influence learning (and vice versa)

All too often the argument appears about whether teachers should make their lessons interesting. “Boredom can result in a sensation resembling physical pain or depression, impacting behaviour and attention, but can also enhance creativity,” says this blog.
“Being happy doesn’t necessarily lead to higher academic achievement, and can actually inhibit certain cognitive functions.
“We understand more about how emotions impact learning and cognition than ever, yet we often retain a very narrow understanding of what we mean by emotions, especially in learning environments.”

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