Sunday, July 19, 2009

36 hours

For the past 36 hours my head has been in danger of exploding. My school in England closed for the summer, I have said goodbye, and there is so much to process.

I won't deny that I have found it tough, arriving in January to pick up the pieces after two teachers that left before me and attempting to hit the ground running. There were times when I thought that I wasn't going to make it. But I have.

I can't claim to have made any sizeable difference though, or to feel anything close to the sense of satisfaction and completion that I experienced after leaving my school in Australia after five years in 2008. I know that I have only been teaching over here for a short time, and I'm sure that if I stayed for another year it would get a lot easier, although I'm not sure that I would want it to. This isn't an education system that I have any desire to 'get used to'. Even if there have been recent signs of the UK learning from the past. The decision at the beginning of this year to do away with the Year 9 SATs is one, and the recent reports in the media about government plans to return some autonomy to schools and local districts is another. But I am looking forward to getting back to teaching the Victorian curriculum with its emphasis on multimodality and metacognition, where creativity and deep thinking aren't sidelined by 'the basics'. Not that it is this simple- I know full well that curriculum documentation is only a small part of the conversation in a learning environment full of diverse students and teachers. But at least without the constant oversight, the threat of Ofsted inspectors and heavily regulated teacher performance system, they at least have a fighting chance.

There have been numerous times this year when I have stopped and thought to myself, 'oh, where is that learning focus gone?' or 'why are the processes of reading and writing treated so seperately over here?' I guess the fact that I have had the opportunity to ask these questions, to realise what it is possible to lose from our curriculum back home is worthwhile enough, particularly as we continue to march forwards towards a National Curriculum. My experiences here will certainly colour my perceptions and contributions to this ongoing debate when I arrive home.

For now, I am going to attempt to 'let go' and enjoy the rest of my travels before I head home and have to figure out what I am going to do with myself in 2010.