So the new school year has begun here in Melbourne and I have to say, on reflection, that I have enjoyed the first week very much indeed. I attribute this to a few factors:
1.The weather has been kind. Usually February throws some oppressively hot spells our way here in Australia and we are as often as not dealing with extreme heat while acclimatising to new timetables, students and courses. This is the first year I can remember where the temperature has been mild enough to ignore fans and Air conditioners and simply open a window if the need arises. It amazes me just how much easier that has made the start for all concerned.
2.A new era has begun for me with my eldest starting High school … at my school. Actually, I suspect it will soon cease to be ‘my school’ as I can see he’s going to make it ‘his’ very quickly. I suppose I’ve put off thinking about this until the day finally came. Now that it has, it’s brought back a surprising number of memories of my own year 7 experience of entering the high school where my Dad taught. In both instances the father has been based in the senior campus so the son has some time to enjoy finally being a student at the school he’s been exploring for most of his childhood while avoiding awkward Dad/Sir moments. He’s loved it so far and I’m not even going to try and hide my enjoyment of seeing him and his group join the College. It’s a wonderful thing.
3.There’s an energizing collegiality amongst the staff I work with. Many are old friends while some are very welcome additions. In fact, amongst the newbies are a few ex-students whom I once taught. Couple this with the lessons I’ve learnt personally over the last few years and I’m very much in a ‘bring it on’ state of mind.
So it has been smiles all round and, interestingly, it was with a smile on my face that I was reminded of the old adage “Don’t smile ‘till Easter”. This was a mantra most subscribed to when I first started in the biz. It’s the slogan of those teachers who fear showing any friendliness or enjoyment in class will be pounced upon by malicious little brats as a sign of weakness and exploited mercilessly.
Utterly ridiculous really and thankfully it seems to have been discarded by everyone I work with. While there hasn’t been anything I’ve heard that has replaced it exactly, there’s a consistency in the advice I’ve heard given to new teachers that sounds something like ‘you be you and trust in the system when the need arises.’
Anyway even if, against all probability, every child in your class is a terror, well there’s nothing quite as unnervinging as an authority figure who stands there quietly with a knowing smile.
Ok folks. 2015’s begun. Let’s roll!