Back to the Classroom!
With another birthday safely negotiated last week it may be that I was looking to revisit previous experiences from my younger years or it may be that I just wasn’t looking at all and walked into it, but when the opportunity presented itself to teach some Shakespeare to Year 11 during the class teacher’s paternity leave I just couldn’t resist. The first period of my brief return to the role of classroom teacher took place this morning and, whilst it should be the students from whom a verdict is sought, I just loved it. How could anyone resist reading the banquet scene from “Macbeth” followed by the one in which he revisits the witches to learn what fate awaits him?
The debate regarding whether or not headteachers should teach is one that has no clear resolution. In a teaching career that has seen me teach English, Games, RS, Lifeskills and even Science (once), during my early years of headship I continued with GCSE English and even introduced and taught “A”Level Sociology for two years. I stopped being timetabled for regular teaching when it became apparent that my other commitments were taking me out of the classroom on too regular a basis, making it unfair on both the students and the staff who had to cover for me. I cannot even deliver tomorrow’s Year 11 lesson as I am already committed to attendance at a conference in Ashford!
Whilst my extremely brief return to the classroom is something I have looked forward to and intend to enjoy to the full, I am under no illusions regarding the reality of being a full time classroom teacher. The task of performing at the peak of one’s form 4 times a day to large groups of children, who may not always provide the most sympathetic of audiences, is a challenge of the highest order, quite apart from the preparation, marking and everything else that goes with the role. The success of schools is built upon what takes place within the classroom and nearly everything else is in place simply to support this activity. Whatever pleasure I derive from my temporary, part time attachment to the English Department, the real pleasure of my job is in working with such a skilled and motivated team of classroom teachers, for it is they who make the difference to children’s lives day after day, not just for a couple of hours a few times a year.