On the eve of a new adventure a strange sort of calm often descends; a calm punctuated by the butterflies of excitement, of seas yet to be sailed and lands yet to be explored.
As we await the arrival of our new cohort of beginning History teachers for 2018/19 I too feel that sense of excitement at the possibilities ahead. I’m sure that as they ‘pack their bags’ and prepare for their first subject methods session on Monday, they too will be feeling the butterflies and sense of expectation. And they do have so much to look forward to.
Teaching is an honourable profession, one which can shape and unlock potential and allow young people to discover who they are and where their intellectual passions lie. One of my favourite conversations with our beginning teachers is about their own teachers who inspired them and have left a lasting impression. Invariably during these conversations, a wide smile will break out upon their face as they recall a specific lesson, a teaching style, a mannerism. Underpinning these recollections is always a reference to how the teacher in question ‘really seemed to care that I did well’. A good teacher really does leave a mark that lasts a lifetime. Each of our beginning teachers will have this same opportunity and honour of making a lasting and positive impact upon the lives of their pupils.
My hope for 2018/19 is that this new cohort of teachers make those important connections with their pupils, viewing each one as an individual, and understanding that learning is about more than teaching. Above all I hope that this year when the going is tough, and they feel like they are in the midst of the storm, they won’t forget what brought them to this point and the idealistic values they currently hold. By the time June comes around they will be fed up of me saying ‘don’t forget the History’, and yet this is the heart of their new adventure; if they succeed in keeping the History at the centre and harness their own passion for the subject, then they will be well on their journey to inspire and engage and excite the young people they are fortunate enough to teach.
And so, for now, I enjoy the calm and the butterflies as I await their arrival. I look forward to the relationships we are about to forge and the impact we as a team might have upon our students for the year.