Weekly Reflection: Inertia

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My knowledge of physics ends at barely scraping through a pass in high school. However over the last week I’ve been thinking a lot about inertia, the principle that every object has to preserve its present state whether in movement or not. The bigger object, the more energy there is needed to get moving.

What on earth does that have to do with schools?

Schools are large, organisations they go from being at rest to a hive of activity very quickly. Getting that moving requires huge amounts of energy usually powered on adrenaline and large amounts of caffeine.

As the school year moves on from being ‘new’ to established classroom there’s new sort of pressure. To get all those reading and maths programmes up and running, at a time when the body hasn’t quite gotten over the shock of coming from vacation back into the frenetic world of school.

There are assessments to be done, groups to be formed, interim reports to be written, meet the parents evenings. Meetings seem to crop up.

Once the programmes get going, and the routines have been established things seem to even out, your body gets used to the pace. Coming to a halt at the end of the year? The same problem but in reverse.

As we start the year, I’m already behind. I have tendency to linger on building classroom culture which comes into conflict with the cold hard reality that I’m only six weeks from the end of term. Have we done enough writing? Those spelling groups need to be formed.

However the most important job for a teacher at this point is getting to know the kids and their families , the kids getting to know you, which sets the scene for learning.

Yet perhaps part of the problem is that our traditions in schools take us away from those goals not further to them.

Why do schools keep passing students on from one teacher to another year after year?. I’ve looped students before and see so many benefits. You know the kids. The kids know you. Classroom routines can be built on and relationships enhanced. Teaching siblings already puts me at ease with some of my parent community.

Keeping meetings and administrative tasks to an absolute minimum to focus on building relationships. Our team has items we talk about if there are questions, rather than talking over every single point. I’ve also had a few meetings cancelled at the start of the year and oh what a difference that extra hour makes. Which leads to wonder, how many meetings do we call just for the sake of calling them? Instead of coming together information shouldn’t it be for collaboration?

Maybe we could do more with less and that object wouldn’t be so heavy and so hard to get moving?

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