It's officially the start of the Summer Holidays here in England and we've just survived the hottest day ever. My wife was amazing and covered all the windows with foil, which reflected the heat really well. We only opened doors and windows between midnight and 3am (we have a baby so these aren't actually abnormal times for us to be awake!) and the house never got above 30°C (it hit 40+ outside).
Despite this, my blog post this week is going to be very easy to read... it's mostly just pictures. Not sure how the podcast is going to translate but that's a problem for future Carl.
So, without further ado, here are my top 10 teacher memes for the Summer:
We'll start with quite a tragic one:
Let's face it; it's funny because it's true. The annoying thing is that colleagues or children then steal them from you! At least in the old days, you could claim the tax back as expenses. Ah well...
This next one makes me giggle because I have worked at schools that have been so pedantic with paperwork, even paperwork that nobody else needs to see! I love planning lessons but I hate writing prescriptive lesson plans; they don't allow for any deviation at all.
True story, I was on my final teaching placement of my PGCE and a child asked a question that caused the lesson to deviate from the plan. It wasn't a total non sequitur and the lesson objectives were fulfilled but that didn't stop the person observing the lesson to reminding me to stick to the plan. When I reasoned that the children altered the plan and that surely a certain amount of improvisation is to be expected if the lesson is to remain fresh and relevant, she said to me, without irony:
"You can be spontaneous... but plan for it."
You can't make it up.
This next one I include because I still use it. It's not funny. It's not clever. In a world where 'literally' literally means 'figuratively', I'm not even sure that it's true anymore. But I will continue to use it with children and adults alike because it makes me smile.
Incidentally, the best response I ever had from this exact exchange with a student as: "I'm going to, so..." I let them go. They can be schooled on on correct modal verb usage when my floor is not at risk.
The following image should probably come with a trigger warning (which, I guess, that was?)! How many times? How many?!
I mean, what else is there to say about it?
You've explained it. You've gone through examples. You've explained it again, twice, differently. You've had a child come up to the board and do it. And yet...
To be fair, this is exactly how I feel with a class of children, so the image helps me to not be so frustrated!
This next one reminds me not only of me but also of this one French teacher I had in Secondary school. I have no idea if she was a good teacher or not, but boy could she spin a yarn...!
Too many of my classes had learned this trick by October! It's okay though, it models oratory skills and they can always catch up during playtime, right?
And now a word (picture) of warning to any of your non-teacher friends. While it is perfectly okay for us to brag about the five-and-a-half weeks of Summer (of which, only two are an actual break, after you factor in closing the previous year's paperwork and planning for the next), it is never okay for you to complain about it.
Summers are never 'off'. I was in Disneyland (Paris, I'm a teacher, not a Rockefeller) one Summer and ended up discussing the Great Fire of London with a child in the queue for Crash's Coaster then giving her mother advice on how to improve handwriting techniques. You're never off duty as a teacher. But that August paycheck is nice.
A reminder about Summer homework now. Don't set it. And if you have to, keep it practical, brief and fun. Definitely don't expect it back!
I'm with the kids on this one. What is worked on at home, stays at home. This also applies to 'What I did in the Summer' writing assignments. Nothing. That's what a lot of the children will have done. They have TikTok and Nintendo. They have done nothing.
Penultimately, in response to the DfE's "generous" 5% pay increase (a pay increase that schools have to find the budget for; a pay increase that does not represent inflation at all; a pay increase that's kind of like leaving a 20p tip on a £200 meal):
Enjoy the summer; stay outdoors a lot; use as little gas and electricity as possible. Come Winter time, you'll need those memories to keep you warm when the £1M fuel bill hits!
And one final one for those two inevitable inset days in September...
I hope you don't think this one applies at all to me. Despite blogging and podcasting, I do still teach, and I only ever offer advice. My ways are never the only ways!
Enjoy your summer and remember, you can do this: you're awesome!