We have been back nearly 10 days now, and normal service has resumed. The manic days of trying to do 26 hours of work in 24 hours are back – and I have to say, I am loving it!
My concern was, that for the first time in my career, the first few days of the new term, with the eager students, were a real downer for me. We had an amazing olympic sports day (moved to September as the British weather ruined our 12 summer term attempts) and both students and staff were fantastic throughout the event – the atmosphere was truly London 2012, just transferred to our rural farming town in Devon.
I dont believe the wet summer helped my mind set, not the fact we were enable to get away for a short break (my wife has difficult pregnancies), and it was on tuesday last week that I realised why I was so down. I felt devalued, I felt my subject (Physical Education as you ask) was devalued. Not by my school, or my SLT (I have very supportive SLT and staff at my school), but from the government and the media. This year, we achieved the best results ever, even better than we were predicted through our FFT Band D targets and our three levels of progress. My problem was that the charasmatic Mr Gove had once again decided that the whole world revolves around English and Maths and the progress children in these subjects.
Now please, dont get me wrong, I fully understand the importance of these subjects (my wife is an english teacher), and I am fully aware that EVERY subject at school has assisted and helped all the children to develop their literacy and numeracy skills. My problem was that Mr Gove continues to belittle the other subjects that make a school and develop the whole child. In my opinion, art, music, drama, technology and physical education, are the heart beat of a successful school. These are the subjects that drive and create an ethos and atmosphere. The last two Head Teachers I have worked with have said:
‘Head of PE is one of the most important subjects in this school. If the children enjoy PE, they attend school for these lessons. Once they are here and they enjoy school, we can teach them our other subjects.’ Head Teacher 2008
‘You can always tell when PE are on song, as the whole school is a calmer more pleasant place to be.’ Head Teacher 2011
Praise indeed, I thought so anyway!
You will be pleased to know that I shook off my ‘downer’ mood quite quick. I was concerned why the world did not value PE, why did it not see the positive effects and opportunities it provides for ALL young people. How could the world NOT see this after the amazing summer of sport. It then hit me, I do this, I give up so much of my personal time to provide opportunities for our young people for one reason – because I believe it is the right thing to do. Most importantly, their is a group of people who REALLY value what we do. People who enjoy the saturdays spent training the Ten Tors teams. Who value the late nights running fixtures or running study support sessions. Who value the early morning revision sessions. Who value the countless chances and support we give them. The people who value our work more than any other group of people are also the most important people in this scenario. The students.
This thought alone shook me from my ‘poor me’ state and galvanised my thinking. Be prepared world and especially you Mr Gove, as I love my job because the students value what my colleagues and I do.
Bring on 2012/2013…