An Ice Cream Van in Winter. Great Shout!


Last Monday I attended an INSET day at school. For once, Sunday was a joy with no lessons to plan for Monday and it felt like a bit of a holiday! I almost felt refreshed when I rocked up to school in my jeans and slightly Christmassy jumper, and I wasn’t alone... There was definitely a buzz in the air from the array of teachers who were feeling a bit naughty having actually enjoyed a Sunday without doing any work. Sssh… Don’t tell anyone.  However, this was to be only the beginning of a very positive day indeed.

We had seen the itinerary and read the info on the guest speaker who was coming to talk to us all about the rather cryptic, ‘Magic-Weaving Business’.  There was a buzz among some who had seen this guy before that he was actually quite good, but the usual scepticism was rife among the masses who felt it might be just another person in education telling them that they are doing a good job but they need to do it a bit better!  How wrong could they be?

Turns out, very.  Sir John Jones is an inspiration.

He spoke of his own experiences; of teachers, students, colleagues; of places he’d visited and mistakes he’d made; lessons he’d learned and is still learning and he did it all with a Liverpudlian accent and a cheeky delivery.  We were encouraged to slow down, to act not react, to know our kids names AND their identities.  They were messages that we’d all heard at some time before, but this time they seemed to have more impact.  Sir John spoke as if he knew you, as if he’d always known you, and that put everyone in the room at ease.  I’m not going to tell you too much about what he said, because that’s not what this blog entry is about, but I will say this, by the time he had finished there was an energy in the room that I don’t think I’d ever experienced at school before. It was a masterstroke by the leadership team.  And then it was lunchtime…

On leaving the hall with a buzz, we were met with a queue for a hog roast, and I knew I’d never seen a reaction like this to school dinners before! It was delicious, different and there was crackling…but if that wasn’t naughty enough, there was an ice cream van outside with the prospect of two flakes and sauce! It was almost too much for some.

The afternoon saw some group work, cutting and sticking, and plenty of discussion about the morning’s events in mixed departments, but by the time the bell went at the end of the day there was a feeling of exhaustion that I can only compare to the first day of school.  It felt like we were starting something new and exciting.  We had been given new ideas, new prospects and a new fire in our bellies, and although in some that may already be just embers by the morning, for others it was the spring board they needed.

My point is simply this: There were three things that made this day a resounding success; a change from the norm, humour and ice cream.  If there were more opportunities for teachers to be allowed to feel good about themselves, then maybe even the most beaten down among us would have the inspiration, creative fire and energy to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and remember why they answered the call of teaching in the first place.

Lucy Entacott is at NQT at Mascalls School

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