There are only seven more teaching days left of this year.
Most people think at this time of year teachers are winding down; with classes working less and playing more. Most people think back fondly to their own schooldays and only remember sport days, trips out, endless rounders games on the pitches or bringing in a toy to play with from home on the last day. I can tell you though, it seems like this is by far the busiest time of year for me! There are new children coming into school for P1 induction afternoons, sports days (3 in my school, one for each Key Stage), new parents mornings, school productions, P7 leavers assembly, reports to write, transition books to make and share with SEN children and passover of information forms to fill in and meetings to be had. All that on top of the normal school week of teaching and meetings when everyone (including the children) is on countdown mode.
One thing I have been thinking about in the last week is passover of information. It’s important to get to know your new class, to know where they are and what their accomplishments of the last year have been. But I have a worry.
My worry is that we focus too much on the academic side of things. Yes, the new teacher need to know what level of books Liam is on and what number Helen is working confidently within, but we need to remember to pass on, what I think is the important information too. We are passing on a class of 30 little individuals. Children with likes, dislikes, worries, quirks, friends. family and lives. They are little humans, not just little containers to fill with knowledge.
We need to pass on the person.
We should tell their next year’s teacher about them. Not just about what they can or can’t do. Not just the attainment levels or behaviour management strategies.
Children learn better when they have a good relationship with their teacher. Why would we not kick-start that relationship for their next years teacher as soon as possible?
When I taught P2 I spent a week each June with my class making little All About Me booklets. These booklets were so they could introduce themselves to their next year’s teacher. Zack really wanted to tell his P3 teacher that he was growing strawberries with his Grandpa and that they were nearly ready. Morgan wanted her P3 teacher to know that she has two cats called Misty and Smudge. Susie wanted to say that she was learning how to swim and that in the summer time she was going swimming with her Granny every week. The children made the books their own. Their personality and individuality shone through in each one.
I still sent my P3 colleague the completed proforma with information about their progress in Literacy and Numeracy. I still sent samples of work from both those subjects. I just sent these child led booklets first. I wanted their P3 teacher to get to know them as people. I wanted to let the class introduce themselves. The class loved it. They got really excited making their booklets for their new teacher and they worked really hard on them.
In the end the booklets let the children introduce themselves, gave a great example of literacy skills, helped prepare the children for the transition that was ahead and helped to kick-start the relationship between them and their new teacher.
So for those of us passing on a class to a colleague and thinking about passover of information, please think about what you should pass on.
Think about what is important.
Pass on the person.