My Hardest Year: What I learned and how I survived.

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Have you ever had the feeling that time is flexible?  
You know what I mean – the time between hitting the snooze button and the next alarm in the morning is practically nonexistent, whereas ten minutes on a treadmill seems like hours. If you’re a teacher, a free hour feels about five minutes, and a lesson with a challenging class can last approximately forever.

Sometimes, though, this notion of the flexibility of time is challenged when a time in your life seems to simultaneously have taken a matter of moments and an absolute age. Usually this happens when you have had to go through a challenging experience. You know the kind of thing I mean – something significant like studying for exams in your final year at university, awaiting the birth of a child or training for a marathon. My second year in teaching is a perfect example of this, no doubt because it was actually the hardest year of my life so far.  Continue reading

42 uses for sticky tack!

42 Uses for sticky tack!

If you follow my Instagram account you’ll know that I have a few obsessions: teaching, running, food & stationery. I love marker pens, staple guns, sticky notes, binder clips – you name it, I’ve got it – and my poor husband is used to me making a detour to the stationery aisle of the supermarket every time we do our grocery shopping.

Although I love all kinds of stationery, there is one product that I hold very dear to my heart: sticky tack. Why? Because it has so many uses! It should be every teacher, parent and student’s best friend. Actually, it should be everyone’s best friend! Sticky tack has got your back! And don’t forget it doesn’t just come in blue and white. You can buy it in pink in the UK and it also exists in yellow, green, orange and red. Bostik, the original inventors of Blu-tack, apparently used to claim that it had thousands of uses. Well I can’t offer you that many, but here’s 42 uses for sticky tack that you won’t be able to do without.  Continue reading

New Classroom: My £1 or less shopping haul! 

£1 or less new classroom shopping haul! Lots of tiny budget, dollar store teaching ideas

There’s a meme somewhere on the internet that says something like ‘teaching: the one job where you steal supplies from home to bring into work’. If you are a teacher I’m sure you will get the joke! The truth is, although a lot of essentials will be paid for by the school you work in, if you want to add anything extra or make your classroom look anything like all the incredible ones you’ve seen on Pinterest, it’s going to cost you something. The problem is none of us have unlimited reserves to spend on all the things we know could make our teaching and learning environments better!

So what’s the answer? Not bother at all? Or commit to doing the best we can with the finances we have available to us? If you’re reading this post then I assume, like me, you’ve committed to the latter. Good choice! I’ve become super geeky and over-excited about finding ways to save money as a teacher whilst still doing an awesome job in the classroom. I recently found out I’m getting a new classroom so I went on a shopping spree to pick up some new things. However, I set myself a bit of a challenge: an overall budget of £12 and a maximum spend of £1 (about $1.50) on each individual item. Here are the items I bought and how I plan to use them!

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Dear New Teacher…3 things you need to know!

new teachers trainees advice tips

Dear New Teacher,

As we approach the start of the school year, I’ll bet you are experiencing quite a range of different emotions. You’ll be excited, I hope, and so you should be. Don’t let anyone dampen that and avoid spending time with cynics or more ‘experienced’ teachers that have forgotten why they signed up to it all in the first place.
You will probably also be feeling quite apprehensive – maybe even scared – about the prospect of being a ‘real’ teacher for the first time. Don’t worry! That’s very normal. I’ll soon be going into my third year as a qualified teacher and I still feel that mix of nerves and excitement as September approaches.

I have both good and bad news for you.

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Paper Problems: My Worksheet Heartbreak.

worksheet teaching

Dear Worksheet,

Okay, I admit it. We’ve had some fun times together. You’ve saved me hours of lesson planning and pretty much single-handedly got me through my teaching training year. You’ve got so many qualities, which is what drew me to you in the first place. You can be fun, you keep the kids busy while I catch up on the countless tasks on my to-do list, you are loyal and you are reliable.

Continue reading

How to get more done and have more time!

Teachers: get more done and have more time! Teacher workload tips.

Wouldn’t you love to have more time?

We all know that teaching is an amazing job and has so many perks but one of the big things all teachers find themselves struggling with at one point or another is time management. It seems like no matter what we do, the work just keeps on piling up – marking, report writing, lesson planning, extra-curricular activities, meetings, analysing data, professional development and so on. And we are supposed to fit all of this around actually teaching children for most of the day!

If you are a teacher you will know that, whilst we love and appreciate our holidays, they barely make up for the intensity with which we have to live our lives for most of the year. We arrive early, teach all day, stay late trying to desperately tick everything on our to-do list, go home to cook, clean and squeeze in some time with our family and friends then do it all over again, five times a week!

Imagine – just for a second – if you didn’t have to rush so much? Continue reading