Give me back my end of term

18th July 2008 at 01:00
Is July a wasted month or is it the perfect time of year for a bit of summer fun? Emma Bates mourns its demise
Is July a wasted month or is it the perfect time of year for a bit of summer fun? Emma Bates mourns its demise

Poor John Gallagher, waiting for his exam classes to go in a recent Soapbox. But do you know what? I wish mine would come back. I could do some relaxed, winding-down type lessons with them. We could tidy up a bit, do some quizzes and, without too much intense planning and marking required on my part, I could make a start on thinking ahead to September.

Actually, I wish all my classes would come back. Why? Because they have all gone. And new ones have appeared in their place.

It's all change in July in my comprehensive, which is when we start the new academic year.

The new Year 8s and 9s are cock-a-hoop. They are winding themselves down for the summer (or in some cases, up) with teachers who don't know them.

The Year 9s have become GCSE pupils, but minus the six weeks' growing up that miraculously happens over the summer. For Year 11s and 13s it's "as you were", but with no hope of end-of-term frivolity.

We try to pretend we had a two-day summer holiday (the weekend before) and then find the reserves, from somewhere deep within, to be at our most energetic and inspiring, to plan and deliver some of our best lessons of the year. That's after getting up off our knees, finding new set lists, absorbing the new duty rota and setting up reward systems so that we can start as we mean to go on.

Apparently this is all good because July used to be wasted. It's so good, we are told, that other schools are following our lead. I loved July and now it's been stolen. There is no natural end to the year and psychologically it feels odd.

Today all staff received an email - unless more tickets are sold for the end-of-term staff party, it will be cancelled. Maybe everyone plans to be asleep.

Emma Bates is a pseudonym.

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