Thursday, 22 May 2014

What Nanny Willis (might've) said

As term 5 comes hurtling to an all-too-soon curtain, I wish to make an alarming confession:  I have tried to write a blog several times this month, only to find myself despondently stabbing the crumple and throw into the forlorn looking bin button.  So much has happened, so many things cemented (and demolished) that I have sat at my laptop three times and tried to blog, but have miserably failed.

One idea occupying my ethoughts has been displays and learning environments.  Although I still have much to say, these seeds are still waiting to take full shape in the unloved, overgrown weed patch of my mind.  Improvement planning has also been at the forefront of my mind, but that's not a blog - at least not one that will make sense to anyone other than those who have the misfortune to be paid to sit in a room and listen to me ramble on about pedagogy.

Mostly, I have been thinking about positivity.  The power of positive thinking / talking / acting / being.  As term 5 is so short, I have reasoned with staff and pupils, how on earth can it not be fun?  How can our attendance be anything other than brilliant?  With so few chances, why wouldn't you make your books amazing?  Our assemblies have been filled not with answers, but with questions, and I have done no singing this term - just dancing (much to the chagrin of year 5).  Let's keep it upbeat everyone.

However, you can't do this halfheartedly.  You cannot be positive on a whim.  A painted smile is no smile at all.  You need to embody it, empower it, live and breathe it.

Because it's infectious.  It's relentless.  It's brilliant.

You get a small group of people - a happy cabal if you like - who start it off, and you can't stop it.  Although the feeling is undeniable, you can't really sum it up, until small but incredibly important things start to occur: children rewarding teachers in assembly, children giving up their lunchtime to volunteer, reconciliations being forged of their own will, a game of volley ball at lunchtime that encompassed ages 5 to ... 37 (she says.  We think it's more like 42 but, hey ho).  Even I got in on the act, offering to take a forfeit if key stage 2 could do the unthinkable and keep the toilets clean.  They did.  I took it.  Days of pain ensued.

May dear old Nanny Willis always used to say: "When it comes to positivity, you lay the ground work, and the building builds itself." (Alright, she never technically said it, but she was a thoughtful, very, very funny lady who never, even in her most painful, asthma ridden years, stopped smiling.)

It has been such an enjoyable and successful term, for all sorts of reasons, made all the more remarkable that it lasted a grand total of 23 working days.

But here's the real big news, the thing people keep forgetting - the best thing about term 5 is that it's followed, like an overly enthusiastic spaniel, by term 6.  And what better time is there to really kick start new projects, than term 6?

Sure, we're trying to cram even more in than we did in terms 3, 4 and 5 combined, such as reports, sports day, curriculum planning and transition, into an ever decreasing number of days, but what promise! What optimism!  Amongst all the usual fun, we have so much to look forward to (and I genuinely mean look forward to - no joke intended).  A new curriculum, new methods of assessment, new colleagues, new ideas.
You see, there is nothing more positive than the promise of something utterly new and exciting.  Except maybe, a happy cabal in a primary school.

Keep on smiling everyone.  You never know who you might infect.

Until the craziness that is term 6 is in the ascendancy, that is all.