Actually, it's not for me. Our school begins its new academic year two weeks before the summer break. Ostensibly it gives the timetable a chance to bed down - which it does, I suppose. What it also means is that we have two weeks in which we can put in place a transition to the next year without overloading ourselves with assessment.
More importantly, with no year 7 or 12 students and no formal assessment, it does give a chance to reflect and look at how we can move forward.
Every year I tell myself that I will be more organised, more literacy focused, better displays, etc. This year, however, I am doing something about it.
- My classroom is tidy. I have junked the stuff that I know I will not use. I have got rid of the decade old resources that do not fit the curriculum. I have, miracle of miracles, even tidied up the virtual dumping ground that is my area on the system. I even have a display up focusing on year 13 philosophy. Not only has this happened but the RPE classrooms in general are tidy and organised.
- We are in the position of moving from 90 to 60 minute lessons - something I disagree with and will deal with at another time - which is compelling us to review our schemes of work. Excellent! No pressure! However, this has given us the chance to look at what we teach and how we teach it. Consequently, we are adding new modules - we have more time, you see. I have added in some more pure philosophy KS3 work. We are reconsidering how we deliver the subject. Slicker, more focused lessons is the key. We are focusing on changing the way we assess student progress - less vague assessments, more focused level descriptors.
- Finally, and more excitingly, we are revamping A-level philosophy and doing so in a more organic way. If you don't know the pure philosophy specification from AQA the final unit focuses through a key text. So the plan now is to work backwards from this text - Descartes: meditations on first philosophy - and embed the text in all A2 schemes of work. At AS then all work needs to be focused towards this. Thrilling stuff! The idea, of course, is that students will, unlike in prior years, be more au fait with key philosophical texts.
I need to make sure that we don't get overburdened so we have a timetable for improvement of SOWs with colleagues taking ownership of key schemes of work. Will it work? Watch this space.