Friday, 15 November 2013

Those last few weeks of the year...

I've done it again. All through the year I think to myself "I'll go through my paper resources and either scan them or throw them away". Then we get to the stage where we are marking heaps of NCEA work for classes and trying to push them to study for exams (22nd November for my Level 2 biology students!). The next thing the senior prizegiving has come around and the year is almost done. "Great, once the seniors are gone, I can get on with XXXXXXX..." (Insert 1 of 3 or so million things that need doing here.) The reality always trips me up; this time of year is SO BUSY! I should know this by now...

Of course there is all the paperwork to make sure kids get credits for the work they have done, then there are all of the PD opportunities and clusters that come up because nobody has much to do at this time of year, do they?

This week we had the 6th annual Manaiakalani Film Festival which was wonderful, and an awesome way to celebrate the fabulous stuff our cluster is doing. Sixty two movies were shown, on 2 screens during the day with 2400 students of all ages coming to see their work on the (incredibly) big screen. The films cover everything, from a cool Dr Who from Tamaki College, with some great special effects (tardis) and some Oscar-worthy acting from one of our deputy principals (video here) to a video that Somerville Special School created to show how they deal with the changes involved in having a reliever in their classroom (video here).

The other demands on my time are mostly to do with planning for next year. It is not confirmed yet, but I might be doing the Level 3 (year 13) biology as well as the Level 2 course, and also I have been given the green light to run a Level 2 Education for Sustainability course as well. The latter has caused me some issues as I have never taught this subject in NZ before (I did a few months with a year 13 course in the UK, and I have done papers etc, and my masters around the subject). The main issues have come about because the curriculum is being re-aligned for 2015, which means I have been working to set up a course which will need big modifications after one year. Thankfully, it looks like I might get to use the new standards as part of the pilot programme but, these are currently under consultation.

What this means in practical terms is we get a really short period of time to go over the new standards in very thorough detail and propose any changes. And we have found a few. We have all learned from experience that sometimes moderators expect the exact letter of the standard to inform the task, so we need to make sure the language used allows this to be as painless a process as we possibly can.

All of that aside, I am still excited about the prospect of running this course as it is so new to me. It is going to present students with an opportunity to learn more about sustainability; something I am very passionate about as it is. Perhaps it will lead to a chance to create a film for the next Manaiakalani Film Festival, although I am NOT making promises here!

Now, next week we have junior exams, then into activities and camp, as well as marking for the external Level 2 biology Cells paper starting on the 30th. So actually, there really isn't any time left. Again.

Well, I now have about an hour to go through those boxes of resources. Or maybe I really should just bin them (in the recycled paper bin, of course) and move on. My policy has been if I haven't used it in a year, it's no good, but I still have paper resources from my practicum (some of them that unusual shade of grey achieved by multiple photocopying!). Maybe I can deal with it in February when we get back from the summer hols. Maybe...