On the Merry-Go-Round

Friend: Your holidays started yet?

Teacher: Yes, a few weeks ago.

Friend: Lucky for some, huh.

Teacher: [Pause] I guess so.

Friend: So what is it that you do with all those weeks?

Teacher: Go on holiday for a bit, obviously.

Friend: You get paid for doing nothing?

Teacher: Not nothing. Just different things. I guess it’s a bit like working freelance?

Friend: In that you don’t work at all?

Teacher: Hmmm, well not in the traditional, Puritan, work-must-be-unpleasant sense. It’s a time for creative renewal, before the merry-go-round starts again.

Friend: Merry-go-round?

Teacher: Yep, it’s the curse of teaching, that Groundhog Day paradox of “getting to do it again” and “having to do it again”.

Friend: What?

Teacher: Well, presuming I’ve reacquired sufficient patience needed to see it through, and the law of unintended consequences doesn’t brutally intervene, there are five things I’m going to evolve this year.

Friend: Five?

Teacher: Yep.

Friend: Do you know what, I don’t care. I’ve had my holiday for this year, and it’s my Saturday. Want a drink?

Teacher: Sure.

Merry-go-'round by Greg Westfall licenced under CC by 2.0
“Merry-go-’round” by Greg Westfall licenced under CC by 2.0

My Merry-Go-Round Five

  1. Shared vision. Provide a year long map of the year for the students in a live Google Doc.
  2. Mix it up. Keep coming back to the essentials, using fortnightly quizzes with Kahoot. The rules? After I model the first one, students are placed on a yearlong rotation in pairs to create a five question quiz on content studied in the previous weeks. If the students want it, I’ll run a yearlong leaderboard in Google sheets.
  3. Read more. Students will sign up for a Goodreads account to record and share books. Alongside weekly DEAR (Drop Everything and Read), there will be fortnightly Hot Reads, when, on rotation, a student will make a three minute presentation about a great book they’ve recently read.
  4. Write more. Students will establish and experiment with blogging. This will include time, fortnightly, to blog and comment upon each other’s blogs.
  5. Do less, better. To read more and write more, some content will be removed from the year to enrich essential skills and understandings.

Do you have a Merry-Go-Round five?