The Autumn – a time to reflect and look forward to the year ahead

What a lovely autumn we’ve been having. I used to like the spring a lot, more even than the summer itself. For me, the great thing about the spring is the anticipation of summer – not that the summer always lives to our expectations… If one really considers it, the autumn has so many things going for it. The American call it ‘the fall’. I think it is such an experience to sit on a bench in the park and watch a leaf fall lazily to the ground. Just the simple sight of a yellowish leaf falling and taking its time, wondering all over the place before finally settling on the overgrown grass truly is the image of autumn.

The glee in the faces of those young people

As a secondary school teacher, the most exciting thing for me is coming back to school and seeing those Y7 boys and girls, who are just starting secondary school – the glee in their faces, the fear, the enthusiasm, the curiosity and the excitement that radiates through them in this new environment. When you finally meet the parents you can really see how much hope they have for their children’s future. One has to really smile with them and tune into their world, as the least you can do as a teacher is share their hope and aspiration for their little Jane or Jonny.  As a teacher who loves their job and who is interested in young people succeeding and not just the six weeks of summer holidays, what one can best do to reassure that parent is to smile, with a face that reassures that parent that their little Jonny is in safe hands.

It would be a shame not to dream – really

As a teacher, looking at that parent, you fully know that their dream will not always be fulfilled, despite a tremendous amount of effort and utter devotion. Some of the thoughts that could perhaps come to your mind may include: this lady in front of you has devoted her time to little Jane since she was born; she has driven her everywhere; rushed home from work to pick her up from dance lessons; got a second job to be able to afford extra tuition for her and fought tooth and nail to get her in to that so-called good school. You know that so many young people enter secondary school two years above their age group in  core subjects and leave secondary school two years behind in achievement. Even with all that you have still got to live in hope with that parent and do all you can to help inspire little Jane or Jonny.

Is Mrs Braithwaite a game changer for your son in Maths?

Going back to the beauty of the ‘autumn’, it really is a time for reflection, a time to be more determined about the next summer. You think of all the fitness training you never got time to do in the summer, how good your summer holiday was but how much better it could have been. You may perhaps be a little relieved that little Jonny will no longer be bored at home and if Jonny is now a teenager, you feel the relief of not having to keep replenishing the empty fridge! More importantly you think – after the disappointment with Mr Smith – if Jonny will get on better with Mrs Brathwaite – his new Maths teacher. Will she be more demanding of him? Will she encourage him more and inspire him with confidence, believing in your son than Mr Smith did? Is there any chance of Jonny being moved back to the top set in Maths or does the decline continue? Will your son end up at the bottom set – where he’ll relish the opportunity (or lack of it) of coasting along and playing with paper aeroplane with his mates – who may perhaps come from a different home environment where values are not similar to yours and where parent(s) might not be as supportive?


Your comments on this blog would be highly appreciated. Providing extra tuition is only a small part of what we are all about at Excel in Key Subjects.  We like helping to improve young peoples’ exam grades, but more importantly we relish the opportunity to engage with a certain kind of parent. Those who not only want the best for their sons and daughters but those who are eager to learn more and share ideas and use the new knowledge they gain to guide and nurture their children along the path to success. The educational system is a web of complexities – we are proud to have the experts – working in partnership with well-informed but willing-to-learn-more parents.

Please comment on this blog – irrespective of your view, it is highly valuable to us.

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