There's not much 'work-life' balance at the moment...
On Monday I arrived at school at 7.30 in the morning and left at 8.30 at night (Options Evening). On Tuesday I started marking at 7.30 am and finished marking at 7.00 pm. Yesterday we left at a more sensible time but there was an accident on the M42. It took an hour and a quarter to get home through the country lanes and back roads round Redditch. It's been a tough week.
On Tuesday I was summoned (invited) to the new Deputy Head's Office to discuss my progress data. It looks good - largely because quite a few of the pupils that take Music are very talented in my area but less academic. Inevitably my change of career cropped up in this discussion. The new DH wanted to know how they were going to maintain these levels of progress if I wasn't there 'doing my stuff' (aka 'flogging myself into the ground!') The words "Not my problem Mate" rose to my lips but were swallowed!
Yesterday the same DH visited my classroom to see how I structured work with 20+ mixed ability Year 10s. (In these situations you have to decide whether you are going to treat these visits as a full 'Ofsted' style observation or a genuinely informal fact-finding mission.) I went for the informal approach and just ensured that all the kids were primed with intelligent things to say about their learning processes.
In the end he just wandered around the room, said a few non-consequential things about composition styles and left us with the verdict that my room was "Calmer than most Music classrooms he was used to". Maybe I was over-tired, but I went ballistic over this after he'd shut the door.... What kind of a learning judgement is "Calm.." After an hour or so of stewing, I sent him an e-mail that thanked him for his visit and signed off with the query "Is Calm OK"
Five minutes or so later I got an e-mail back... "Calm is wonderful".
Sadly, I don't feel particularly re-assured about this analysis. We've been so indoctrinated by the Ofsted Outstanding criteria that anything opaque or 'outside the box' feels really uncomfortable. This is another reason why I'm glad to be moving on. Nowadays even compliments sound like criticisms!!