My friend Toni Westcott wrote a nifty post on her blog recently about relationships. Toni says: Getting to know students both socially and academically is crucial.
She is so right.
I have been at Woodford House for nearly two terms now and the relationships are improving all the time. You can't beat time spent getting to know the students in different contexts.
Taking a football team (or any extra-curricular activity) is a huge way to improve relationships that translate to improved relationships in the classroom.
That's been the case this term. My football team had a very successful season with (I think) only two losses. Better than that - the relationships between team mates and between them all and me evolved and gelled over the course of the season.
The girls had an informal prize giving recently and gave me a signed football for my efforts. Fantastic! Anyone reading the messages on the football would be puzzled as the in-jokes and funny moments during the season were seized upon, but that little moment meant a lot to me - it was evidence of relationship strengthening and connection.
The longer I am a teacher, the more it is apparent how key it is to have positive relationships.
I had to do some research recently on my Y12 English class. I looked at their PATs from Year 9 and other data. One girl who has done outstanding work this year under trying personal circumstances was not a strong Y9 English student.
When I asked her about it she said words to the effect that she improved a lot when she began loving English because of the relationships she'd gradually established with her teachers.
Toleja! There it is - the key to happiness and success. Relationships!