Abu Dhabi, here I come …


It’s about having a goal, and sticking at it. Mountains are there to climb, rivers to cross, hurdles to leap over … positivity is key.

It’s been a extremely busy couple of weeks. KS2 SATs week here in the UK a couple of weeks ago and I was just starting a 2 week block with one of the more challenging year groups at school – for those of you who don’t know, since leaving my last job in August of last year with the sole purpose in mind of working towards teaching in the Middle East, I have been working this academic year (since Sept 2015) as a supply teacher in a Academy in West London. With SATs week just getting into full swing we got ‘the call’ – which is school speak for Ofsted. We were summoned to the conference room at 12.55pm to be told that the inspection team (Lead inspector, two colleagues and a Lead Inspector-in-training; who would only be observing – like that makes it better!?) would be in at 8am the following morning, and with that a whirlwind 60hrs began.

I was initially told that they probably wouldn’t want to see me teach (as I was supply and therefore not officially on the teaching staff at the school) but that illusion soon evaporated at 9am on the Tuesday as I was walking my class into the building and the Head whispered to me, ‘They will probably want to see you.’

Right after guided reading at 9.30am, one of the inspectors came into my English lesson with the Deputy Head of the school. They stayed for almost 40 mins. The lesson went well – the kids were engaged and enthusiastic, well behaved and focused. The learning objective had been met by most of the class and the kids had thought about what they needed to do next lesson. Phew! I had survived …

Until, at 1.30pm just as I was starting a Science lesson (which had been cobbled together in rather a rush so that the class I was teaching didn’t get too far ahead of the other class in the year group) in walked another inspector. My mind raced – I had to make this cobbled together lesson appear much more polished and I felt a little ill-prepared for that. He sat down. (Oh god … he’s staying … gulp!)

Again the kids did me proud. They are a great bunch really – a couple of difficult children, but which class doesn’t have a few of those?

The inspector stayed about 5 mins. I wish he’d stayed longer. Then he would have seen the shear enthusiasm of some of those children who struggle with English and Maths (the subjects we seem to focus so much on these days) make huge leaps in their understanding of the muscles of the human body and how their own bodies work.

So why this post?

I just wanted to share some perspective, an insight I had during this time. The full-on, adrenaline-fuelled teaching that comes with Ofsted, while teaching supply in a school I only ever thought I’d be in for a term, two at the most, has taught me so many lessons about valuing rest, balancing work and life, and giving my all but not giving all of me.

I loved the last couple of weeks, busy as they were. The inspection is over and we await the final report – I can’t share more about how we did as a school until that report is published (2 weeks time approx) but I am glad I was a part of the process this time around. I really feel like I’ve made a difference here, and I await the move to Abu Dhabi with the same enthusiasm and positivity. As challenging as the next academic year might be, bring it on.

I’m ready …


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