Customarily at this time of year I reflect on previous years’ successes. However, for me, in September I will be in a new position, in a new school, with a new curriculum to grasp and new students to teach. I am entering the next academic year with excitement, as, however much there may be challenges ahead- I enjoy delivering different courses and projects, and I always knew I would never be a teacher who could repeat the same curriculum plan year on year out.
My opinion has been that, particularly with further education learners, and especially those who have had to go onto lower qualifications if they missed the entry criteria, that they would loose the element of surprise if they saw exactly what they were going to do in a few years’ time repeated and repeated until it was there turn. However, I do understand that constant ‘newness’ in projects results in further increases of planning and workload for the staff. Do you alter your courses each year? Do you rota projects every other year?
So, the concept of doing things ‘new’, I always begin by considering a topic or theme for creative projects. One of the first articles I wrote on Worn Through discussed my thoughts of that learners ‘are not going to get inspired looking at these 4 walls for two years.’ I continue to think this is very true. At the start of the new term I begin to search for possible exhibitions and trips to incorporate into my planning.
I have previously encouraged students to attend ‘Curtain up’ at the V+A which was brilliant also for career knowledge and live design examples. I think this is an amazing museum with something for everyone in the wider collection and also gets Fashion students looking at artefacts other than fashion- a battle you do have with many students! I will also be looking to going to the ‘Undressed’ exhibition in the autumn, and I have also begun to look into the 1920’s jazz exhibition at The Fashion and Textile museum as a source of knowledge to take students too. I am passionate about my subject also because of the amount of social and economic knowledge students can gain from studying the creative arts, such as information about culture, heritage and world affairs.
Yes, there is more work on my plate with having to learn the new curriculum requirements, however I do still find myself looking forward to the challenge. In my planning I try to work backwards and map out the year with key dates, such as performances, exhibitions and exams- then I have a knowledge of the time I have left to manage and I cut this up into project sized chunks. This time of year is full of plans (including those for the holidays!) about what can be achieved and produced, whilst keeping in mind that the best laid plans, often and probably will need to alter and develop as the term goes on.
How do you plan for new changes and challenges?