Tomorrow, with the arrival of my students, will be another new start, the beginning of the thirteenth year teaching. The feeling is familiar; things will be better this time. Of course, the fallibilities of humankind mean that such ambitions must meet the varied motivations and agendas and pressures on those under my care.

But I feel a little wiser each year.

My students achieved the grades they deserved with some pleasingly excellent results from some particularly diligent students.

These are the assumptions under which I currently operate:

a) Learning comes from thinking. It is possible for students to perform in a classroom without thinking. If they do think, they may not think about the concept, but rather about how to perform a task.

b) More specific reference to the A01 (Ideas, Themes, Content) is essential for English students. Having researched very many resources for the texts I am teaching this year, I am disheartened by the sheer amount of ‘performance’ resources or entirely ‘skills-based’ resources. Both of which seem to put the onus entirely on the students to discover the concepts they need to learn. These aren’t constructivist; they are built on sand.

c) I begin each year with a drive to motivate students. I want to make more clear the need for students to become disciplined, rather than motivated, in order to succeed.

Finally, my teaching of content is more ambitious than ever. I intend to focus on literature this year, and to apply concepts from my MA and cognitive science to the learning of my students.