It's one of those things that gets annoying, when you're a teacher: when the Back To School posters appear in the shops before the Summer Term has eve...
When kids are fighting because they all want to do maths practice - or grammar - with you, it's a nice problem to have. But also one you need to solve. What if you're handling your kids solo, and there's no one else there to get the offender(s) in a headlock so you can carry on?
New guidance for teachers from the Sex Education Forum is deeply disturbing as teachers are encouraged to tell pupils in sex education lessons that porn is 'not all bad', is 'hugely diverse', and to talk about all aspects of porn. Parents will surely be horrified by this.
My son said he was afraid of getting the answers wrong because he wanted to impress me. He'd tense up and breathe faster when we started practising the times tables. The solution came by accident. I asked him to answer 'smoothly', not fast, gave him a big hug and told him we need to make mistakes to learn.
If there is one measure that will tell us that the RCOT has been a success in rebuilding the self confidence of teachers (other than hitting ambitious levels of pupil achievement), it will be in ending the appalling drop out rate among teachers from the profession.
It would be a lie to suggest that nothing changes. I no longer throw extended, highly emotional screaming matches at being forced to eat sprouts, like I did when I was 12. Or wet the bed, like I did when I was 12. But fundamentally, it doesn't feel so different. I for one prefer a Tracey Beaker omnibus and ice cream to paying bills.
In spite of its merits, the proposal just doesn't add up. Firstly there is little evidence that extending contact hours improves aggregate performance; most studies show a very small correlation between contact hours and attainment, with multiple outliers.
Shorter school holidays and longer school days will mean less time for children to play, discover and experience new things. Stricter inspections and harsher penalties will mean more stress for teachers, more tick-box teaching and more cheating the system so we end up failing our neediest kids.
Minority faith groups are now starting to see the appeal. We've recently seen a flurry of new free schools with a Sikh ethos being proposed. This is unfortunate, because in many ways, Sikhs have been the most successful at fully integrating themselves into British society. The fear is that with a proliferation of single faith schools, this could now be put at risk.
It is not how long you are in school that matters; it is how that time is spent. So those who seeking a better evidenced starting place, might be advised to begin, not with the example of East Asia, but with the notion that the pattern of teaching should depend on what we want children to learn.
While it is common for people to lament teachers 'knocking off at 3.30' and 'getting six weeks in the summer', the very large number of state school teachers I know have very different lives. They work well after 3.30 each day, often into the early hours, and certainly every evening.
Remember those great long six-week school holidays you used to get every summer? Six weeks, of course, is not really very long at all in the grand scheme of things, but it used to feel like an absolute eternity, didn't it? They were fantastic, I loved them. And now, like a lot of things I remember fondly from children, they're about to be thrown to the wolves.
Of course no one from McDonald's lives in our village, nor do the lawyers doing the dirty work on their behalf. None of them will have to live with the consequences should their application succeed and neither will any of them provide any redress. And this is why I've come to loathe this company.
However, I have noticed that much talk surrounding "Lean[ing] In" has centred mostly on women who already in the workplace. Whilst I have nothing against this, I feel as though younger women, girls of my own generation in the UK who are still in school, are, comparatively, missing out on this exciting 'buzz'.
When I think back to the times when I have been the happiest and have achieved the most as a young person, it was always because an adult believed in me. I knew this without it needing to be spoken, and I automatically raised my game. It felt magical in a way.
Michael Oakeshott was an English political philosopher of the conservative tradition. He died in 1990 and was all about small government, individual liberty, political conservatism and economic liberalism. Think Edmund Burke; or the Austrian political economist, Freidrich Hayek without the abstract potentialities.