I’m Mr Steve Rackley (or ‘Rackers’, as affectionately called by some students – at least I hope affectionately!). I have been a full-time high school teacher in the UK since 2005.
I moved to Norwich in 2001 to go to the University of East Anglia (UEA); it was a breath of fresh air for me. I loved every minute of my Environmental Science degree – and didn’t mind it all that I had to work very hard for it. I specialised in meteorology and climate change, subjects I still hold close to my heart – but I love that being a high school teacher in the wider field of Geography has allowed me to put those issues into a range of wider contexts and work with amazing colleagues and young people.
Since becoming a teacher, I’ve been very driven to both improve my own professional development and the standards of the school and students. Recently in the past few years my mind has started to wander. Well-documented stresses and strains on all teachers, plus becoming a father for the first time in 2014 made me realise that I needed a fresh perspective or at the very least, to push the reset button. Perhaps it’s the early onset of a mid-life crisis? Who knows…
I started to diversify, to keep myself feeling relevant and refreshed – my head teacher (principal) was kind enough to allow me to pursue my professional development outside the school, from helping to train teachers to giving talks and professional development on a national scale, particularly for the Geographical Association (www.geography.org.uk). Then these things started to become, let’s say, gasps of fresh air in the smog, and I felt my love of the job (really through no one’s fault) drifting away.
With a range of professional and personal reasons in tow, I decided rather than either submit to this ‘erosion’ or pack in something I love completely, that I request some leave. I was delighted that this was accepted, and although the process hasn’t been straight forward, it is finally a reality.
And now I’m anxious, like the first time you experience a vigorous thunderstorm; bewildered, in-awe and a bit jumpy!
Fellow teachers, I’m hoping you’ll find this blog useful, as I intend to give educational insight and some tangible resources; work colleagues, students and friends, a way to see how I’m getting on; and everyone else, at the very least entertaining. I’ll be adding to my portfolio of free and downloadable resources as I go along, and my blog entries will be indexed to GCSE syllabuses.
So, off we go then… thanks for opting to join me through this journey during the 2017-18 academic year. If you want to collaborate with me, give me a shout!
– August 2017
April 2018 update: Two-thirds through my sabbatical and I returned across the pond. At the Geographical Association’s 2018 National Conference in Sheffield, I gave a short 6-minute TeachMeet presentation about my experiences so far, and how and why others should consider taking a geography sabbatical:
Those 6-minutes fly past, so here is a SlideShare of the presentation, for people to go through at the own pace!
P.S. My sabbatical is self-funded and un-paid. Please check out my paid resources at TES and Teachers-Pay-Teachers! If you are looking for teaching resources for all subjects, not just Geography, please check out ZigZag education’s catalogue by clicking through my affiliate link here. If you do find something useful and purchase, I’ll get some commission to help me pay for a public transport fare etc! 😉
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Disclaimer: This blog documents my own personal reflections, opinions and ideas and do not represent the views of any organisation or establishment. Wherever possible, blog posts and resources will contain citations, links and references which source stances and opinions of others.