Iíve just finished my last week in school. Unfortunately I went W.I.A (Without Internet Access) this week so was unable to blog daily reports. But here are the highlights:
Monday & Tuesday
I taught my last two lessons on these days, the lesson on Tuesday being formally observed by my mentor. This week I had a new partner in school who was a bit of a personality clash, seeing as I have one and she doesnít! Haha. She didnít endear herself to me from the off by shouting at the class I was trying to teach only a couple of hours after having met:
- This undermined me.
- Was unnecessary as the class werenít causing trouble.
- How dare anyone be mean to my lovely year 7s?
- Fuck Off!
The lessons I taught actually went quite well, not perfect but in the words of my mentor it was satisfactory. Though seeing as lessons are rated as satisfactory, good or better, itís a little worrying. I mean, I effectively scored the lowest mark possible. If Iíd started throwing chairs and tables around (my best friend nearly had his head taken off in such a scenario where a teacher kind of lost it) would that have still been satisfactory?
Being observed was a little like taking my driving test again, the teacher kept making little notes, just like an examiner marks down minors. I have to say keeping control of a car is much easier than a class of pupils. As a rule cars donít jump out of their seats and go for walks to the other side of the room or say ďI donít get itĒ. Well built ones donít anyway.
The best bit I managed with the lesson was the entry to the room. I made them wait outside (This included a conversation with pupils who had eaten pizza and curry for breakfast. As in two individual pupils, one eating pizza the other curry. Not one pupil eating pizza and curry together, thatíd just be weird) until there were enough of them there to make it worth letting them in. The idea is that you donít get dribs and drabs so the start goes smoother. So I can make the first minute go okay after two weeks teaching experience, give me another 98 and Iíll sort out the other forty-nine!
There was a ďYear 7 Maths Challenge DayĒ which I thoroughly enjoyed it because the pupils were relaxed because of being out of lessons and as a rule of thumb pupils in a good mood are pleasanter than grumpy bored ones. Not that my school partner agreed:
Her: ďI donít like that sort of thing.Ē
Me: ďWhat? Fun?Ē
Her: ďWell no, I mean I prefer discipline and respect.Ē
This sparked a whole row about teaching methods, she said she didnít think (actually she didnít use the word think, she just stated it as a fact) it was possible to be a good teacher without being a complete fascist. Or words to that effect.
Eventually I just said, ďLetís stop this conversationĒ, because it was about to go nuclear. Her response was ďYou started it!Ē Oh good Lord! Iíd get more maturity out of the year 7s. I tried to take the opportunity to diffuse the situation by turning it into a joke by echoing, ďYou started itĒ back at her. She didnít get it and repeated what she said. I was forgetting she has no sense of humour. Eventually I just gave up, I suppose the ďfunĒ comment might have been slightly inflammatory, but how could I possibly resist?
That nearly spoilt the day but the pupils were being funny enough for it to merely be a minor blip. They had to complete some quick mathematical puzzles and were offering bribes; I got offered Twenty Pounds, a fiver and a dinner card with ten pounds of credit on it. I refused of course, what would I want with ten pounds worth of school dinners?
Thursday & Friday
These were my final two days and there wasnít much going on. Thursday was quiet because Iíd run out lessons to teach and Friday was a ďpayback dayĒ for the staff, which meant an opportunity for them to catch up on some administrative type bits. In short it meant nothing for me to do! I did make a nice wall display of some of the work Iíd done with the year 7s. Though thereís only so much cutting and sticking I can take without getting bored. I also caught up with my own administrative bits, but it was pretty dull.
Iíve enjoyed the chance to go in to school. Itís been a nice situation to be in because Iím halfway between a pupil and a teacher so I kind of got the best of both worlds: being treated like a human being, but not having to be too serious and teacher like. Whether or not I should have been like that Iím not sure. Afterall we were there to get some genuine experience not to just piss about.
Iím pleased with how Iíve got along with the pupils. Iíve definitely managed to come across as a good guy with them. Itís not about popularity but itís nice anyway, and I really do believe that you donít need to shout (at most pupils) if you develop a good relationship with them from the start. Itís very encouraging. Naturally there are some key areas I need to work on, such as being more authoritative, but thereís a limit to how far Iíll go with that. Teachers are famed for being bossy and I donít want to end up like that. If I find I canít teach without changing then I wonít teach. Itís as simple as that.