Wednesday, 31 October 2012

It's all fun until nobody turns up.

Half term is a dangerous thing. For starters there is a massive chance that teachers and students will accidentally spot each other in their natural habitats. The out-of-school teacher is a dangerous opportunity for ridicule. Social etiquette goes out the window. What do you do, just ignore them and hope that they go away, slinking back into whatever godforsaken cave they came from? Or confront the situation, being cordial and making some sort of awkward joke about the fact they should be at home working hard because obviously, as a teacher, that is exactly what you are doing?

Neither situation is perfect, and each strategy should be divulged in with the upmost care. My tips for avoiding difficult teacher/student social situations are below.

1: Don't live to close to school. I cannot stress this enough, especially if, like me, you go running and regularly look like the last survivor of a horror film. If possible retire abroad to the second home owned by your ludicrously affluent partner (It's not like you're ever going to be in a position to buy one after all.)

2: Carry Cuecards. If taken unaware by the marauding student, make sure you have some prewritten witty repartee to respond with. This is especially important if you are one of the species whose default reaction to being cornered is simply replying 'Your Mum' in louder and louder tones until the danger passes. Remember- Without SIMS you are lost.

3: Dress Innocuously. If, like me, you only dress in 80's disco attire when at home you should consider changing your clothes before you take the trip to your nearest McDonalds for three bigmacs and a little cry. Make sure you blend in with crowds and do not attract undue attention. If your perchance for 80s attire is undeniable, at least contain yourself to the outfits of Mr. Mister.

4: Never, EVER try and appear cool/trendy/hip/hop/bangin/street/etc. YOU WILL FAIL. YOU ARE A TEACHER, KNOW YOUR PLACE.

These four simple steps should keep you safe from being ritually ridiculed by your students come Monday morning. To be honest, however, just go to school and get some marking done. I mean, it's the last place the kids will be and you're not going to get it done at home now are you?

Monday, 29 October 2012

So You Wanna Be A Teacher

It's PGCE season, so in celebration here are the QTS standars that the tutors won't tell you about. Those things that you need to do before you realise you are a real teacher and not some shining, perfect, automaton.

Q11- Complain an SEN student is thick in the staffroom before realising why...
Q12- Make an inappropriate remark during child protection training.
Q13- Mark a student down because you don't like them.
Q17- Mark a student up because they bought you a nice bottle of wine for the last end of term.
Q18- Demonstrate an ability to fabricate a lesson on the spot.
Q19- Call a parent after a few too many.
Q21- Misspell a word on the whiteboard, then adamantly claim that you are correct, or claim that it was a test all along.
Q24- Make a teenage boy cry.
Q25- Write on an interactive whiteboard with a board marker, thereby ruining said whiteboard.
Q31- 'I'm Sorry, I lost your work.'
Q35- Use peer marking to avoid marking yourself.
Q45- Tell your friends a set of teaching anecdotes that they find neither as interesting nor as hilarious as you expect.
Q46- Be the subject of a student's sexual infatuation
Q51-Stay up so late planning lessons that your lessons the next day are crap.
Q52- Teach still drunk the next morning and achieve a stunning observation report.
Q53- Teach a book you've never read.
Q54- Whine about a student until you realise their parent is an LSA
Q56- Use a printout of students' pictures in a parents evening to identify who their children are.
Q57- Be called Mum/Dad by a student.
Q59- Show your age.
Q64- Tell a long-winded story about your own life to a pupil, realising half way through that the ending is horrendously inappropriate.
Q67- Indicate a student should answer a question by pointing at them, purely because you can't pronounce their name.
Q69- Bitch about a co-worker until you realise they are standing in the door.
Q73- Mask a hangover with silent reading.
Q74- Dream about teaching.
Q77- Get smashed while marking, then look at the unintelligible comments the next morning.
Q78- Try and claim to a class that you didn't in fact swear; that thirty children misheard you.
Q79- Complain about paperwork for so long that you do no paperwork.
Q83- Witness a colleagues nervous breakdown
Q84- Witness your own nervous breakdown.
Q89- Confuse identical twins.
Q90- Be appalled by students' clothing.
Q91- Ignore a student's question on purpose because you don't know the answer
Q93- Display your personal emails on a whiteboard.
Q99- Fake every possible signature in an assessment file.
Q100- GIN

Thanks to a number of unnamed helpers who, if reading this, will know instantly who they are. 

Once Upon a Beginning

I am not a great teacher. It was watching the National Teaching awards last night that this, long-held, suspicion was confirmed. I am a walking catastrophe. I make mistakes. I accidentally swear while coaching extra-curricular sport. I forget meetings. I struggle to learn names. I break a hundred health and safety guidelines a day. I made a fourteen year old boy cry.
This blog should be a refuge for those of you like me who, for all your enthusiasm and compassion, make mistakes. Submissions are more than welcome and will be kept sticktly anonymous. We don't want anyone getting fired now do we?!