Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Are You Sure You Are In My Class?

Just before the end of term I was followed around by that most rarest of thing: A new teacher. This endangered species, under threat as it is by the scaremongering of the popular teaching press, the strong arm of the unions, and a tortoise on a pole, is a beautiful polished surface with which a teacher of some relative long-toothedness can reflect upon their own practice. I did reflect upon my own practice, and deemed that, in many ways, I am not quite as awful as I had previously believed. 

There was one thing, however, that struck through my heart (and you’re to blame). I was sat, nonchalantly watching my pet new teacher with year ten and I looked at a student. This student was sat, quite quietly scribbling down notes, in a seat that I realised is in an almost total blind spot from my desk. She is a beautiful living stereotype of an invisible student: small, plain looking and quiet and as such, of course, I have no idea what her name is. Even with the register at hand I had difficulty choosing between two or three similar quiet girls. It required the expected us of the blessed class photo option on SIMS to finally identify her and, to be perfectly honest, even that was somewhat tough.

I think there is a lesson in this anonymity. Perhaps it should be common practice for every teacher to watch someone else teach their class purely so that they can spot the little eccentricities of daily class life that just fly their tiny wings underneath the radar. I teach, as I imagine many of you do, about 150 different, individual, hormonal, stinking,shrieking, bags of desperate flesh a week. It's easy to miss the nice quiet ones unless you look at them from a different angle.

1 comment:

  1. Having that opportunity is going to be the problem of course. Having been a visitor in many classrooms both formally & informally, it is amazing what can surprise you!

    Julia Skinner (@theheadsoffice)