Pick us, Miss, pick us! Look how neatly we have lidded our marker pens! And see our flip-chart of ideas – a thing of beauty, too, in many colours, to which we all contributed collaboratively, working as a team…
Apart, that is, for the cow who teaches at – well, you know the one. Her anyway. Didn’t want to come on the course in the first place. Thought ‘Schemas in the Under Sevens’ was going to be about curriculum plans and not fannying around with a load of bricks. The only thing that’s stopping her playing with a mobile phone is that they’ve not yet been invented. We’d be better off teaching six year olds to name parts of speech, according to her. What a dinosaur!
Today I am covering Mrs Grenfell’s class and am under instructions to lead a discussion on different sorts of airborne travel: aeroplanes, helicopters, rockets and the like.
“I have something sad to tell you about Mrs Sugarsprinkles,” I start. The children glance at Mrs Sugarsprinkles, who attempts to look grave. “At the weekend,” I continue, “she got stuck on a desert island.” I draw on the whiteboard a stick figure with a sad face and long hair, standing by herself under a tree on a small island. I add some surrounding sea and sharks fins, in an attempt to rack up the excitement. Bit of a masterpiece, if I say so myself. Continue reading →
“I’m sorry to have to tell you that I’m leaving.”
Oh no! Mrs Franklin has been Headteacher of Thrush Woods for just four terms, but we all really like her. This is bad news. I put down my cutlass and rummage in my frock-coat for a tissue. Mrs Franklin is also wiping away tears with one of her patchwork ears.
Just putting finishing touches to tomorrow’s post. In the meantime…
“So I called the boys into my office and we had a very stern conversation about swearing in the playground … the need for the oldest children in the school to act as good role models … the consequences should this behaviour recur. Then I sent them off to apologise to the dinner ladies.
“I watched them walk down the corridor and, as they turned the corner, Yob 1 turned to Yob 2 and, um, did this …”
We’re jumping into a pile of leaves under the big conker tree at the corner of the playground; me and a handful of dots. The colours glow in the late afternoon sun and, once we’ve finished jumping, me and the dots, we start to choose our favourite leaves. We run our fingers over the veins, the shape, the edges. We compare colours, textures, smell. It’s a rather magical way to spend time on an October afternoon. And I’m being paid for it!
This weekend, I have been trying to blog about the refugee crisis. Indeed, I actually finished a blog this morning, but when I read it back it was just too trite and banal for something so horribly complex and difficult. So I deleted it.
And blogging about anything else at the moment feels like rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.
Shall we talk about The Archers instead?
Or I could tell you about trying to stem the flow of blood from Marigold’s nose this afternoon, while we waited for the Welfare Officer.
“She likes patterns.”
There is a general nodding, particularly from the distaff side of the class. “She wears a lot of patterns,” confirms one ten year old fashionista.
“And stripes,” adds another.
“And chunky jewellery.”
I write ‘patterns and stripes’ on the white board and the class won’t let me rest until I have added ‘chunky jewellery’. Then we try and think of further inspiration for our dormant muses. For, while Mrs Berry is at her daughter’s graduation, Class Five and I are sneakily preparing the farewell book which we will be her present at the end of term, when she sets sail to become Deputy Head of Woolly Meadows Primary School.
“It was normal for people over thirty to be frightened of their children. And with good reason…”
(Orwell – Nineteen Eighty-Four)
“Time for our news books – I want you to draw me a picture of something that you did at the weekend and then – using your sounds – to have a go at writing a sentence or two underneath.”
(Every teacher of young children, everywhere.)