Saturday, 13 November 2010

Am I Boring??

So, as my mother is kindly pointing out to people, I am poor right now - so don`t expect anything exciting.  Well, I may have spent my money in Paris and Dublin, and I may be counting down the hours until payday (48.5 hrs?) but I`m sure I can still come up with something interesting to say.
First I could start off with an apology.  It would seem people are feeling pressured to leave comments after my many pleadings, and people have even tried to comment and cannot. I guess you need a google account to comment - sorry, I will stop hassling you! But if there is something you REALLY want to say to me, or call me out on, you can send me an email :)
 In my penny-pinching state I did not get up to too much ``extra curricular`` this week per say, but I did work and that is always an adventure!
On Monday I was called back to the same school as last Monday (the one with the sugar-high kids and pretty murals). This time I was called to do year 1 - this is equivalent to kindergarten at home.  How it work is that when kids are 3 they go to Nursery. The following year the have Reception. And at five they start year 1. This is why the year is always one up from the grade back home. All kids age 5-16 must attend school, but state school is free from 3-18. So, as I`m sure you can guess, they all get sent to Nursery and Reception for us lucky teachers to take care of.
Back to my Monday. I get called in to year 1. I ususally do year 4+ but I`m not about to say no to work! My adventure getting to work was, unfortunately, a sign of things to come. I step out my door into rain and gusting wind - fun times. I am walking to the tube station as my agency is texting me directions.  The final text comes in and says `be sure to bring £5 for a taxi``. You`re kidding me right??!?! NOPE! So I have to turn around and run back to a corner store to take out some cash then hurry to the tube.  I get to the train and still have not received full directions so I don`t know what train to get on. I call the agency and as I`m about to ask when I need to call this taxi they hang up on me - not impressed! The taxi driver doesn`t know how to get to the school. Just a generally wet, windy and disastrous trek to school.
The day can only get better right??!!?!?! NOPE! I walk in the class and there is nothing prepared for me. That`s fine, often another teacher or the TA comes in about 20-25 mins before kids get there and give me something. Well no one seems to be coming. The only thing I have to work with a vague learning outcomes with nothing to support then. So for the morning literacy I have instruction to `get the children to identify sentence patterns from a story`- a story which is nowhere in sight. Ummm sure... I`ll get right on that??!
Then in walks a teacher who teaches 2 days in this room, just not Mondays, surely she can help me right??!!!?! NOPE (see the pattern?) She says she doesn`t know what it means either so how about I read the story and have the kids retell the story in their writing books. Simple enough right? Yeah, except that the kids are FIVE YEARS OLD and have never written directly in their own books before. Not to worry, she will come back at break and explain the maths. Well, she doesn`t come back and I`m on supervision anyway. I somehow survive maths (barely), I am making it up as I go and the kids are very noisy, but no one is killing or injuring anyone else, so I consider it a success.
At lunch the regular teacher finds me. Yup, she`s in the school and has still decided to feed me to the wolves.  She comes up with some activity for art that she has clearly pulled out of her - let`s say I could have come up with this one and I`ve never done year 1.. which also means that it is impossible for five year olds to do and is supposed to last 2 hours but I can only - very painfully- drag it out for 45 minutes. The kids are supposed to look at an ancient horn, draw it and write about what they think it is and why. I give an example with a drawing of a fish. ``I think it is a fish. It has a fin. It does not have legs``. So about 10 kids write I think it is a horn, many write random letters and numbers and the rest write I think it is a fish because that was what I wrote on the board...  The TA is on my side and we decide to let them bear their wrath upon the library, buying us some time.
I survive - barely - the rest of the day. Teacher 1 comes back at the end of the day and admits, basically, that I was screwed over with no plans or anything sensible to work with.. but I`m going to stay and correct their work right?!? It is part of my job. Needless to say I am super cheery as I do this, especially since this is work I had to make up on the fly, does not meet the learning outcomes, most kids could not even do! And since they are FIVE YEARS OLD, about 80% of it I can`t even read. I decide to hold my tongue as she points out how messy their entries are and with parent-teacher day coming up this concerns her... Well it concerns ME that you gave me work to do that they were not only incapable of doing but had never attempted before!
I finally make it back home exhausted, frustrated and freezing cold. And yet again I spend my Monday night dreaming of my wonderful polite, quiet Brethren children, where things are organized and I always know what I will be teaching :)

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