Monday, 4 April 2011


Had a nice and quiet weekend in London. Went to yoga in the mornings and did a little shopping with Josephine in the afternoons. It was a nice weekend as it is getting quite mild here, mid teens in the afternoons. Spring is finally here!
Monday morning came too quickly, as usual.  I am already booked for Tuesday, Thursday and Friday this week, so had to do the on-call this morning.  They let me know around 7 that they thought they had a day of secondary for me. A school that I had been to once before, way back in September they thought.  Well instantly my mind flashed back to my secondary day where the one girl tossed the other over a table and the cringing began.  I normally don't worry too much heading out for my on-call days, but as soon as they say secondary I can't help but feel some nerves.  Not particularly about the actual work, more because you never know what kind of kids you will get... and I was right to cringe!
It turned out that it was not the girl throwing school, but I was not out of the woods. The day actually started quite nicely as I was informed that I had the first period free to read my book in the staffroom.  Then my day went like this: Spanish 8, break, English 9, Spanish 9 (opposite sides of the school), lunch, double block of Spanish 10.  Not sure why they think I can speak Spanish, but luckily it is close enough to French that I can figure out the worksheets they leave for me to give the students.
Looking at the register lists I know that the first 2 blocks will be the worst, big classes. The following 3 blocks have only 12 students in each class. So already I know that once I make it to lunch I should be alright. However, making it to lunch was the task.
Spanish 8 went pretty good. Kids were very loud and very few got work done, but I kept them in their seats and they were civil to me for the most part.  Then I trekked to the other side of the school for English 9. Words cannot express my dislike for these "children". I put it in quotations because they barely qualify for the pleasure of being labelled with this word and its implications of kindness and innocence.  These kids will not even be quiet enough for me to take the register.  I try to yell over them to tell them their assignment but soon give this up as a futile effort.  So now my main task is to try and keep them seated and relatively under control.  Also near impossible when two boys decide that they are going to take friendly poking up a notch to chasing each other around the room slapping each other. And now it is escalating further.  I am following them demanding they sit down but my voice seems to be of a register that they cannot hear.  Finally, just as I am almost smacked in the face by a hand intending to slap his friend, I tell another student to go get the hallway support.  They come back and inform me that this teacher is away for the next 5 minutes or so. Fabulous.
I find out their names from a jaded kid who clearly cannot stand any of his classmates, and write them up, knowing that this is really all the power that I have.
The boys finally settle things themselves and head back to their seats.  Now one of them decides to turn on me.  He starts lipping me off telling me that I am a terrible teacher and that I can't even teach and I'm doing nothing. Blah, blah. Not proud, but something in me snapped. I couldn't believe he was saying this. Both boys were a good 4 inches taller than me and huge, what was I supposed to do, jump on their backs until they sat down them force feed them the textbook? So I turned to him and said, "Well, it's not easy teaching ignorant people."  And there it was, not even lunchtime and I was standing in the middle of this chaotic classroom, almost in tears and having just called a student ignorant. Wow, inspiring teacher!
I almost cheered out loud when the bell finally sounded and the kids stampeded out of the room.  I tidied the classroom and made my way to the other side of the school only to find some familiar faces in Spanish 9. Luckily my two new friends not included!
As expected, the classes of 12 were much more manageable, though still not productive. I have survived another Monday and am more than glad that I get the next four Mondays off thanks to spring break and Easter and a bank holiday!
Four more possible teaching days. Six more days until my cousin comes. Nine more days until Amsterdam. Fifteen more days until Edinburgh. Twenty nine more days until Prague.
Luckily, many things to look forward to.

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