The Blackboard Jungle

days spent beating back the seeds of doubt

Monday, October 24, 2005

My school’s computers won’t let me blog…so sorry for the delay.

I gave my first lesson today (well, that was last week)!! A very well behaved mixed ability year 7 class – and I loved it. I enjoyed the drama and performance side of trying to make what is rather a dull subject – area and perimeter – sound a bit more fun than just length x width. The teachers in my school are so supportive – guiding rather than leading, gently making suggestions and bolstering our egos and confidence all the way. After half term I have four lessons to prepare for my first week for classes ranging from year 8 to 11; the older ones will certainly tax me in that I will need to really know the subject well, I can’t hope to flannel my way through their GCSE’s!

It has been surprising to me what the children DON’T know by say, age 11 or 12 – things that I am sure we were doing when I was in primary – but maybe what is happening is that they do, say, fractions in primary and then again in secondary over and over until the message sticks…perhaps what happened with us was that if we didn’t get it the first time that was our first and last chance?

Anyway, The children are saying hello in the corridor, the teachers haven’t eaten us in the staff room, we have a couple of weeks more of college and then back here again. None of the three student teachers want to go back to college, we all want to stay here and carry on with the children.

Last day of the two week session was an INSET day. Outsiders “those who do not teach” are only aware of these if a) they have children and in ensuing child care hassles or b) they are drivers surprised by the sudden and joyous lack of traffic! It was quite an eye opener – lots of teacher moaning about how boring the lectures were, how they didn’t understand the task, talking about what they were going to do at half term…a familiar pattern?

Back in college today I find that not everyone has had such a well supportive first session in school. I am shocked to hear that some teachers see having the students there as an opportunity to offload the work. In contrast my own mentor is only further overworked by having to molly coddle me! She will no doubt be glad of the break.