The Blackboard Jungle

days spent beating back the seeds of doubt

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Fire alarm on Thursday. My year 7 looking a mixture of excited and afraid – they can see from the teachers, and the fact that it is raining, that this isn’t a drill – so maybe it is real and that’s a bit scary. They ask me how long they will be there – stood in the rain in the yard – and I can’t tell them, which worries them, but do tell them to wrap up warm. The tiny little boys in year seven look very cold – please, please wrap your kid up warm when you send them to school.

We have a problem with some year 7 girls – it’s hard to really tell what is going on, who is right or wrong or whether indeed there is a right and wrong – but one little girl approached me after registration to tell me that her mate was staying off school because another year 7 girl was picking on her. I reassured the wee lass that she had done well to talk to me – she’s a nice girl – and felt like a proper pastoral carer not just a subject teacher. The school take this sort of thing very seriously and the head of year had chatted to all concerned before the end of first period. It’s easy for me to label the least pleasant of the girls concerned as the troublemakers…but I have to remember that there are two sides and the importance of not labelling a kid at year 7 for the rest of their time in the school.

Snowed out on Friday. The school is open but half the teachers can’t make it in, what with living in lovely remote middle class villages. I was stuck in my village surrounded on all sides by either 45 degree hills or impassable narrow roads (which are oddly surrounded by fields higher than the road, causing run off which freezes…) – freed by lunchtime but I had no lessons so stayed home and marked GCSE test-run papers.

First formal lesson evaluation went well – until now my mentor has been helpfully pointing out my shortcomings so it was nice to have the good bits acknowledged.

My mission for this week is a) to try and get a plenary fitted into my lessons, and b) to work on my IT skills – trying to use the Interactive Whiteboard more interestingly.

That is so long as a plague of locusts don’t descend…after all, we’ve had flood, fire, snow – what’s next?