Ten Things That Teaching Has Taught Me

image1. I have more patience than I ever believed possible. As somebody who possessses a nasty temper when pushed, I’ve surprised myself by usually being able to remain calm and speak in a slow, positive tone even when faced with the most challenging of behaviours. Usually.

2. I am capable of adapting to unforeseen circumstances at the last minute.

3. I am never too old to be able to learn new things and develop skills, and I enjoy doing so. Continue reading

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Social Media: When Teachers Become The Targets

It was reported in the news today that the number of teachers facing abuse via social media has more than doubled over the last year, with staff being subjected to personal and professional insults and pictures and videos of them being uploaded without their consent. Worse still, 40% of this online abuse came from parents.

Only two days ago, a picture of a very attractive maths teacher went viral – one of his students at UCL had discovered that he also worked as a model and the student had taken a picture in the classroom and uploaded it to his social media sites. It seemed to be taken in a light-hearted manner and jokes were being made about suddenly developing an interest in algebra, but I was really annoyed on his behalf. The poor teacher may have been absolutely mortified. The question I asked that day to my Facebook friends was this: Continue reading

Excuses, Excuses

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Every registration in a morning is the same process: register students, check uniform, check stationery, give announcements, ask individuals to stay behind if they’ve got it wrong. I like to speak to them individually as it’s impossible to predict whether something bad has happened outside school, so it provides students to opportunity to talk without their peers being present. I like my tutor group and I have a good relationship with them so I find that we can talk to each other easily, but I do often have the same conversations and say the same things every single day to students:

“Why are you late?”

“Why don’t you have a pen?”

“Where’s your tie?”

“Why did you get a detention for…”

 

I’m also frustrated at hearing the same excuses every day:

“I woke up late”

“I forgot my PE kit so I had to go home and get it”

“I went to the toilet”

“I lost my bag”

The excuses are never original, the only difference being that it is a different child daily that gives them and after hearing them repeatedly for years I feel like I should be in the ‘Groundhog Day.’ These conversations are always followed by sanctions and phone calls home.

However, occasionally something will snap me awake and make me smile:

A few weeks before ago one of my tutor group was late. She’s twelve and I had seen her walking into school about thirty minutes before school started, so I already knew that her lateness was caused by her messing around on the yard with her friends. I decided to take a different approach with her. This was how the conversation genuinely went:

Me: Why are you late?

Child: (Thought for a bit) I had to take my little sister to school.

Me: Oh, I didn’t know you had a little sister. How old is she?

Child: Six.

Me: What school is she at?

Child: (named a school that is miles away).

Me: So if I were to go and ring your mother now she’d back you up?

Child: No, I’ve just remembered, I didn’t take my sister to school.

Me: Why did you tell me you did?

Child: I had a dream that I took my sister to school. I was confused.

Me: So you’re late because you had a dream you took your sister to school?

Child: Yes, I mean, no.

Me: So why were you late?

Child: I was on the yard and didn’t hear the whistle.

Me: Why didn’t you say that in the first place?

Child: (shrugs shoulders) dunno.

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Most original and yet pointless excuse ever. Perhaps I should have showed her this quote:

“It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.” ― George Washington

What about you guys? What’s the best lie you’ve ever been told by a child?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and don’t forget to check out my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks

 

Useless Things I Learned in School

One of the benefits of the British Education System is that students are offered lots of opportunities to be introduced to new subjects and ideas and as a teacher I believe that a well-rounded education and a love of learning is important. However, not everything that we learn will have a useful impact on our adult lives, and these will differ depending on our strengths, interests and career choices. Sixteen years after I left school, here are some of the things that I learned and have not used since. Continue reading

How To Survive Your NQT Year

It’s the end of summer and in a few days time I will be sitting in the school theatre, surrounded by my colleagues. Among them will be faces that I’m not familiar with, sitting awkwardly in their new departments, making polite conversation about their summer adventures and desperately trying to hide the fact that they are terrified.

These people are the Newly Qualified Teachers. They’ve successfully completed their training year, whether it be a PGCE, GTP or equivalent, and they are now likely to be in a role of responsibility for the first time. Continue reading

Inspection Exhaustion

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Meh

My absence (hence the amount of reblogs and my lack of replies to your comments) recently has been due to the fact that my school has been undergoing a massive inspection. It isn’t the dreaded OFSTED, but may has well have been – my school is an outstanding Academy and therefore we also have routine inspections from the company that sponsors it. To say that I am exhausted is an understatement.

I don’t believe in ‘show’ lessons – I don’t plan anything that I wouldn’t normally deliver on a daily basis – but the added stress of triple checking paperwork to ensure that it is correct has resulted in about ten hours sleep in the last few days. I had everything in place and organised into specific folders, I printed off plans, seating plans, important information about individual students and overviews of the content of the lesson. I went into work earlier each day, making sure that everything was set up to the highest possible standard. The anticipation of everything gave me an enormous loss of appetite.

I wasn’t observed.

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Double meh

It’s always a double – edged sword in situations like this – I’m pleased that I wasn’t seen as the process is quite nerve-racking, but at the same time I was a little disappointed as I had some awesome lessons over the last few days and I spent hours printing off paperwork that I didn’t need to. However, I’ve watched some of my colleagues go through the process with various inspectors and I was pleased for them when the general feedback has been really good. In my last observation I was given an ‘Outstanding,’ so I was concerned that there would be a high level of expectation from an inspector entering my classroom and so I have been extremely tense for the last few days, so the plan for this evening is simply to relax and do absolutely nothing. I’ve been doing quite well on the diet that I started at the beginning of the year, but tonight I am going to indulge in some hot, buttered toast and a chocolate bar the size of my face.

Normal blogging will resume at the weekend, when I’ve got through tomorrow’s lessons and choir and caught up on some sleep and I’ll get on with replying to the fantastic comments that you’ve been leaving recently. In the meantime, don’t forget to check out the blogs that I am advertising at the minute on my sidebar – simply click on the buttons for links to their sites. I promise it will be worth your time.

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @Suzie81blog – I’d love to see you there!

Image credit 1: tucoo.com
Image credit 2: lolwall

Twenty-One Ways To Annoy Your Teacher

Inspired by the latest Freshly Pressed post from The Trombonist’s Mouthpiece, I started thinking about things that irritate me within the classroom on a daily basis. I’ve been a qualified music teacher for seven years now and at times I think I’ve seen and heard it all. I work in a fabulous school with amazing staff and supportive management, but there are still a few occasions where I am still caught off-guard. Most of these are from my own personal experiences or things that my teacher friends have told me over the years. Continue reading

How You Know When You’re A Teacher

How you know when You're a teacher

Updated August 2018, originally published July 2013

1. Regardless of where you are – shopping, the cinema, in a restaurant, even on a beach on holiday – you’ll almost always hear ‘Hi Miss/Sir’ or hear your name shouted out at you and instantly know that a student is standing in the immediate vicinity. The event of this happening is even more likely when you’re wearing your scruffy clothes and haven’t washed your hair.

2. You are called ‘Mum/Dad’ accidentally at least ten times a day.

3. You’ve learnt not to complain about your job to your non-teacher friends as this will always elicit a ‘but you get three months off a year, you have it so easy’ response from them and you don’t wish to get into yet another confrontation while you’re trying to drink your cocktail.

4. Excitement can be found in the discovery of attractive stationery, and hours of fun can be had purchasing supplies before the start of a new term – ring bindersPost-it notes , biros and multipacks of highlighters are some of the favourites. You also know which are the best whiteboard pens to use and are highly protective of lending them out to coworkers as you know you’ll never get them back. Continue reading