Sunday, 8 March 2009

Flat earth

Well it's been a while since I have shared anything about how the teaching is going. Well pretty shite really is probably the truth of the matter.

The temporary workshop (the solitary one between the whole department), the lack of permanent staff, the leaking roof, useless computer system and general disorganised nature of the proceedings has really started to get me down. Particularly as I got hit with a week of being ill with a particularly foul cold.

The plus points are that its started to get light when I leave in the morning and my cycle is much more pleasant for it. Spring feels like its here or at least just around the corner. That however means that its no time at all till loads of important stuff needs to be handed in by the GCSE and Btec students which means added pressure on me. I'm only just becoming fully aware of this fact now. There is a quite a lot of expectation on my shoulders and sometimes I feel like saying "come on guys I'm still learning this shit". I'm glad that they have thrust responsibility onto me at such an early stage in my career but sometimes I feel that I may be skipping a natural settling in period.

Anyway enough navel gazing.

Just before half term we had a special year eight day of PHSE (personal health and social education). It was called Guidance when I was at school. Anyway it was basically sex and drugs and rock and roll. Or sex and drugs and knife crime in our case.

We had outside companies come in to do some interactive plays: one about sex education (teenage pregnancy) and a talk on sexual health (condom on a dildo), I gave a talk on alcohol abuse (whilst downing sambucas) and the most interesting of all was an ex armed robber called Bill who gave a chat about carrying knives.

Bill was a heftily proportioned armed robber (who was apparently put away for 4 years for being part of the Heathrow Bullion robbery a few years ago) gave a brilliant talk to my form about why they shouldn't carry knives. Troy in my form did amazingly well to give the wrong answer to every question he asked and so play perfectly into his hands.

"Does anyone think carrying a knife is a good thing?"

Up goes Troy's hand.

"Who here has carried or carries a knife?"

Up goes Troy's hand.

"What would you do if I came at you with this knife?"

"Kick you in the balls"

...and so it went on.

It was perfect for the Bill. Shooting fish in the barrel but very worthwhile for my year eights. It did occur to me that for some of them it was very shocking and graphic (pictures of a girl stabbed in the top of her head) and before they were ready for it. They are just kids after all. However for Troy and some others it couldn't have been at a better time. They are right at the age where they have the chance of losing their life if they carry a knife. Indeed the brother of a boy at this school was murdered very recently.

The hour talk and q & a wasn't as oppressive as it may sound. There was some good humour and one particularly brilliant moment for me was a question of geography.

Troy had stated that it was good to carry a knife because if you go to another part of London there are people out to get you. The so called postcode war.

Bill said ok then "I'm from London so where do you think I am from in London".

"Who thinks I'm from east London?"

Most hands went up.

"What about South London?"

A large proportion of the rest put their hands up.

"North London?"

A couple put their hands up.

"Ok then what about West London?"

At this question a girl at the back called out in amazement..."Oh my god I didn't know there was a west London!"

Amazing. I'm not sure what she thought happened. Maybe when you got to Shepherds Bush everything just vanished and dropped away. Sort of like flat earth theory for the modern day.

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