Friday, 10 February 2012

Yin Yang

A simple and beautiful piece of symmetry.

Half term

It's finally here. That sweet moment when the holidays arrive. Part of the reason that we started to be teachers in the first place. That promise of a week off here, a couple of weeks off there. Sweet joy.

Well it is indeed sweet but generally I arrive at this point like a broken man. A bedraggled lost soul returning from war. Today is no different, although I ended the term on a high note. I had a brilliant final lesson with a lovely year seven class and got lots of loose ends tied up.

This half term doesn't promise much in the way of a holiday mind. I have a stack of books home to mark which I estimate will take 30 hours if I go at them in a professional manner. It's basically a working week but at least I can get some sleep and non contact time always recharges the batteries.

The last few weeks has been intense. Trying to drag year 10's and 11's towards project their hair sometimes. Things have been going well though. Constant calls for them to come to after school sessions to work on their coursework finally filtered in and for the past two weeks and every afternoon after registration, before I could even have a cup of tea, my room would be packed with them all sawing and hammering and constantly asking for shit. Be careful for what you wish for. My working day now starts at 6:30 and ends 12 hours later.

The stuff they write down on their coursework is a damn disgrace though. Total gibberish on the whole. Shocking and painful and worrying and laughably hilarious all at the same time.

Myself and my colleague did end the day creasing ourselves at a drawing from one of our year 11 students. The sort of the insane giggles you get when you are sleep deprived and on the edge.

The piece is a classic image from a bygone era. An era I remember well. A simpler time.

A time when peoples heads were perfectly round and could be drawn with a pair of compasses.

Monday, 6 February 2012


Sometimes when a lesson is in full swing interactions happen as if you had scripted them. These are the moments that I need to try and hang on to with this blog because they come in the middle of a maelstrom and more often than not they are forgotten.

Yesterday last period with my year nines the students were creating a template, then using Coping saws to cut out a shape from a piece of Pine. The class was going well and the normally very boisterous lot were working well and enjoying themselves. I was properly teaching them things. This might seem a silly thing to say from a teacher but quite often it feels like you spend the majority of your week pouring water onto a well oiled Duck.

One boy who I will call Teddy is quite an interesting lad. I don't know him that well but he is quite funny and has his own sort of unusual attitude to lessons and learning. He refuses to do either but somehow does that in an amusing slightly endearing way. Hard to express that in writing.

Yesterday this manifested itself in him saying "sir I can't draw this shape" and "sir I can't cut that out". I helped him with some things and told him that actually he could do those things. I left him for a bit then he came back with the same lines again.

I was attempting get a girl to do some work (she was holding an ice pack to her hand because she had punched a wall at lunchtime) but i was having a laugh and a joke with her. Teddy shouts across the noisy, busy workshop "Sir I can't do this cutting bit"

I decided to take a different approach and sort of more to his table and the girl I was talking to said "Teddy the amount of times I have heard you say the word 'can't' today is ridiculous! 'I can't do this' and you 'can't do that'. I think that actually you CAN do the things you are complaining about you just can't be bothered. I don't want to hear you say you 'can't' anymore"

Teddy (still fiddling with the saw and not really looking at me) "I can't hear what you are saying sir"

The girl and me and most of Teddy's table burst out laughing.