Tuesday, 21 February 2012

No Two Days...

...are the same in the world of education. It's one of the good things about teaching, that you never know what the day will bring. This is because despite all the planning and theories and the ideas and strategies, an uncertain element always appears in the shape of 'the children' and they are very uncertain elements indeed.

'Are they like Turner's elephants?' says Mrs Slocombe.
'No,' I say. 'Sometimes I think I'd prefer to be on the sea in a storm with an elephant or two, rather than in a classroom with a bunch of testy Year 11s who have just realised they've got 63 days left of their school careers and it's a bit late to start thinking about doing some useful work.'
'Is it really?' says Mrs Slocombe, who herself is very keen on the notion of 'Life Long Learning' and has just started a course in furniture renovation because she is sure I'm never going to get around to revamping my Gran's sewing box and has ideas of performing decoupage upon it.
'Well, pretty much,' I say, 'although I did make a bet with one of the Year 11 boys today.'
'Oh yes?' says Mrs S. 'Involving what?'
'An A* grade in return for a skateboarding hat,' I say.
'A skateboarding hat?' says Mrs Slocombe. 'One can purchase a specific hat for skateboarding?'
'Apparently so,' I say. 'I forget what they are called but they cost £30.'
'And you said you'd buy him one if he got an A*?' says Mrs S.
'No,' I say. 'He started it. He said 'If I get an A* in my English exam, will you get me a skateboarding hat?' and I said that if he got an A* I'd buy him TWO skateboarding hats. I have to say,' I admit, 'that I felt a tad guilty when his eyes lit up like beacons, because his chance of getting a top grade are about the same as...'
'You going out to sea in a storm on a boat with two elephants?' finishes Mrs Slocombe.
'Exactly,' I say. 'But he started it AND, I have to say, if he'd have worked hard from the start of the course and not been such an immature, mouthy and lazy little baggage, I wouldn't have been so certain of my bet.'
'Do you think he'll still go for it?' says Mrs Slocombe.
'Not sure,' I say. 'I think he was genuinely tempted, and we shook hands to show I was serious about the bet. He wanted to know how much extra work he'd need to put in between now and the exam, and I said about two hours a day, and his shiny beacon eyes started to dim a bit and he said it would cut into his skateboarding time, and I said, what price a skateboarding hat?'
'Thirty pounds wasn't it?' says Mrs S.
'That's not what I meant,' I say. 'I was being figurative.'
'Oh,' says Mrs Slocombe. 'So, what else happened today in the zany world of teaching?'

I sit back and sigh. We've just had pancakes and I am feeling a bit stuffed but pleasantly stuffed as I think pancakes sit rather well with my constitution.

'Well,' I say. 'My sixth form appalled me AGAIN by not knowing about the tradition of eloping to Gretna Green to get married, and I explained the origin of the phrase 'letting the cat out of the bag' through the medium of dance.'
'What were you teaching?' says Mrs S.
'Pride and Prejudice,' I say. 'You had to be there for it to make sense. And another of my Year 11 boys plied me with half a bar of Galaxy chocolate. I tried to turn it down but he was insistent. And it was okay to eat because it was a fresh and untouched by human hands bar. And my Year 10s had a very heated debate about racism because we are studying 'Of Mice and Men', and one of them fell off his chair, I don't know why. Boomff - suddenly, there he was gone. And one of my tutor group invented a kebab pancake which I said sounded disgusting so she said how about she add some jelly babies and I said that made it even worse for us vegetarians because jelly babies are non-veggie on account of the gelatine. I explained what gelatine was, but I think she got the wrong end of the stick because I heard her telling her mate later on that jelly babies have got meat in them.'
'It sounds very complicated,' says Mrs Slocombe.
'And then after school I helped a student with his audition piece for 'A Midsummer Night's Dream,' I say. 'I was flinging myself about a bit by this stage of the day, and he was looking at me like I was mad.'
'P'raps he was looking at you with inspired awe,' says Mrs Slocombe.
'Highly unlikely,' I say. 'But it made me think that tomorrow I'll go and offer my services to help with the production. I haven't done anything properly dramary since producing 'Little Shop of Horrors' at my last school.'
'You could audition for Titania!' says Mrs S.
'That's just crazy talk,' I say. 'Me? Queen of the Fairies? Queen of Trying to Maintain Her Sanity more like. I was thinking more along the lines of in a back-stage capacity.'
'Anything else?' says Mrs Slocombe.
'Don't think so,' I say. 'Scared a Year 10 in the corridor. Unintentionally, I hasten to add. Oh, and I was offered a permanent teaching position today, so I must be doing something right if they want to keep me on.'
'That's good,' says Mrs Slocombe.
'I'll say,' I say, because I really wasn't looking forward to the mind-numbing process of filling in loads of application forms and praying for interviews. 'Because I feel I can now go on a book spending spree on Amazon.'

'Go to it!' says Mrs S.
'I shall!!' I say.


LynneFtWorth said...

what a day! Congratulations on your permanent position.

Denise said...

Thank you very much. It was a relief, and quite nice to feel wanted, too!