Face the front please!

By way of an introduction to this blog, I thought I would provide a brief potted history of how I came to be entering the world of teaching. I have the most Welsh person I’ve ever encountered, to thank for this. I visited the ‘Train to Teach‘ seminar at the Science Museum back in April last year. One of the lectures was presented by a headmaster ‘from the valleys’ in South Wales. He was so incredibly Welsh, I even thought he could be a method actor immersing himself in the role. If so, I intended to take the interval as an opportunity to encourage him to “tone down the Welshness” as it was bordering on stereotype.

He was a first class orator and extremely passionate about teaching. I would go as far as to say he could encourage anyone to go into teaching, even if they had never considered it. This man didn’t rely on any gimmicks, just stories from his own experiences and concise, relevant information. Another teacher, incidentally, came bounding onto the stage altering the lyrics to Alice Cooper’s ‘Schools Out’ with “Schools In, for you guys!”), to be greeted with indifference or embarrassment.

Casting an eye around the room, it was a healthy mix of age ranges and ethnical backgrounds and I wondered who from my peers would eventually become a teacher. I also wondered what kind of teachers they would be. Some were slovenly in appearance so I imagined them being the kind of “hey you kids…you kids just be cool…” type of teacher, to the more fastidious in their appearance, who I imagined having a complete nervous breakdown at the first sign of classroom bedlam.

Then I found myself wondering what kind of teacher I will be. I suspect a little bit like both of the previous examples. I want desperately to be liked but smother my fragile ego with a highly developed sardonic sense of humour. One thing I hope to develop from teaching is a thicker skin, to be able to rise above any unconstructive criticism from either kids or parents. Behaviour management is the one thing that strikes a note of trepidation in me, particularly upon reading alarmist reports in the press.

One guy in particular caught my eye, he looked like a throwback to ‘Miami Vice’, with blonde hair wrenched back into a ponytail, kept in place with a pencil (already I thought of him as a potential stationery thief). He wore a sandy brown coloured suit and asked several questions, which only served to provide the attendees with as much autobiographical information as possible. “I’ve been to (list of countries he’d visited ad nauseum) how do you think the education system in England is different?”. I could imagine him being the kind of teacher who is only too keen to teach the class about himself and his world view, with scant attention to the curriculum. All the while each anecdote making the poor teaching assistant’s eyes roll so continuously, they resemble having an epilectic fit. I have a very overactive imagination at times.

In future posts I will elaborate further on my new role and my initial impressions of it. I will expand upon my journey into teaching, including my previous experiences at schools. I will recount the bizarre situations I’ve experienced and provide examples of obscure questions I’ve been asked (including an explanation to my blog title ‘Are you an alien?’).

I’ll also write about the boy I will be providing specialized care to, when I begin my teaching assistant position in a few days time. This may emphasise why behaviour management could be a particular area for me to develop as soon as possible. I also hope to write about the wider frustrating, upsetting, contentious and exciting educational issues.

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