Send in the military

It’s not all fun and games, but for our last week of the college term it was. We played an Ostrich racing game in ICT, received a science lesson in sex education, via ‘Mummy laid an egg’ and made farmyard animal noises in Phonics. I also learnt my next placement will be with a Year 4 class in a school, a tube, train and bus ride away. Along with juggling assignments, a flat move, interviews and job applications, I chose a great week to give up swearing.

From a 1900 dictionary we discovered the words ‘skort’ and ‘bimboy’ and that they had ‘bumbags’ ‘mad cow disease’ and ‘fatwas’ back then too. To give us a little perspective, one of the former students gave a talk about how she’d completed the course pregnant and with a part-time job teaching children who only spoken Sri Lankan Tamil. I guess the sex education lesson arrived a little too late for her and she couldn’t be arsed to learn Tamil fluently.

While some of the class hawked mint-condition text books to the new students, I plodded on with the assignments. I learnt about the teacher who discovered a child in her class had coulrophobia (a fear of clowns). The appearance of a clown on the whiteboard was enough for the child to leap out of the nearest window. Another story involved a child who proudly told his teacher he wanted to be a drug dealer when he grew up. He at least showed an active interest in Chemistry.

By the end of another long day in the library I somehow found myself reading about the ‘source attribution of black carbon in arctic snow’ and admitted it was time to stop. One of our lecturers had signed off her day with a message in simple terms to the class. “You’re adults” she said “you know you’re adults. Yet when you come into the class, you regress back to being like children. I don’t want to treat you like children. I’d prefer to treat you like adults”.  She suggested a course of ritalin to the worst offenders. As she talked, one girl sent repeated text messages from her phone. Who’d be a teacher?


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