I always suspected that working in a mostly female dominated workplace that I might get picked up sooner or later. What I didn’t expect was to be literally picked up off the floor by someone. As I entered the staff room I thought that a female member of staff was given a male member of staff the Heimlich manoeuvre. In fact she was lifting him up after someone had suggested she couldn’t.
Just for the fact I’d entered the room at the wrong time made it my turn next. She lifted me with some ease and as teachers always like a challenge, she’s promised next to put us both under each arm and run across the playground to the tune of ‘You raise me up’ by Westlife. This could catch on.
I needed a pick me up after the slog of report writing. I deliberately left the child that’s irritated me the most till last, as by then I was so relieved to finish I gave him a glowing report. Next year I suggest letting the kids write their own, although I can already foresee a problem “Umm little Johnny I don’t remember saying you were a genius and Master of the Universe?”
Report writing requires care and thought. With children names such as ‘Supreme’ and ‘Miracle’ (not sisters) you are aware of the parents’ delicate egos at stake. They tell you that nothing in the report should surprise a parent. Well the ‘space cadet’ in my class received the only report that might make a child cry but it was justified. He timed it perfectly by shaving one eyebrow off just as the reports were due. At least he will only look half as surprised at its content.
Everything needs to be carefully worded. I was going to compliment one child on her ‘infectiousness’ but this could be interpreted as her being poisonous or toxic (the parent once mistook me saying ‘low ability’ as ‘a liability’). The chasm between the abilities becomes clear too as you work your way through it. The next step targets for the children range from ‘splitting the atom’ to ‘showing a reflex response to a loud bang’. A mixed ability match made in heaven?
The onus is on avoiding mistakes too. A proof read showed up that I’d missed the full stop from the sentence ‘must avoid careless errors through a lack of attention (such as forgetting a full stop)’. Criticism will be inevitable though, especially from the more driven parents. “I noticed you’ve said my daughter “cannot yet create and control a rhythmic pattern with a strong sense of pulse in her music class”. Why not? What are you teaching her? Is this pulse available to buy?”
These are the same parents whose children had already completed the SATs exams at home, thus negating any opportunity to use it to show a level. I spent the week trying to work out who the SATs papers-dealer outside school was. I looked for a dark, shadowy figure lurking around parents muttering “what do you need? what do you need? I got 2007 Reading Comprehension, 2009 Mental Maths, Year 4 optional stats…I can sort you out”
Thanks to social networking sites you can gauge how other teachers are getting on. If they’ve reached “Level 16 in the Candy Crush Saga” or “raised a chicken on Farmsville” you can guess they’re finding it as tedious as you are.
We finished the week attempting to make Olympic athletes from clay. Most ended up looking like a starfish that’s been run over by a mountain bike. Others lost limbs along the way. I saved their childhood tears by assuring them they could still enter the Paralympics.