Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Maternal theme continued...

Kid 1: Your mum's so fat, when she turned over in bed her arse got burnt on the light bulb.

Kid 2: Sticks and stones may break my bones....
....and so does your mum when she sits on me.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Mum's the word

Today I achieved a milestone - I finally got called 'Mum' by a child.

Monday, 22 June 2009


Whenever anyone sneezes the cry goes out: "SWIIIIINE FLUUUU!!!" And that's the rest of the lesson ruined.

Saturday, 20 June 2009


Lots of them like to appear well 'ard. 'Arder than they really are. They do it by talking slang. Often to me -

Me: J, can you be quiet now please? I'm talking.
J: Allaiii, fam! I ain't even talkin'!
Me: Yes you were, now be quiet.
J: [Kisses teeth].

The other day I became rather tired of their slang and decided to spend the day talking back to the classes in their own style. I figure it's a language teacher thing. I would deliver the following instruction in a deliberately posh voice -

"Oi hush now, cuz. I've heard you talking for the last five minutes, blud. Man trying to give some instructions now, you get me? Jam your hype and hush your mouth, fam."

Much hilarity ensued. It probably distracted the adorable little children from the little work they were already doing, but it was funny at least. It also turned out to be an unusual, and therefore non-threatening, way of telling someone off for truanting. I caught RM and CD from my form running around outside of lessons when they shouldn't have been. I grabbed them both and said:

"Listen, bluds. I've clocked you both bunking for this lesson. You are both in bear trouble now fams."

Sunday, 14 June 2009

In the corridor

"Sir, who's the prime minister of England?"
"Who do you think? Take a guess."
"Barack Obama?"
"No. Guess again."
"Tony Blair?"
"Closer, but no. His name starts with G then B."
"George Bush?"
"No. His name is Brown."
"No it actually is 'Brown'."
"Prime Minister Brown."
"Yes. Do you know his first name?"
"It's Gordon Brown. Heard of him?"
"Oh yeah! I think so..."

Monday, 8 June 2009

A nasty incident

Last week a boy in my class of Nutters took a penny out of his pocket and, in a quiet lull, rolled it across the floor of the room and said aloud: "Let's see if there's any Jews in the room."

The mutterers among the Nutters shut up. Those doing their work looked up and fell silent. I couldn't help but hear him. "That's not acceptable," I said, "Get up, go and stand outside, you cannot stay in my classroom and I need to speak to you." 

The boy stood up and walked out, face flushing red as he realised that he was in trouble. 

But then, as he walked out he pointed at the penny and said to me, "Don't worry, Sir, it's for you. The penny is for you."

His racism is horrible, but unfortunately it is something that he has picked up from his peers. He is an immature boy who does not have many boundaries. I get on well with him outside of lessons, although he can prove a handful at times. In this instance, giving him the benefit of the doubt, I'm not sure that he was aware of how insulting his behaviour was. He was probably just trying to be disruptive and funny. But that in itself is a damning indictment of the casual racism, and especially antisemitism, bandied about the school.

He's being made an example of now, but something else needs to be done, something more systemic, to address what is a creeping malaise among the children.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Mistaken Identity.

Me: So what motivates you to study?
CM: To get rich so that I can be rich.
JP: I don't study.
Me: What'll you do when you're rich?
CM: I'll buy a house. No I'll build a house like one of those massive ones.
Me: Right. And then what?
CM: I'll invest my money so that I can make even more money from it.
Me: In stocks and shares?
CM: No I'll invent something.
Me: So once you're rich you'll go back to your workshop and invent things?
CM: No I'll hire loads of people to invent things for me and then sell it for more money.
Me: So what'll happen when you've got billions, your family is set up for generations, you don't actually need any more money. What'll you do?
JP: Build a bigger house.
CM: I dunno...yeah build a bigger house.
Me: You could start a charity and give your money away like Bill Gates.
Blank looks.
Me: He's given away billions of money to charity. He says it's what motivates him now.
Blank looks.
Me: You do know who Bill Gates is, right?
Something stirs.
JP: Yeah...he's the richest man in the world?
Me: Something like that, yes. How did he make his money?
JP: Computers?
CM: UNNNEERGHH! No! He's the singer!
Me: ??
CM: Yeah...isn't he a singer or something?
Me: No, he's the inventor of Windows.
JP: Like I said - computers.
CM: I thought he was a singer on TV.
The penny drops.
Me: You're mistaking him with Gareth Gates.

     Gareth                             Bill

Tuesday, 2 June 2009


For the exam season: a few fun games to play while invigilating:

Battleships (with thanks to P-Dogg (20 Stone))
Use the individual desks in the exam hall as your grid. Draw out your battle ships. Fire shots at your partner's fleet by stationing yourself besides relevant student's desk. So Joe Bloggs sitting his English Paper at the top left of the hall will be square A1 and the student beside him will be A2 and the student behind him will be B1 etc.

Most likely to...
Go and stand behind the student who you and think is most likely to...
...end up in prison. etc
Your co-invigilator will do likewise and much hilarity ensues.

Time to let it all out. Drop your professional veneer of impartiality and let truth lead the way. Similar to the game above. Go and stand behind the student that...
...you hate.
...you find amusing.
...is your pet.
...you would like to fail.

Any other ideas?

Monday, 1 June 2009


I'm spending two days observing Modern Language teaching at another school similar to mine.

Ahh... the wonders of having a department that works together, that consists of teachers that don't bicker and whine and gossip behind each others' backs, but which form a team.

Co-ordination is key to good teaching. It's all very well being individually brilliant in the classroom, but you work much better when others around you work with you.

Positives include:
a) the sharing of resources
b) the sharing of ideas
c) dealing collectively with discipline problems
d) more fun
e) a higher profile for languages in the school
f) students across the same year group being set the same tests and the same homeworks.