Much hilarity this week as One Vowel and P-Dogg (20 stone) are doing their Second School Placement at my venerable school. This is a week of shadowing and teaching which provides us trainees on the Teach First program with a taster of what life is like at another school. I'll do mine later in the term. I think.
They both teach at similar 'urban complex' schools in other parts of London, but in some aspects, the differences couldn't seem to be any greater. Our brand new, academy building is breathtakingly un-school-like and contrasts with P-Dogg (20 stone)'s split-site school where Years 7-9 are taught across the road from the rest of the students. Both have remarked on an apparent lack of clear discipline structure in the school.
P-Dogg (20 stone): The kids don't notice you [the teacher] when they're running around. They just swear and fight anyway.
One Vowel seems more enamoured of the open-plan layout, waxing lyrical about a more relaxed atmosphere leading to more engagement from the students: In my lessons I'm stricter, but I don't think they learn as much. They just sit there..., he remarked as he observed my Year 7 Enterprise class write novels and paint masterpieces in what was a pretty normal lesson by my standards.
I've received some very valuable feedback though. Having your peers observe you teach and give feedback has two main outcomes for me. Firstly, I realise that we're all experiencing the same problems and successes. Secondly, it helps me combat a steady swell of apathy that threatens to overwhelm me when I encounter my umpteenth French class disrupted by bad behaviour from the same old individuals...I rouse myself: NO! I MUST follow up the bad behaviour! You've got to be cruel to be kind! To quote P-Dogg (20 stone):
Let's sit on them.