Thursday, 31 December 2009

"Who's selling?"

It was pointed out to me that most of the blog posts seem to consist of me having a pop at the kids - at best it's a case of "kids say the darnedest things", at worst it's pure schadenfreude.

Well here I go in praise of the children's ingenuity and enterprise: the Sweet Barons.

The industry and creativity of the tycoons masquerading as pupils defies belief. School uniform dictates that bags shouldn't be worn indoors? Sleeves, pockets and socks are soon bulging with illicit goods. The school decides to go hard line on fizzy drinks for a week? The kids lie low and come the following Monday the pop of ring-pulls can be heard up and down the hallways.

It's not unlike the drug trade. Year 7s got in on the act about a month into their first year at the school. "Who's selling?" is the whispered question on everyone's lips. "Mason", "Abdi", "Ryan", "Connor" comes the reply. Selling of all kinds. Bargains, credit, discounts, profits, under-cutting, underselling, selling out.

The school tries to be a healthy school. The kids want their fix. There can only be one winner.

One boy is near enough illiterate. On top of an immigrant family background with no English at home, he has severe learning difficulties and four older brothers who failed school, of whom several are in prison. He has, over time, been withdrawn from most lessons to be taught alone upstairs in the learning support unit. Now aged 13, he comes into school for one reason, and one reason only. Over the week he makes 10-20 pounds selling everything from crisps to fizzy drinks to sweets. I'm assuming that if his literacy ain't up to much, his mental maths is okay.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Thought for the day (or why not to Google 'assemblies')

As told to me by a teacher who was at the assembly:

Head of Year: So, Year 7, how do you spell the word "can't"?
Student 1: (hand raised) C-A-N-T?
HoY: No. Anyone else?
Student 2: C-A-N-apostrophe-T?
HoY: (sanctimoniously shaking her head) No.
Student 3: C-O-N-T?
HoY: No.
The rest of the teachers wince expecting the surely inevitable spelling of the rudest word.
Student 4: C-E-N-T?!
Phew! Surely the HoY can now step in and bring this Russian Roulette of Spelling to a close?
HoY: No. Anyone else?
Oh shit.
Student 5: C-I-N-T?!
At least it's Year 7. Year 10 would have spelled the c-word by now. Fortunately we are saved from embarrassment as the HoY decides to finally bring the guessing game to a suitably trite and corny end.
HoY: No, children. "Can't" is spelled T-R-Y.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

PE Moment of Zen

As soon as you start teaching you realise that you should have trained to be a PE teacher all along. Minimal marking, you can wear trainers and you have a whistle to help you keep the kids in check.

Today we played 5-a-side indoor football against the students as an end of term Fun Thing To Do. PE Teacher Andy turns up in ridiculous clothing.

Me: Why are you wearing a vest?
Andy: It's like the Italians.
Me: Huh?
Andy: You know, the Italians. The men always wear a vest. About the house, like.
Me: Why are you wearing it now? You look ridiculous.
Andy: It's a macho thing. Like the Italians. I always wear a vest when I'm at home. A vest, shorts and slippers. Unless it's cold, like. Then I'll wear tracky bottoms.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Work Experience

Today Form were considering their options for Work Experience Week which takes place in June. I was encouraging them to aspire to do a week's work experience somewhere as ambitious as they liked.

Me: Where would you like to do it CD?

CD: Something to do with sports (CD plays football for a professional club Academy).

Me: Coaching? Playing? Managing?

CD: Well...I was thinking that I could do this Soccer Skills club thing that my dad's mate runs...but...

Me: What's wrong with that? It'd be great if you could do something to get some coaching experience.

CD:...well, Sir, d'you reckon I could get a work experience at somewhere like SportsDirect or JD?

Me: Sure, but that's not very sporty. This is your chance to get out of school for a week and do something special for a week.

CD: Nah, Sir, JD is a sports shop, man! Sir that'd be sick!! I love JD!

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Not the Royal Geographic Society then

Year 8's are happily labelling a map of Great Britain.

Me: How many countries in the United Kingdom?
LM: 3.
Me: What are they?
LM: Ireland, Midlands?
Me: Not quite - where's Scotland and Wales? What about Northern Ireland?
LM: Oh yeah! I've heard of there! It's near Glasgow, innit!
A few minutes later.
LM: (laughing) Sir, M's so dumb!!! He reckons, yeah, that London is in WALES?!!?
Me: What do you mean? [surely no-one here is actually that ignorant?!]
LM: He's put London right at the top of the map!