Monthly Archives: October 2012

The moment I swore in the classroom (for Teacher toolkit)

There have, sadly, been many moments when I’ve been caught out swearing in the classroom – mostly after a weekend with the ice hockey boys, even now they are still teaching me new words. Anyway.

A long time ago, as an NQT in a rather challenging school, I took my fair share of classes with behaviour issues. Around about October half term, I’d had more than enough of one year 10 pupil. Let’s call him Lloyd. I’d tried every single positive management strategy I knew, and still was getting nowhere with him. Exasperated, I said ‘Lloyd, stop being a bloody nuisance and do some work.’

Well, being a southern with rounded vowels, working in a school in the Midlands (I’d already had the graph/bath conversation with this group) I got laughed at. ‘Miss, what’s blaady mean? Do you mean bludy?’ came back the reply. ‘It doesn’t matter how I say it,’ I retorted, ‘you are being a  nuisance and I need you to leave the lesson.’ He did, laughing down the corridor as he went.

Years later, I’ve never used that word in a lesson again. ‘F*ck’ came out loud and clear the day I was given a CRO tube in a damaged holder. While I was plugging in the wires, the tube detatched itself from the holder, bounced and shattered. Do you know how far glass under vacuum can travel? Once we’d cleaned up my class of year 11 students once again took pity on my southern pronunciation and spent the next ten minutes trying to get me to say it ‘right’. ‘It rhymes with book, miss’ was perhaps the least helpful suggestion.

Now I’m in a special school I save the swearing for the staff room!

(edit July 2015) please note I am no longer on twitter

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Lesson planning

As I complete my planning day in half term, and think I’ve got everything sorted, I’ve been reflecting on the differences between mainstream and special planning.

Now, I’m aware that Primary colleagues plan in this way – medium term plan, weekly lesson plans, handed in for scrutiny on a regular basis – but as a Secondary trained teacher this system has taken a bit of adjustment. I’m used to using a scheme of work to develop a medium/long term plan of how I’m going to get through the unit, identifying areas I may need to spend longer on than others depending on the ability of the class. I’d stick mostly to the plan, using the SofW as necessary and flexing where required. My HoD was able to track my progress through units by looking at test results on the department spreadsheet, and had a ‘quick flick’ through my planning every-so-often. I often had two or three parallel classes, so that reduced planning significantly.

Now, in Special, I have to produce medium term plans for up to fourteen lessons each half term. We don’t always have schemes of work and when we do, they aren’t always appropriate. So, that’s fourteen lots of thinking what the next eight weeks might be and planning for the best outcome. I’ve usually got two TAs with me, so I can split the class, differentiate and plan three different lessons in the same time space.  From that I can take my weekly plan, depending on how well we are doing. We might whizz through the plan and I have to add more on the end. We might (as more often happens) take weeks to get through the first lesson on the plan and then all the rest is either carried on to the next term, or wasted. We might, occasionally, have ‘something else’ crop up and then I can’t get to the end of the plan as we no longer have enough time. Don’t get me wrong, I need a medium term plan to see where I’m going, but I dislike having to put so much detail on it that never gets used.

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Two questions

…that I would like anyone who feels the need to interrupt my lessons to ask themselves

1) do I really need to know?

2) do I really need to know right now?

If answers in the negative, let me do my job and ask/tell me when I’m not teaching.

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