Monday 13th December 2010
During my initial teacher training, a lecturer warned us students that, “Teaching is a terrible job when you have a cold”. He omitted to tell us what it is like during bereavement. My father passed away on Sunday 12th December and I definitely did not feel like working, but I kept to the booking (in year 3) because of the lack of employment. While the teacher was sorting out the activities, I had to wait in an empty classroom for ten minutes, giving me too much space for my thoughts, but this was the only real emotional low point. The teacher was well planned and left a good balance of structured and Christmas-linked tasks. Guided reading involved going into groups and moving to other rooms. I was in the classroom next door with four children, whom I was warned were inattentive. However, they all managed to spell ‘tricky’ words with individual wooden letters, find words on the sheet and read a page of the text (The Pond) in turn. Back in our classroom, for the English lesson, the children sat in a circle on the carpet and constructed sentences, on mini whiteboards, from starter adverbs/adjectives on the interactive whiteboard. They then returned to their places and copied the sentences into their English books.
At break I had to find the teacher, who had planned the maths, for a flip chart to use at the start of the next lesson. He reminded me that I was on duty in the trail area. When I arrived, the head teacher was there and said it was probably a waste of time as the children had drifted away (they have to wait for the trail to be unlocked). After waiting around for no-one to appear until the end of play, I returned to collect my class from their line on the playground. Another member of staff very pointedly said she had seen the children drift away because no-one had arrived on time for their duty.
After play, in maths, the pupils sang The Twelve Days of Christmas and kept a running total of the number of gifts. Back in their seats, they wrote number sentences for each day. I completely forgot to get them to construct corresponding number lines as I was advised. They did not seem to need them though.
In the afternoon, my charges copied some information, such as the Christmas dinner and PFA disco details, into their homework diaries. Then we headed off to the hall to join the other class in the year group for a carolling assembly practice. The children were very restless, fidgety and poorly behaved. At one stage I was asked to go and round-up some children who had drifted out into the corridor. Needless to say they refused to return. Later we could all hear one of them screaming hysterically in the corridor. As I later learned, the school had decided to phone her mother and ask this person to come and collect her daughter, leading to the tantrum. Initially, unwilling to co-operate, the mother had declared that she could not possibly come to the school, as she had to do her Christmas shopping. But, eventually, the noise subsided when the child went home. A whole school assembly closed the day, involving the head teacher asking children for their routines on Christmas morning. There were some surprising contributions, including one child who had to wait until relatives arrived at lunch time before she could open her presents.
My marking and summing-up letter to the teacher was completed quickly and I set off home. I called in to the secretary’s office to collect my form and said, “Have a good Christmas, if I do not see you before”. She scarcely looked up as she answered, “We may see you before”. As this was the last school week before Christmas, I doubted that I would be back before the New Year.
Originally posted on Thursday 16th December 2010