Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Well, I've been called worse.

I dipped my toe back into the pools of teaching... and discovered the water was polluted with profanities and I really needed someone to throw me a life jacket!

A few months ago I signed up with a supply agency, for a bit of pocket money, but I didn't make it easy for them - "I can only do Mondays and Fridays" and "I can only do schools in a 5 mile radius of where I live." I hadn't heard anything for a while, I was aware the summer term was upon us and Exams and Year 11 leaving meant supply was scarce. "Oh well" I thought earlier on in the week "probably a blessing in disguise"

Then, Thursday evening, a phone call - "Hi Frances, just wondering if you're available for work tomorrow?" shocked, and taken unaware, I answer too quickly "Oh Yes I am." This, I now know, is an amateur mistake. In future, I will always answer this question with the question "Which School?"

But I'd already agreed, they had me by the balls, well they would have, if I had some. She told me the name of the school. My heart sunk. Said school is well known to be falling further and further into the dark pit of teaching hell. But I'd made a decision: try everything once, make your own mind up - then run like hell if you have to!
The next morning I stopped at the corner shop, bought them out of cheap biros and foxes glacier fruit mints and suddenly felt prepared.
So here's the day in bullet points:
  • They led me into a false sense of security - the first two lessons I taught poetry to year 11's, who sat there like little sponges, absorbing what they could.
  • Year tens spilled into the room like sewage. It took me ten minutes to get there attention. They point blank refused to help give out their books. 3 girls walked out, at different points of the lesson.  I told a girl to stand outside; she obliged and when I went to speak her realised she had buggered off.
  • A year 10 boy told me his girlfriend had finished him because he tried to "do her up the bum"
  • I tried to read 'Of Mice and Men' with Year 9. When discussing Candy's dog, a girl shouted out it was “a nonce dog who had aids”. I told girl to stand outside, she said 'hang on a minute, a little bit of wee just come out because I was laughing so much'  I lost my temper and shouted. "Get! Out!" and she replied with "Don't talk to me like a prostitute." ???
  • Prostitutes skulk outside of classrooms in this area, obviously.
  • Another charming young lady, told her support assistant "do you have to sit there, you've been getting on my tits all day".  At the end of the lesson, I refused to put a green light of the two mentioned girl's reports. So as they left the room they both called me a cunt!
  • I was charmed.
  • I got a last minute cover for P5 - Year 11 science.
  • A boy dressed up in goggles and white coat and did the first part of a (very bad) strip routine.
  • Informed, by the class, that the Head of Science had a "butt plug" in her classroom.
  • Had 2 boys removed from the classroom as they were "acting dangerously" with lab equipment - i.e. bashing each other with 2kg weights
  • Throughout the day, at different points, was told I looked: scary/ 40/ pregnant/ insane/ trippy and a lot more that was actually incoherent because their mouths were wadded with a week's supply of "chuddy" or because the skill of enunciation   had been lost generations ago through interbreeding.
It was wonderful to be teaching again – I have no idea why I ever left? As an NQT I was told. “You might spend a whole day in a classroom, and only change the outlook of one person. But it’ll be worth it.”
I think on this day that one person was me…
Previous outlook: try everything once; make your own mind up - then run like hell if you have to!

New outlook: For a £150?  Sod that!

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