Thursday, September 14, 2006

boring entry about teaching stuff.

With the teachers out planning all week we specialists have been in the classrooms picking up the slack. I thought it would be hard but it's been easy to slip back into "generalist" mode. I'd forgotten how much more laid back it was having your own grade all to yourself, carrying over work after lunch and lovely to be able to follow up punishment and rewards for once! I'd also forgotten how full on it was during a maths session when noone knows what to do. Or during writing when everyone wants you to correct their spelling at once.

On Monday I had the preps. I was given what has been commonly thought of as the "problem" grade. Of course, I have them every week for art so I already knew what to expect. They were adorable all day though. Much more settled when they weren't asked to get out the paintbrush and "create". I went home so depressed and sad that day. I really realised how much I missed teaching the youngies. How utterly fantastic it is when you can finally *get* something out of them. And how exhausting and exhilirating the highs and lows of the day are.

Tuesday I was with the grade 3s and 4s. I was basically a supervising a student teacher who was having a full day of control. The kids tested him good and proper.

Wednesday was a day with the 5s and 6s. Again, I had what is commonly known as the "problem grade". Look, bottom line - I don't even like them. They tested me good and proper so I kept a few of them in and did a lot of kicking in the preverbial shins. Today their regular teacher told me she had to do the same thing so I felt better that it wasn't all my fault, just that they're a ratty bunch in general. But overall, not a good day. I like all the depth the upper levels offer but let's face it, while I may adore them individually they don't interest me so much as a group. Maybe I'll change my mind in the future. I do want a go at having each level for at least a year.

Today I was in with the 1s and 2s. They're relatively trouble free. They don't need as much help as the preps but they don't have all the attitude of the older kids. At the end of the day we had little show/tell session. Now, some of you may remember the boy in my grade from last year who told the wonderous story of going fishing with his dad on the weekend and ending up catching a 6m shark who bit his arm off (after they wrestled). He said this smiling and with all four limbs intact. I asked him if his arm was okay now (you know, one day after being bitten clean off) and he just looked at me and said "yep".

Well, today he got up and showed his car racing posters. He pointed out his favourite car and said "it goes 100,000 kilograms fast!" and then told of how he knew someone that did car racing professionally. A child on the mat asked how long that particular person had been racing and J put his best concentration face on and thought for a little while (about 10 seconds of silence) and then said "ohh, I don't know ...about 200 years I think". He insisted her was right even after I pointed out that Australia had only been settled about that long (I remember the bicentenary celebrations!). Good to know he hasn't changed. :)

Tomorrow should have been a day to myself so that I can plan my curriculum but of course, in true form Prin has piled a whole heap of extra work on me to have done by the end of the day. siiigh.

This term another teacher is retiring. It's getting to that stage that they told us about when I was in uni In a few years a lot of teachers will start retiring and there is going to be a shortage of teachers. I always thought it was something they said as a scare tactic so we wouldn't leave the course (about a third of the course dropped out after the first teaching round - not as easy as it looks apparently). But it's true. Apart from a couple of old timers, our staff is young - and the older ones keep dropping off like flies (and then coming back to visit a month later looking about 10 years younger!). Almost everyone is under 40 (excepting Prin, Vice and a couple of others). I'm not sure that it is altogether a good thing to have a staff so young. I always found that I learnt so much more about teaching (and life) from people who had been through the knocks a million times prior to you. It puts things into perspective. Sure, it's good having teachers who can relate to where you're at but if you're all panicking at the same time the ship sinks, don't it? We need people who actually do know what they're doing, not just bluffing their way through it. If I'm going to ask for advice, I'm not going to someone who had just started teaching. This isn't a job where you just go in knowing what to do. Experience is king.

Anyway, the whole event made me wonder whether I'll still be teaching in 30 years. The thought of that one scares me a bit, to be honest. I might go insane first, I think.