Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Just William.

As the end of the year is approaching, I feel I need to tell you about a little boy at my school who has made my year. Let's call him William.

William is not in my class (I teach a Year 2 class; he is in Reception), but as Head of the Lower School I have plenty of contact with the other classes - I read a story to the children in Reception every week, I do whole school assemblies and I am on the rota for playground duty in the Reception playground.

The first time I became aquainted with William was at the end of one of my assemblies. He looked up at me from under a mop of curly hair and said "Hello, Mrs Blogger." "Hello poppet" I replied, not having a clue what his name was! His class teacher clearly overheard our fascinating conversation (!) and caught me later on that day to tell me that William seemed to think I was wonderful and often spoke about me in class. This is when our friendship blossomed and now I can tell you 3 of my favourite William stories!

1. We have a very generic set up in our main building - the hall surrounded by classrooms. Each class has a PE lesson every week in the main hall and being in one of the surrounding classrooms, my class and I hear everything that goes on in PE. One Maths lesson I was standing by the classroom door and happened to glance out - there was William prancing past mid PE lesson. He spotted me and gave me a huge smile and wave, which I was very happy to return. A few minutes later I was in the other corner of the classroom, when *Stanley - who sits with a good view of the door - called out "That little boy is waving again!" So I dashed across the classroom and waved at William. A few minutes later another summons from Stanley "He is waving again!", so I hurried to the door and waved back. Needless to say I didn't dash back to the door at the fourth and fifth call from Stanley. I hope William wasn't too dissapointed!

2. On Valentines Day there was a little knock at the classroom door and William came in with a lovely little card he had made for me. He was a little embarrassed, but he bravely came across the classroom, past all my Year 2s, and gave me the card. "Oooo, how lovely..." I cooed. He was rather chuffed. A little while later there was another knock and there was William with another Valentine card for me. "Gosh I am lucky" I said "2 Valentine cards - what a treat!" As William left the classroom I heard him mutter "Well, I suppose I'd better make another one for my teacher then!"

3. William's class teacher told me this story. She asked her class what they wanted to do when they were grown-ups. William answered "Be a teacher". His teacher was rather pleased and asked where he was going to teach. "In Mrs Bloggers classroom" he answered matter of factly.
Shame I might have retired by then!

I wonder if William will be so keen on me when he reaches the dizzying heights of Year 2? I'll keep you all updated.

* Flat Stanley

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Maybe I talk about wine too much!

There is nothing more relaxing than a cool glass of Pinot Grigio on a summer’s evening…and winter’s evening…and spring and autumn come to that!
I pride myself in the fact that I am never desperate for a glass of wine after work. Teaching doesn’t stress me out (have I mentioned before that I love my job?!) and therefore I am not one of those people who races through the front door and rips the cork out with their teeth. I always wait until *WBD gets home (usually around 7 o ‘clock). He says something like “Oh alright, I’ll give you a kiss if I must!” And I reply with “Oh alright, I’ll have a glass of wine, if I must”. Which is then duly delivered to me and we relax in the garden or on the sofa for half an hour before the trauma of making supper!
However, I have noticed that the children in my class are picking up on a few references I have made to wine. We all make quick remarks across the room to our TA, over the children’s heads, right? But clearly mine are listening in!
Last week our sound we were learning was the phoneme ‘er’ (er, ur, ir). When we did our weekly spelling test on Monday, one of the words was ‘water’. I said the word and then diligently came up with a sentence in which the word fits nicely. I said “My favourite drink is water.” Then little *Alice chirps up “But Miss, your favourite drink is wine!”
You’d think that would be a good anecdote to end this posting on. But it gets worse. A few days after that we were doing the register (I mentioned in my previous blog that we do the register differently every day; like ghosts, like robots, in accents…) and the helper that day chose robots. So there I was doing my robot voice “Good-mor-ning-Stan-ley…..Good-mor-ning-Ali-ce” and the children were getting more and more inventive. One of them ran out of oil half way through answering me, one of them introduced himself as R2D2, but *Topsy chose something a little different.

*Works behind a desk
*Alice in Wonderland
*Topsy and Tim

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Good teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths pure theatre. ~Gail Godwin

I myself like to dabble in a bit of theatre. I am not and have no desire to be a professional actress; I simply enjoy performing with a small amateur group nearby. However, I honestly believe that being a teacher is the perfect job for anyone with an interest in drama. I don’t want you to think that I prance around all day acting out every lesson, but I find myself using performance throughout the day.
In my current role as ‘Head of Lower School’, I take 2 assemblies each week, which involve giving out certificates, reading stories, discussing current affairs, doing actions to the hymns etc. These assemblies are attended by about 170 children and 20 members of staff, so if I didn’t like speaking in public I would struggle! I also find that there is an element of performance in class. When I read to them I do all the voices (I do an excellent Veruca Salt), we act out the register differently every day (like ghosts, like robots, in accents…), we even do a little rap, with actions, when we line up at the door. One of the music teachers commented to me the other day that she had noticed how confident my class are at singing on their own and in small groups, which goes to show that even little performances throughout the day can benefit the children.
I also like to have a bit of fun with it. My ST was teaching a fantastic PSHE lesson about ‘listening to what is important and not being distracted’.  A child would read out a short piece of information, and the others had to write down as many facts as they could on a mini white board. It was my job to try and distract them, so I played Disney music from the back of the classroom and sang and danced along……loudly! On the first attempt, 22 little jaws hit the floor and no-one wrote down a thing! Second attempt, *Stanley couldn’t take his eyes off me – even when I stopped dancing and told him to pay attention to the child reading. Third attempt, I had clearly lost my appeal and they all listened brilliantly and wrote down all the information. Like I said, an excellent lesson! After the lesson I asked the children if they had enjoyed my singing and dancing. **Alice looked up at me with a big smile. “If you were on X-factor” she giggled “they would go ‘Boooooo’”.  Thanks, Alice!
*Flat Stanley
**Alice in Wonderland

Monday, 23 May 2011

Back to work!

I doubt there are many, if any, people actually reading this, let alone wondering where I have been for the last few weeks. But here is my excuse:
Firstly, it was the Easter holidays – I didn’t think my Easter holiday, which, whist exciting for me, would be at all exciting for anyone else to read about. I did, however go away with my gorgeous Godson, whose sole purpose on this earth is to be gorgeous (and prepare me for Motherhood – he hasn’t put me off yet!) I was then unwell – really unwell – and didn’t make it into work for 2 weeks, let alone manage to sit in front of the computer screen!
But now I am back, somebody new……..
When I got back to work the children were delighted to see me. There really is nothing better than the unconditional love of someone else. My husband, *WBD, cannot wait to get a dog. He regularly talks about their unconditional love. They love you even when you have shouted at them 2 minutes earlier. They are excited to see you, even if you only popped out to the shop for 2 minutes! This reminds me of my class.
Yes, they were delighted to see me upon my return. However, no more delighted than when I cross the playground to the staffroom and they charge at me, arms wide open, broad smiles plastered across their faces. They seem to have forgotten that I was the one who ushered them out into the playground 2 minutes earlier!
I am fully aware that next academic year they will have moved on and will love their new teacher *unconditionally, but until that time, I still have 6 weeks of their smiles, laughter and affection.

*works behind a desk
*I know that I have used ‘unconditional’ three times, but there is no other word that describes this type of affection. So I’m leaving all three in!

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Medieval feasts – who knew they could be so much fun?

Firstly, I must thank one of my colleagues for finding a fantastic power point presentation on the internet, which meant that I didn’t have to drive down to the local resource centre (as I have done for the past 2 year) to borrow the only book in this county on Medieval feasts – which is not very detailed and rather tatty. Secondly, I must thank a teacher somewhere in Britain for taking to time to make this fantastic power point, and then for putting it on the internet for the rest of us to benefit from.

I love this current trend of sharing lesson plans, worksheets, presentations and general teaching resources on the internet. There are some fantastic websites (‘TES’ and ‘Primary resources’ to name my favourite two) which teachers can upload onto and are so easy to access. There really is no point in 50 Year 2 teachers around the country planning 50 identical lessons on ‘Castles’ or ‘Katie Morag’ or ‘Space’! By sharing via the internet I find that I have more time in the classroom to be with the children. Usually in Friday afternoon Golden time, I can be found tapping away at my computer desperately making flipcharts for Monday’s lessons. Today, however, I quickly googled a presentation on ‘Candlemas’ and then spent half an hour making crowns out of boarder roll and decorating them with sequins! Heaven!
Anyway, back to medieval feasts….My class and I thoroughly enjoyed looking through the presentation, discussing the various courses and foods that were enjoyed. I made myself giggle (and my TA, ST and the IT man fixing the class computers!) when I told the class that in the medieval times they “loved meat“ and that their “favourite part was the head”! We then got to discussing the layout of a castle and happened upon a plan view which showed a huge, long gallery. I impressed myself by knowing that this is where they danced after the banquet! *Stanley was very intrigued by the idea of Lords and Ladies dancing up and down the room and sensibly put his hand up to ask what kind of dancing it was. “Like a tango?” he suggested. I tried my best to explain the types of moves they would have been throwing back in the medieval times, but luckily I was saved when my quick thinking TA pulled up a clip from BBC Pride and Prejudice – a dance scene – onto the IWB. (I know P&P is about 8 centuries too late – but I thought it was a pretty good example of the style of dancing!). So there were Lizzie Bennet and the delicious Colin Firth toing and froing very politely, swapping places occasionally and certainly not breaking a sweat, when **Matilda asks me “Did they always look so grumpy when they danced in the medieval times?”. I decided not to even try to explain that Lizzie and Mr. Darcy had just had a heated conversation about the conniving Mr Wickham, so I just answered “Yes”. 

*I shall refer to the children in my class as characters from my favourite children’s books. This one being ‘Flat Stanley’.
**Matilda – need I say more!

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Kick start!

How many people can say that they love their job? I’m a primary school teacher and I can. My husband, *WBD, gets the Sunday blues – it’s usually around late afternoon when it dawns on him that he has work again in the morning. We have been married 2 years now (together for 3 before that) and he realised quite soon into our meeting that there was no point bemoaning the fact to me, as I always replied something along the lines of “Oh good, I wonder what my children have been up to? I can’t wait to find out.” And I really can’t.
I’ve always had a desire to share stories of my wonderful job with the world (will probably only get read by my Mum – but that saves a phone call!) and I have just had the kick start I needed. 2 weeks ago a student teacher joined me in my Year 2 class. This is her first ever foray into a school. Ever. My friend, a teacher/new mum, warned me to “be nice” (I think she was re-collecting her first placement) and I am. I have warned her about which mug to use in the staff room (old wives tale – no-one gives a monkeys!), attempting to teach with a hangover (near to impossible!), and most importantly, how to deal with boyfriends/husbands/friends/family who think teaching is a synch and constantly moan about our holidays. My favourite line I use is “What’s stopping you becoming a teacher, then?”
Whilst imparting my invaluable advice I found myself thinking back to my first placement (a primary school in deepest, darkest Harlow) and started reminiscing. Poor girl! But why stop there? I have years of marvellous memories, which are being daily topped up by my delicious class of 6 and 7 year olds. So my plan is thus: to write a short piece each week about my job, my class and my life.
Here is one to whet your appetite and one of my favourites: A small child, busy playing in the woodwork shop role play approached me and started prodding me with the plastic screwdriver. “I’m screwing you, Miss!”

*works behind a desk