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