Children and teenagers are the same whereever you go. They like to find out what the rules are, they like the rules to be fair, they like to learn new things that mean something to them.
Teenagers at my school are much better behaved than I could ever believe was possible. For instance, a bunch of them were talking over me during a science lesson on Friday. I stopped and explained why I did not like it and wanted them to stop. They looked sad and ashamed. They cut it out.
There is a lot of that. For instance, no child ever bursts into my room and tells another “your mum” and runs off. No one pretends they do not have a pen (in fact, they lend me equipment… who knew you had to bring your own chalk?). No one argues with me.
Children will suggest things like “next time could you bring the bigger exercise books?” “next time can you bring the Danish translation for the technical words?” “what is the homework tonight?” “what shall I do now I have finished?”
My planning is taking a lot longer. My Special Teaching Skill is breaking down hard topics so that special needs children can access them. My other Special Skill is being able to get children who were never loved or socialised for school to enjoy a lesson and stay in the room.
I am having to branch out now. I am having to plan to teach a LOT more and get through more information, practice more skills.
This is different from “top set” teaching… I always found those groups harder because they were bright enough to cause the maximum trouble… this is better. The groups are mixed in ability but they want to be there.
It makes all the difference.
I wish all children in Britain were raised by a loving family. I think (even in rich families, though I have less experience with that demographic) that families are often too busy for their children. Sometimes it is because of impossible odds… If one parent dies or walks out, it must be very difficult to spend enough time with your children.
But I get the impression that oftentimes it is a love of money which prevents children in Britain being raised. Families work far far too hard. It is not right that people work until 7pm or later.
Then the money is spent on things rather than experiences. Food becomes fuel and not part of the daily cementing of relationships. Social time is spent watching other people socialise on television.
In some families, children are ordered around and barked at. Sometimes worse.
Schools are difficult to teach in because children are not loved.
Love is more than a fuzzy feeling. It is words and actions too. Love is a doing word.
The Union has things all taped up. For instance, I have cover lessons. I have them scheduled for Tuesday morning. I am paid extra for them.
If the person I am covering for is sick, they are not expected to send in work. If it is a planned absence, they are.
I am recalling all the nights and mornings I have dragged myself from bed: pounding headache, vomiting, incredible pain, stomach flu and written out three or more lesson plans for the day.
I remember going in after a few days even when still unwell “because what would I set for cover?”
Not expected here.
I am slightly over time-tabled so that I can get paid in the summer (they only get paid usually for the months they are in school).
But then something amazing happens.
I am teaching 50 more hours than normal. I am paid for them. I am paid for the 50 hours I need to prepare for those lessons. I am paid 50% extra for *overtime*.
So I get paid for 150 hours.
Holy crap, that’s awesome.
We watched Denmark’s Got Talent. They had some truly awful performances. The most interesting was the man with cerebral palsy who did some break dancing.
The word they used to describe him was “spastik” and everyone was cool with that. His dancing was good (better than mine), but not as good as someone who did not have cerebral palsy.
They spoke to him like he was a retard though I do not think he had learning disabilities. They put him through to the next round out of pity.
On Friday night, there was a minor fire at the bakery (they left baking cases in an oven that was still on). The fire brigade turned up and everyone in the street came out to watch.
That is my kinda town.