Saturday, April 24, 2004

back at it - around the world

Below is from Blackboard Jungle. Some great stuff here. Interesting writing. Check it out.

Back to work after a holiday is always difficult. Standing all day, constantly on the move in the classroom, eyes everywhere at once, projecting your now dormant voice for five hours solid - it's like being an Olympic swimmer just returned from the desert.

You forget the details that have helped you survive:

  • the principle of juggling your duties - never take on ten arduous tasks at once,

  • always have at least two classes doing something that requires next to no preparation, another two classes completing work that can be assessed orally or by peers,

  • try to conserve your voice at all times by using your eyes to command, your gestures to encourage, and your voice only to praise,

  • don't write a kid up for exclusion the first time they swear or start a fight or you'll be interviewing parents all month,

  • give children choices of equivalent sanctions then gradually remove the options if they refuse to comply,

  • only agree to two extra tasks a week,

  • remember not to offer an extra homework help or revision class every day,

  • never confront a child in front of others,

  • don't agree to trips the day after parent's evening,

  • stop listening in meetings after the first 14 minutes,

  • make damn sure your lunch hour is uninterrupted

... all the small details that differentiate you from the forty people a year, every year, whom you've seen burn out too fast, in tough inner city schools like these.

You forget.
By Wednesday, you remember.

I couldn't have said it better myself.


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