Sunday, 29 March 2009

Why I love teaching

It's been hard keeping that in my head recently with all that's been going on at school. I'm just about ready to blog some of what has been happening to drag me down recently:

Some pupils accused me of 'not helping' them, which really, really hurt as I feel I run myself ragged every day trying to help them. After I gave my official written response to the complaints (apparently this is the 'procedure' when pupils make complaints) and they were investigated I was completely exonerated. Basically, the pupils in question want to be spoonfed and don't like that fact that I try to make them think. They want a 'teller' not a 'teacher'. So they are complaining about having a good teacher!

After a week of hell and wondering how I ended up in the middle of this nightmare after 16 years of teaching, it is now all over and I have the complete support of my Head of Department and Senior Management. But why did it all have to happen in the first place?

Of course, I don't bear grudges with teenagers (they are the children and I am the adult, after all) so I am trying to eliminate any ill-feeling they may still have by being sweetness personified in the classroom and telling them that I really want them to do well in their exams and am here for them.

We'll see if it works.

Anyway, on Friday I was reminded why I love teaching, and it wasn't even one of my own lessons! I was on a cover lesson in English (not my subject). A class of 15 year olds studying Keats. Here's a few quotes from the lesson:

Pupil: "Which poem is Keats' then?"
Me: "All of them, the book is Collected Poems of Keats"

Pupil: "Was Keats French then?"
(They were studying La Belle Dame Sans Merci)
Me: "No, only the title is French, Keats was English"

Pupil: "What is this first verse about?"
Me: "Basically, he's not a happy bunny"
(I told you it wasn't my subject!)

Pupil: "What order are the verses in?"
Me: "They are numbered"
Pupil: "Yeah, but I don't do Roman numbers"

Pupil: "I don't understand it"
Me: "Look, he's miserable, isn't he?
It's lots of ways of describing him being miserable, then explaining why he's miserable."
(I told you I wasn't an English teacher)

* * * * * * *

Book of Keats' poetry - £4.99
Watching teenagers trying to understand it - priceless!


Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

what with your poor health recently and this, l'm surprised you blog with such aplomb, humour and character!!
Another woman with a facade...

hope its all good things form now on!!

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Such a promising future lies ahead of that lot!

You deserve a huuugggee medal for continuing to try to teach as intelligently as you do - I am so sorry that some of them with 30 second memories expect to be spoon-fed, and not have to think...

I am pleased that things have cleared for you - Surely they must have taken your most recent assessment into the equation rather than just taking the word of a few stroppy teens? (I've got one, I know what they can be like!) x

Maggie May said...

Oh.... you have really been through the mill! You are dealing with a difficult age too.
I am so glad you have the complete support of the head over those naughty girls. It is the type of thing EVERYONE working in a school dreads. To be accused of doing anything wrong where children are concerned. Can be very tricky but I am glad that it is all over and in your favour, though it must have left a bad taste in you mouth.

Hope that incident is the very LAST unfortunate thing that can possibly happen to you! You have been through enough!

Anonymous said...

Teenagers can be difficult at the best of times I suppose. I wouldn't have the patience to deal with them I'm afraid. I think you are remarkable and it's a good thing that the Head of department has stuck by you. Support is vital in a teaching role.

CJ xx

Suburbia said...

Glad it's all turned out ok, it must have been very worrying

Half-baked said...

Sorry to hear you've been having a tough time, glad you were exonerated.

Anonymous said...

What a relief to hear you have survived it all. I agree with Fat, frumpy and fifty. My teacher has just got her firt post (from September) as a NQT. She's in primary though so hopefully she won't have the same problem - just different ones I expect!

skywind said...

Education is a noble profession. To see the growth of children, teachers are proud.
Health information
Humor & Fun World

"Moaning Mum" said...

Is it just me or are teenagers more monosyllabic, moody, disinterested, criminally-minded, insolent and less interested in art/literature than I was? (or horror of horrors am i finally getting.....dare i say it...OLD?! heeeeeeeeelp)

Expat mum said...

I understand why things have to be investigated, but for heaven's sake. My mum was once accused of shutting a kid in the cupboard (as if), and had to go through the whole thing only for the pupil to then tell everyone it was a complete fabrication and he quite liked her really. I think that did it for her after 30 years.

The Dotterel said...

Actually, that sounds a pretty good commentary WM. Was it an 'A' level class?!

Mummy Cow said...

You're not alone in this experience - it happens to my teachers all the time. By the way, even though English isn't your subject you can work for me anytime (I line manage the English Dept at my school). I love your approach to Keats! MC x