Follow by Email

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Apples and onions




I took my wallhanging design back to the Catholic school yesterday for their approval. They liked the idea and asked me to present it to the kids, which I did. I explained to these angelic little six year olds that they were going to become flowers. I don't want to be a flower said one boy. Why? Because it's a girlie thing to be? But you could be a jaggy flower! Hmmmm, now you're talking. Another male hand shot up. I know what flower I want to be - a giant fly trap. Fine, that's a flower. And can we make flies? Yes, so that you can eat them. I can see this is going to be fun.

The school has such an orderly atmosphere and
the head teacher is so hospitable. I was even invited to stay for lunch but it was a little early so I headed to my favourite seaside cafe, as planned, to fortify myself for another encounter with the little school of horrors that afternoon.

We were back to the paper mache and it was just horrendous. It was the same substitute teacher as previously and she tried valiantly to control them. Even the head teacher came and hollered a them at one point but in the end I
just had to shout above the noise as best I could. The paste was everywhere, the children appeared to be in a state of semi-riot and in the middle of it all, a neighbouring child indulged in a little projectile vomiting.

I had been concerned that the children wouldn't know what a paper doilie was. One child had to point in order to tell me what he wanted because he didn't know the word for kitchen towel. These are eleven year old, English speaking children....allegedly.
With about half an hour to go, most children had done as much productive work as they were liable to do and I couldn't face playing referee any longer. I supervised the cleanup of the classroom and them I went off to wash the paste pots . Up to my elbows in soapy water I became angry with myself for being so defeatist. This being my last week with the children. I went back to the classroom to say goodbye and found the sub, God bless her, had them engaged in a drawing activity. My favourite project with Sally. Some of the drawings were amazing and almost reduced me to tears. I asked if I could take them home as a memento. Being in pencil, some of them are a little difficult to see . These really were the icing on the cake for me, saving me from deepest darkest despair especially after another class teacher told me this little tale.

The other class of eleven year olds in this school who are involved in a similar project were given the task of researching on line possible careers as artists. They were (rashly?) unsupervised and when the teachers later checked the sites they had visited, they were all sectarian. Young Protestants, No Surrender and the like. These children are our future?

I learned a valuable lesson just as I was about to leave the school. As I walked out the front door of the horror school in walked the head teacher from the Catholic school I had visited that morning. This crystalised in my mind the absolute necessity of never carrying tales from one school to another, no matter how horrendous your experience. That is, if you wish to continue to work in an education authority where all the teachers know each other. Good job I can let of steam here!

7 comments:

MargaretR said...

Sally, thanks for sharing all that. I am really enjoying all this armchair teaching. All the joys without the problems! But whatever happens in class there is always a silver lining. Keep looking for those linings. You're a great techer as those pencil sketches prove. I'm sure you can scan those in and adjust the settings in the scanner so we can see them better.

Holly @Home said...

Not wishing to be rude ..do you live in N.I.?... as I can't make out the Catholic/Protestant thing.We have a private Catholic school in our town otherwise they are mostly integrated .As for the kitchen towel thing ..it is all too familiar .Mum tried so hard when she did volunteer work at school ..reading ( they couldn't sit down) ..everything meant bellowing so she got a headache each and every day.These kids need you but that is easy to say we don't have to work in the noise anymore. Hols.

grumpy said...

Hi Holly

Sadly religious intolerance seems to be a world wide issue.

Yvonne said...

I'm catching up on blog reading in my hotel and listening to vintage British comedy - totally serendipitus but I read this post whilst listening to one of the old Joyce Grenfell classics - where she has the class dancing around like flowers - George didn't want to be a flower but finally consented to dance like Holly!

Grumpy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Grumpy said...

I was just thinking about Joyce Grenfell the other day Yvonne. It's so well observed. That, and the Simpsons. ' Mrs Krabopple, I've eaten my crayon again!' The world seems to be full of Ralphs some days.

judypatooote said...

You should write a book on you tales of the children. They are priceless, and as I said in the first comment, you are the saint of PATIENTS......

Thanks for sharing because that just brought back memories of when I was a brownie leader, trying to get a craft done....and it was a real simple craft.....

A very FUNNY story Sally, and you are a great teacher....