5 children's books to sum up your teacher-feelings

Celebrate World Book Day and unleash those inner teacher frustrations with these five book suggestions from Lisa Jarmin

World Book Day, reading, reading to pupils, children's books

Sometimes the stress of teaching young children, combined with the pressure to hit targets, take on extra work and constantly prove your worth as a teacher, can make you feel like you’re stretched to the limit. Add in a few extra little workplace irritations and you’re just about ready to lose the plot, often on a daily basis.

So why not gather all the suppressed passive aggression you’ve got and grab one of these books to read to your class to sum up your feelings?

Peace at Last by Jill Murphy

It was numeracy hour. Ms Jarmin was tired, her teaching assistant was tired, and her class was tired. Next door, recorder club started murdering the Dambusters theme tune.

“Oh no,” said Ms Jarmin. “I can’t stand this.”

But she carried on trying to interest everyone in fractions even though nobody could concentrate because it sounded like a cat was being violated in the next room.

At the numeracy book analysis meeting, the numeracy coordinator expresses concern that nobody in Ms Jarmin’s class seems to have grasped fractions. Ms Jarmin feels like grasping a recorder and shoving it somewhere unspeakable.

Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson

“I know that you’re busy as busy can be, but is there room on your broom to coordinate PE?”

Everyone wants to get on to the poor witch’s broomstick. Soon it’s completely overloaded and the whole thing falls apart, leaving her to face the wrath of a fiery dragon.

You’re the witch in this analogy, by the way, and the extra broom passengers are your workload, which seems to expand every day because there’s no budget for more staff. The dragon is management when you explain that you haven’t got enough hours in the day to scratch your own bum let alone mentor an NQT.

At the end of the story, a new broomstick is created which is strong enough to carry everything without breaking. No pressure.

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

Duncan’s crayons have disappeared but at least they’ve left him letters to explain their absence. Where have all your classroom resources gone, though? Where are the Pritt Sticks? Who has removed all the orange crayons and what have they done with them? Why have all your posters fallen down?

Before you have a full existential crisis about this, here are the answers:

Your colleague stole your Pritt Sticks during a stealth mission last week and now has them locked in a drawer so you can’t steal them back, the orange crayons are currently melting on the radiator in an impromptu science investigation spearheaded by that pupil who went suspiciously quiet just before break, and if you check the pockets of the sticky child who sits by the wall, you will find a three-year supply of Blu Tack pilfered from the back of your posters.

Any books by Richard Scarry

There’s a cat playing the trombone. There’s a group of business-like pigs holding a breakfast meeting. There’s a dog, there’s a chicken, there’s a wolf on a unicycle, there’s a worm wearing a hat, driving a car made of an apple for precisely no reason. Somebody won’t stop singing Hey Diddle Diddle. Somewhere in the background, a lost soul screams silently (probably). It’s a pretty accurate depiction of your average EYFS class and the constant inner turmoil of the adults who teach them.

Farmer Duck by Martin Waddell

“There once was a duck who had the bad luck to live with a lazy old farmer. The duck did the work. The farmer stayed all day in bed.”

Not that I’m casting aspersions on anyone in your workplace, but the chances are that at some point you’ve worked with a Lazy Old Farmer and, like the duck, you’ve spent your working week feeling “sleepy and weepy and tired”.

The solution that the book offers to rectify this situation is to fill the farmer’s house full of livestock and sit back and watch the carnage ensue. While it is tempting to recreate this with the school chickens and Reception’s elderly guinea pig, it is probably best left as a revenge fantasy.

Lisa Jarmin is a freelance writer

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