On the twelfth day of Christmas a pandemic gave to us: 12 emails pending, 11 lessons to plan, 10 sets of marking, nine worried parents, eight new procedures, seven headaches a day, six sleepless nights, five minutes to ourselves, four struggling colleagues, three face masks a day, two metres' distance, and a whole class of tired children.
This term has been tough – and that is an understatement. I sat down this week trying to muster the energy and creativity to plan lessons for the end of the year but I could not manage it. My seniors are tired of trying to run a race where the finishing line keeps moving, and my juniors are filled with pent up energy and a need to socialise that they can’t satisfy anywhere but in school.
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Unlike me, not every teacher will condone watching movies during the last week of term. However, needs must.
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So, what is popular with the kids these days, you ask? Well… it’s a mixed bag. The general consensus was that Elf was a no-go. Understandable.
First of the day we have S3, a boisterous class who like to be heard. After a careful negotiation, we come to the agreement that Ted and Borat are not appropriate choices of movies for a class who are under 15. They do a 180 and instead settle on the other side of the spectrum: the children’s movie Barnyard. It’s about a cow that is newly appointed as the leader of its farmyard friends. For a year group who are often too cool for these things, they can’t suppress their giggles at points.
Secondly, S2, another boisterous class but they were keen to watch something festive. One pupil fought hard for Elf but she was swiftly cut down by the masses. We instead end up with Arthur Christmas. They are all pacified with no complaints. Phew.
The third lesson of the day, S4 – a tricky bunch to appease. One boy shouts out for Pitch Perfect 2 and, after a short rendition of vocals to accompany this suggestion, the class are sold – and yes, yes, they did continue to sing throughout the film.
Finally, it’s the last lesson and with the most senior years, S5 and S6. This is the most animated they have been all year – who knew movie choices could create such contention? They even used their persuasive techniques to push forth their choice. In the end, we were greatly divided between The Green Mile (nice and uplifting right?) and Home Alone. But who can resist a family-friendly Christmas movie at the end of the day? Home Alone wins!
Learning is important, but relaxing is, too, more now than ever. Movies over the last day, days, week…weeks? It’s a "yes" from us.
Jordan Cooper is a teacher in Scotland. She teaches English in a secondary school