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Bestworst lesson


Picture the scene: I stroll into my first classroom, on my first day.

I've spent three days decorating, planning, moving desks around and generally feeling pretty good about myself. Year 10 is waiting in the classroom for me. Which is impressive, because I locked the door.

I casually brush off the splintered wood from the edge of the door and walk to my desk with my best confident walk, my walk that said, "Go on, try me, I've seen it all before, you can't shock me." Now, although I teach English, I play rugby on a weekend and think I have reasonably good reactions and peripheral vision, but I failed to notice the desk leaving the hands of what can only be described as a Neanderthal, and heading straight towards the window.

The window absorbed the desk; the desk bounced back and hit Neanderthal number two (also wearing the same waterproof jacket of a famous walking brand). He laughed, stood up and proceeded to spit on Neanderthal number one.

I, at this moment, had managed to negotiate my "new and ingenious desk arrangement" (soon changed to cut at least four seconds off my travelling time as this was to be a common occurrence) and found myself between them.

"Sit down, stupid!" Four years at university and that's the best I could come up with.

First lesson: one fight, one thrown desk, breaking and entering, called a student stupid within my first three words. Great


One hour and 15 minutes later, the bell goes, I ask them to hold on while I set homework. I find that as I am talking they have gone.

Five minutes later a knock on my broken door. I remove my head from my hands and look up. I see a Neanderthal (number three, keep up!) who politely asks, "You fucking Mr Bennett?". I reply yes and decide not to bother commenting on the language. "Cool. Gaz sez you're fucking all right, like." I have no idea who Gaz is but can only presume he was in my last lesson. "Yeah. He sez that game thing you played was better fucking fun than that bitch we had last year. He reckons we might pass like. What do ya reckon?" I smile and just reply, "We'll see". He nods and takes his seat and is followed by a small clan wearing the same waterproof coat.

We start the lesson. No more desks leave hands. All is good with the world.

Nothing happened that was going to change the world in terms of critical thinking, but I enjoyed myself. Teaching didn't seem as bad as at 8.31 that morning.

That remains my best lesson because of the satisfied feeling I got at morning break, reflecting over my first coffee and stolen biscuit as a qualified teacher Andrew Bennett is a teacher in Newcastle

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