Bestworst lesson

1st June 2007 at 01:00

"You'll never get Primary 4 to eat that." The cynics in the corner snigger. It's tough being a newbie, and that's just dealing with the staff.

My idea is to follow up a Greek history lesson with a healthy eating message for eight and nine-year-olds. The kids' task is to prepare and eat a Greek feast of pitta bread, tomatoes, red onions, feta cheese and salad with a dash of olive oil and red wine vinegar. The lesson begins as anticipated. "I'm not eating that stuff," and "I don't like salad."

OK, time for Plan B. On goes the Greek music. The strains of the bouzouki tinkle through the room as I demonstrate. Soon the children are humming along in holiday mode. Suddenly we are transported to a sun-kissed Greek island.

Wait a minute, could it be? Yes, they're going for it, cramming their pittas with feta, salad, the lot. It's much better than I hoped. They're singing, they're bobbing along to the music but, more importantly, they're eating everything in sight.

The music and the smell of the food wafts into the corridor, prompting one of the coven to pop her head through the doorway.

She smiles. "Well, I'll say one thing, the children may forget most things we've ever taught them but they'll always remember how to make Greek salad."

Eureka! I'm dancing like Zorba the Greek. Eat your heart out Jamie Oliver.


I fear it's going to be one of those lessons. The vital clue is probably the upturned desk. Well, that and the sulky Primary 6 pupil refusing to co-operate. Things can't get much worse today. At least that's my theory.

We collect the games equipment and go outside. I begin to organise teams of 10 and 11-year-olds but hear a commotion behind me. I turn around and the kids are pointing towards the sky. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's a sulky P6 pupil staging a protest on the school roof, mimicking those prisoners you see on the national news. He's grinning down at me like a circus chimp high on banana juice.

I consider ignoring him, but the headlines just scream: "Teacher stands idly by as boy falls to his death."

My games lesson descends into a cross between a chimps' tea party and Match of the Day. In my head I'm playing keepie-uppie with the youngster on the roof. Who's going to keep their ball in the air longest? I'm determined it's going to be me.

I try a different tack. "Get down!" I yell. "You're going to kill yourself!"

Someone sniggers. "No he won't, that's how he breaks into houses. He shins up the drainpipe." Great. I've got a cat burglar on my hands. I pray for Inspector Clouseau but no one can save me now. I reluctantly admit defeat, inform the headteacher and usher everyone indoors.

Final score: sulky P6 pupil: 1, disenchanted teacher: nil

Jane Lundie teaches in East Dunbartonshire

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