Bestworst lesson

13th July 2007 at 01:00
Best A drama warm-up in one of my first teaching placements in Essex. I shouted across the hall an instruction to the class to "freeze". The class responded, apart from one deviant corner of the hall.

My new management techniques bubbled to the surface, assessing how best to deal with this challenge to my authority. Presently, three smug-looking boys emerged, having pushed their superfluous friends to the sidelines. It was only the look of innocence on their faces that caused the Yorkshire to Estuary English accent converter to kick in. They weren't freezing, they were getting in threes.

Spelling tests were a write-off. The blank looks on the faces of a class of 35 children were, I soon realised, not solely because of the fact spelling homework hadn't been looked at from one week to the next. I saw no alternative but to adopt a faux Essex accent. This transported the staid spelling test to a highlight of the week.

The children were kindly derisive of the performance. I took it upon myself to explore the concept of the vocal differences between us.

Maps of the UK were produced. Me: "I am from the North." Them: "I've been to Scotland, Miss." Me: "I grew up in Yorkshire." Them: "My auntie's from Yorkshire, Miss. You might have seen her she wears big boots and has two labradors."

The world expanded and contracted before my very eyes.

Worst It was early in my career and Year 2 PE was a challenge in itself, the dread of which would reverberate throughout the week.

The lesson itself was not the problem, the fact that in a term we had never got beyond lesson one in the planning was.

There was a special reason and a special person responsible for this. If we got into the hall and managed our warm-up, then the lesson had been a relative success, as the getting changed ordeal took up such a vast proportion of our lesson time.

I tried egg timers and races, but still Mark had a special knack of delaying the class. Today the story was he couldn't put his shoes on because there were mice in his plimsolls.

While secretly applauding his imagination, no way was I going to allow myself to fall for that one. Nevertheless, in an attempt to pacify him and get the class moving, I agreed to take a look.

"OK then show me your mice." Yikes. There they were, around 10 babies, still pink and snuggled up in the plimsoll. My instinct was to run. This could turn into a panic situation if I allowed my terror of small rodents to show.

"Right Mark, take that down to show the headteacher. Everyone, line up, off we go." I ushered the rest of the class to the hall at breakneck spe **

Megan Brown is back teaching in North Yorkshire

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