Bouquet of the week;Julie Newman

2nd April 1999 at 01:00
Imagine what it's like to become deaf, suddenly. How do you keep order when you don't know a class is getting too noisy? How do you answer pupils' questions when you can't hear them ask?

Chemistry teacher Julie Newman can tell you because it happened to her last October when she was diagnosed with a chronic hearing condition. The consultant said it was curable - but by surgery - and there was a waiting list.

For five months Julie carried on, teaching a full timetable at Stoke Damerel Community College in Plymouth, an 11-18 comprehensive with 1,500 pupils. She started wearing hearing aids, taught herself to lip read and asked her students to help. "The kids were brilliant. The staff were wonderful too," says Julie.

Lyndsay Chell, head of science at Stoke Damerel, values this committed young teacher enormously and set about organising help. A-level science students were drafted in as classroom assistants so that every lesson for Years 7, 8 and 9 had a sixth-form helper working alongside Julie. "They were my ears," she says.

She has a tutor group in Year 11 and teaches GCSE to a top set in science. "I was determined they were not going to suffer and they were just extremely sensible." Meanwhile, she continued with her extra-curricular activities - helping Lyndsay Chell run a science awareness group after school - the Cappuccino Club, sponsored by a local coffee company - and SET 99, national science week, for which she'd obtained pound;1,200 in sponsorship.

Taking science into the community was the theme and so Julie took Year 10 to Plymouth city centre to run a stall for people to taste genetically modified food. Two days before the end of SET 99 Julie had her operation and returned to school the following week. Our Bouquet of the Week, requested by Lyndsay Chell, welcomed Julie back. "Everything seems so loud!" she says.

Being robust in your job can help you stay healthy in the face of stressful times. On page 8 this week, you'll find part 2 of our series on Ofsteditis - the complaint that infects some teachers at inspection time. Teacher Robert Parks claims immunity, saying that he's confident at work partly because he gives 100 per cent to life outside. Nothing stops him playing bridge, come the weekend.

Bouquet of the Week is given in association with Marks amp; Spencer. Names, please, on a postcard - and why - to Sarah Bayliss, The TES, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1 9XY.

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