Diary of the week

1st December 2006 at 00:00

S4, period 1, arrive in dribs and drabs of general unwillingness. Try to encourage a sense of urgency regarding prelims and impending folios. Lower school for the rest of the morning. Non-contact time and lunch spent marking jotters.

Embarrassing scenario when a colleague, whose room I've been using, spots that a pupil has, under my nose, extravagantly grafittied a desk. Last period with Intermediate 1 pupils, many only at school until Christmas because they haven't turned 16.

As visions of home entice me, I am delayed by a hunt for the swimwear of a tearful first year.


Difficult morning with fifth years. But in my fourth year class, I'm reminded why we do this job by an amazing turnaround by two boys who were previously troublesome but are now buckling down. Discovered one of them has felt undervalued as he was in a higher set in a previous school.

Positive reinforcement... and his compadre has come along with him.

No non-contact time until last period but a reprieve as a departmental meeting scheduled for after school is held instead. Lots of collegiate activity on new behaviour initiative. In the spirit of a die-hard Russian roulette player, checked to see if a full class set available for an intended teaching text. Hooray! Went home on the bell.

Tried to get work-life balance going, then ended up marking first year jotters until 11.30pm.


S1 to kick-start my day. The sweet babies who arrived in August are starting to "go native". Additional teaching support for one child. Feel guilty for the lack of attention she gets the rest of the week in a class of 30.

Third years restore my faith in humanity: homework word processed two days early; on memory sticks, accompanied by copious planning notes, apologies volunteered for minor transgressions. Back to reality: fourth year after lunch. "Fear of God" speech on Monday seems to have worked for some.

Non-contact period ruined by a "please take" for second half.

Evening spent preparing a new unit of work.


"Please take" again. One pupil objected to my reluctance to engage in meaningless banter and threw a rubber at me. Encouragingly, the rest of the class were shocked. Peer pressure prompted a quick confession and referral to pastoral care.

Snapshot success with fifth year. A girl who has returned to school after an unsuccessful spell at college has enthused the class with the idea that real life is scarier than being in a classroom. Non-contact period spent completing referrals and attempting to track down marking schemes.

"McCrone" 15 minutes before the day's end with a pile of S3 marking.


Lovely first period with S2 as they are not really awake yet. Non-contact time usefully deployed by a look at an Assertive Discipline programme on school system. Mostly common sense but some useful reminders.

Fourth years in afternoon divided in two camps. Those with a desire for attainment and those who don't care. Unfortunately for the former, I spend my time lion-taming. Hoped to get away on the bell, but some pupils who have responded to my pep talk queue for guidance on home study. I'm delighted to help but know somewhere there's a gin and tonic being poured with my name on it. How long till Christmas?

The writer is an English teacher who wishes to remain anonymous

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