Don't do what i did

8th May 2009 at 01:00
'However rough it's been, start again tomorrow'

The week had not begun well. My PGCE tutor had observed my lesson and in her feedback suggested that I closely evaluate whether or not teaching was for me. It was not a great moment and the road to music-teacher-hood took a turn up a steep path.

Determined to do better, I arrived early next morning to set up for my day of lessons. I unlocked the door and jumped at the ear piercing shriek that was the classroom alarm. I hadn't been armed with the code to turn it off. The alarm was persistent in its cry for attention. I felt my cheeks glow.

Some time later, after acquiring the code from the caretaker, my lesson began, looking at orchestral instruments. When passing the violin around the group for the class to look at and gently pluck the strings, there was the second shriek of the day. A violin string broke and hit the quietest Year 7 girl in the eye. Luckily she was not hurt.

Later in a Year 9 lesson, demonstrating how to use the cymbals, I crashed them enthusiastically together. Finding myself inaudible to the class, I dampened them in the only way I could think how and clasped them to my chest in an unfortunate pose. The class collapsed into raucous laughter.

The close of the day had not been any easier than the beginning. At the end of it all, my school mentor sat me down for a chat. "There's only one way to deal with a class like that," he mused, stroking his chin and looking thoughtful. There was an expectant pause as I waited, eager for his wisdom. Just how did you keep a group like that under control? He sighed. "Keep the door shut and look at the clock a lot."

However rough a day it's been, remember that tomorrow is a fresh start. Don't be discouraged - we've all worn the L-plates.

Anthony Anderson is an advanced skills teacher and head of music at Beauchamp College, Leicester. Send your NQT stories to and you could earn Pounds 50 in MS vouchers.

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