From the forums - Dullsville staffrooms and an outbreak of chavmums

17th September 2010 at 01:00
New-term banter - lack of - and worries that posh parents are an endangered species

Just a few weeks into the new school term and already the daily grind is starting to irritate some teachers on The TES forums. Not the teaching, mind, but the awkward and unappreciative colleagues.

Catmother for one is fed up with making all the effort. She remembers to ask about her colleagues' children, spouses, and even their pets, but gets nothing in return.

Not everyone is sympathetic. "I'd rather do the crossword, listen to the radio, phone my real friends or reflect on my own thoughts. Bloody boring most teachers are," says William_M.

If there's one thing they can agree on, it is that the staffroom is not the optimum place for good conversation. Chatter seems to be ruled by people who talk about their eternal diets, all the while scoffing any cake or biscuits going, they say.

But AnnJ9442 says catmother should appreciate the peace and quiet. "I love the social aspect - I also like sitting in companionable silence after the mayhem of a busy classroom," she says. "It doesn't always mean people are being unfriendly."

And then there are the lucky few, such as daffodilval, for whom the staffroom is "a place where we laugh till we ache". After a lunch of laughing and cheery conversation, "we all leave the room totally refreshed and ready for the afternoon".

Meanwhile, mad.scientist is more concerned with lesson observations - namely what she should advise new teachers to look out for. She has a 16-point plan, but that doesn't stop other teachers coming up with a few more, including "clarity of purpose" and "body language".

According to acertainsomething, there is no point in trying to assess so many different aspects in one lesson. "Good lord, if I was a trainee trying to learn something from all that I would have a headache," she says.

The venerable Dinkypomernom has a few well-practised tips from a bygone age, when there was less emphasis on box-ticking: "Meet 'em, greet 'em, seat 'em," he says, and then "Teach 'em, stretch 'em, test 'em."

Words of wisdom, indeed.

BrainJim has the audacity to ask if parents are becoming more common. And he is not talking about their numbers increasing. "I don't remember there always being so many young single mothers who come with a host of mentalsocial problems."

There is much chin stroking over whether this is politically incorrect, but these details don't concern Rihlana. She has come across many a "chavmum" in her career and tells BrainJim to keep his chin up and welcome the little victories.

"Celebrate the fact that she made it out of bed, slung a pull-on-nappy on lil-chav and got himher there," she says.

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