I will be tidy, I promise

16th September 2005 at 01:00
You'd think that teaching small people would mean you'd only need a small space. But primary school children and their accompanying paperwork seem to obey the Universal Law of Gases and Admin and expand to fill all the space available. I mention this only in view of the fact that we are about to end a year- and-a-bit teaching in mobile classrooms while a brand new and enormous school is built next door to us.

Now, the main problem with mobiles is that there's precious little freedom for taking groups out of class, having a spare hall for those activities which require a bit of arm swinging, and running after-school clubs which don't mess up someone's classroom.

But when at times the paperwork seems more important than the children, we are also rather short of storage. If only I could harness the virtual space which seems to instantly swallow every single important piece of paper which I put down.

Given the admin forest which I have managed to misplace temporarily for a week or two, this must be enormous. It's not like this virtual warehouse ever overflows and leaks its missing contents back into the real world. My previous parallel year teacher says she has the answer: I should search properly and not just have a boy's look.

Of course, I could even be org-anised and file things. But that does rather assume that you can remember how your filing system works. You've no idea how many things I've temporarily misplaced by creating a proper home for them away from the pile on my desk.

Like many male teachers I've run into, I tend to utilise the same arrangements I employ at home - namely put it all in one big heap or just drop it down anywhere. This works exactly as badly in the classroom as it does at home.

Except that there isn't an infuriated female giving me grief. My teaching assistant has long since ceased complaining and some of the girls in the class just take it upon themselves to perform random acts of tidiness. That really tests the haphazard nature of my system beyond its limits.

As we prepare to "decant" into the new school (it's the preferred term, honest), I'm desperately trying to throw away bits of paper faster than I accumulate them.

Then, when we move into our wonderful new building, I'll be tidy and organised. I've even made it number one on my to-do list. If only I could remember in which particular little space I left the list.

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