Saved by a stick insect

28th September 2007 at 01:00
Gone are the days when I had to walk at breakneck speed (no running in the halls) between classrooms, with the class sitting there watching as I sorted out my things, found my register in the pile of paper I'd just thrown on to the desk, and logged on to the PC which then took 10 minutes to load. I can revel in the joys of no longer being a roaming PGCE student. From now on my pupils come to me.

Throughout last year I dreamed about having long, straight lines of pupils waiting outside my room, and the delight of having a space I could call my own. I had spent a number of days over the summer preparing my new classroom and making it mine: new display boards, inspiring phrases on the walls, new science posters and carnivorous plants such as Venus fly traps to increase the kids' enthusiasm.

However, the most notable addition to my room was completely unplanned and somewhat unexpected. It was Boris. I inherited Boris the five-inch stick insect from another teacher at the end of last term when I was working as a cover teacher after my PGCE course finished. I managed to keep him alive during the holiday and now he lives on my side bench.

The pupils are amazed by Boris, and getting him out has proved to be a brilliant way to break up a long double period. When he shed his outer layer this week to reveal a pair of wings, it led to impromptu discussions about adaptation, exoskeletons and predatorprey relationships.

The incentive of giving Boris his daily spray of water has helped some of my more challenging pupils knuckle down to their work, and the threat that I will set Boris on them if they don't stop talking works wonders in building my relationship with the class.

When one of my Year 10 boys walked in during the first week he took a look around and said: "Nice gaff, Miss". I was beaming inside.

My strategy of creating an exciting, stimulating learning environment is surely working. Thanks Bor **

Victoria Oakey is an NQT. She works as a science teacher in Hampshire

Tell us your tales

Are you a student teacher or NQT? Tell us about your experiences, your thoughts, your highs and lows. We pay pound;100 for every one published. Email no more than 400 words to

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now