Thank God it's Friday

27th February 2004 at 00:00
Monday It's my NQT year and I'm being continually watched. This is the lot of every NQT, and if that means I'm checking the toilet cubicle to make sure there's no camera, and looking nervously behind me in corridors, so be it.

Tuesday My line manager watches a Year 7 lesson. I've asked for one little chap to be "looked after" by someone else. (Of course, he behaves impeccably, wouldn't you know it?) My observer points out that I asked for volunteer "good readers". Damn. My equal opportunities box won't get ticked, then.

Wednesday Someone from the special needs department approaches me five minutes before I take bottom set Year 8s to ask if she can observe one of my students to see how he behaves. I offer her a whopping file of evidence on how he hasn't behaved so far, but she wants to see for herself. She swears she won't be observing my teaching. She's more right than she realises. In the end, he's an angel, but the rest aren't, and my own behaviour goes downhill.

Thursday My mentor comes into the same Year 8 group. Five people need a pen, three a new book. Someone gets a mouthful of ink and shows her blue oral cavity to everyone. The place erupts. One boy has chewing gum stuck to his trousers. The place erupts again. Then another teacher runs in to ask if I know who's covering upper school break because there's a fight.

Everyone rushes to the windows. In the end, my mentor says I coped quite well, but did I realise that they couldn't see red board pen from the back?

Friday A sixth-former asks if he can observe my non-verbal communication strategies as part of his communication studies course. He sits in on a top set Year 9 class, who behave impeccably, but I raise my eyebrows threateningly and point at a few of them so he has something to write about. The rest of the time he just has to watch boring verbal communication called teaching, which is more than anyone else did this week.

Fran Hill Fran Hill teaches English at Heathside school in Weybridge, Surrey

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