Thank God it's Friday

28th January 2005 at 00:00
Monday It's my NQT year and I'm watched continually. This isn't because I'm engaging in criminal activity, although sometimes I feel like it with my bottom set Year 8s. It's because the lot of every NQT is to be scrutinised, and if that means I'm checking the toilet cubicle to make sure there's no camera, so be it.

Tuesday My line manager watches a Year 7 lesson. We're talking chimpanzees (that's the subject of the story we're reading, not the pupils, but it's a close-run thing). I've asked for one little chap to be looked after by someone else. (Of course, he behaves impeccably.) My observer points out that I asked for volunteer "good readers". Damn. My equal opportunities box won't get ticked, then.

Wednesday Someone approaches me five minutes before I take bottom set Year 8s. She's from the special needs department and wants to 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, sadly, 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 all the way.

Thursday My mentor comes into the same group. Five pupils need pens, three new books. Someone gets a mouthful of ink and shows off her blue oral cavity. The place erupts. One boy has chewing gum stuck to his trousers.

The place erupts again. Another teacher runs in to ask who's covering upper school break because there's a fight. Everyone rushes to the windows. In the end, my mentor says I coped well, but did I realise they couldn't see red board pen from the back? Did that matter, I wonder?

Friday A sixth-former asks if he can observe my non-verbal communication strategies. He sits in on a top set Year 9 class who are on their best behaviour, 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 has to watch boring verbal communication called teaching, which is more than anyone else has done this week.

Pauline Rose teaches in Richmond-upon-Thames.She writes under a pseudonym

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