Thank God it's Friday

15th July 2005 at 01:00
Monday It's an INSET day today, all about pedagogy, with a visiting behaviour management consultant. My spirits are already low, when we are invited to start by drawing a pig. The idea is to "break the ice" within our working groups. I immediately grow an extra layer of permafrost. We are told the position and style of our drawing gives an insight into our character. Apparently I am backward-looking and, much to the amusement of my colleagues, very optimistic. The tail tells the observer about one's love life. Modesty forbids me to say more, but I can tell you that several female colleagues now view me in a very different light.

Tuesday The coursework moderation meeting gets started, but there is a strange lack of focus as the conversation drifts away from the merits of counting word lengths in newspapers to the subject of pigs. Rumour has it that several colleagues yesterday were observed trying to enhance their drawings when they thought no one was watching. I begin to wonder if there is such a word as pedagogy. Is it actually "piggydodgy" and I've been getting it wrong all these years?

Wednesday I am delighted with the efforts my Year 8 class have made with rotation and, as a reward, I decide to let them do some display work, enabling me to demonstrate my new-found skills in behaviour management and being positive. Within 10 minutes one of the lads tentatively puts up his hand to ask "Sir, why are you being so nice to us today?"

Thursday Part of positive pedagogy involves the greeting of pupils warmly at the classroom door and sharing the aims of the lesson with them. I have created an aims board in my classroom, and I thought I would conduct an experiment with Year 13. They thought I was ill, and wanted their old teacher back. Consequently, it wasn't long before the aims board contained the legend "get on with your bloody work".

Friday At the end of a very long week, my positivometer is pointing to low and my face hurts from all the smiley greetings. Perhaps wedging a coat hanger in my mouth would be the easiest solution. Before morning briefing, we are talking about bottom groups, and our student teacher makes an unusually cynical observation. The department immediately ask me if I have been coaching him.

I am unable to claim any credit for his achievement, but out of the corner of my eye I notice a pig flying past the staffroom window.

William Arkit-Wright teaches maths in North Yorkshire

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