Thank God it's Friday

20th October 2006 at 01:00
Monday It's rejuvenating being a Year 7 form tutor again. Having been most careful to ease them into big school gently, and not be sarcastic (yet), I make the error of inviting questions before they go off to lessons. One lad had obviously been worrying since I had explained about toilet opening times, and asked if the staff were careful to make sure there were no occupants before they locked the door. It took self-control to deal with his question seriously, and refuse all temptation to utter the phrase "flushed out". I remained dead-pan.

Tuesday Everyone's talking about self-evaluation, so I read up on it, and it doesn't take long to appreciate how it works. If you tell Ofsted you think you're doing a reasonable job, that's bad, because it shows that your self-evaluation isn't up to much. If, on the other hand, you tell them that you're rubbish, that's good: your self-evaluation is spot on. You are also saving Ofsted the time it would take to tell you you're rubbish, so everyone wins. I consider the merits of putting myself in special measures.

Wednesday I slip into a strange parallel universe. Term is still young, but this morning at staff briefing the Christmas "do" (or "don't" in my case) was being organised. At the evening class tutor meeting (where I am a mere maths teacher among flower arrangers, wine tasters, yoga grand masters and the like) there was a surreal discussion about recording progress. It was suggested that the yoga class take pictures of themselves in various positions throughout the course. I suppose if you are dedicated enough to inflict yoga on innocent people then it's only natural to want to bend over backwards to help them.

Thursday What used to be called basic manners now glories in the title "behaviour for learning" and comes under the heading "initiative". I unveil the poster in my classroom which advocates the HUNT method for developing co-operation skills: Halt and see what's going on, Understand the views of others, Negotiate ways forward and Try so everybody feels okay. (One of my form wrote down "understand the views of otters"; nice to see some ecological awareness in one so young.) Friday As Hunting is no longer politically correct I have decided to patent my own "behaviour for learning" plan: Co-operation, Respect, Application and Perseverance. All I need now is a snappy title for it, but I can't seem to think of one. Oh well, never mind, Christmas will be here soon.

William Arkit-Wright teaches maths in North Yorkshire. He writes under a pseudonym

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