Thank God It's Friday

24th March 1995 at 00:00
Monday: The last week of my first main teaching practice. It was something of an ordeal when I started with Year 3 and I considered then that I should have trained to work in a bank after all. How things change. Now they are in the palm of my hand, hanging on to every word as I read the final part of "The Iron Man". Sarah is dribbling, her mouth is open so wide. I have one eye on the book, one on Johnathon, but he is absorbed too, for once.

Tuesday: A small card on my desk. "You ar my bestist teecher evr. From Michael". The children are assessing "materials" for their science and I see encouraging signs: "sand is a natural material used to make glass," from Andrea; "a wooden door is man-made, but the material is natural," from Linda.

Some lateral thinking too: "a radiator has both natural and man-made materials - it is full of water," states Amber. Johnathon thinks he's a dog again. I ask him to bark a little more quietly.

Wednesday: Decide to walk the three miles to school, to see the primroses and convince myself it's almost Spring. It begins to rain when I am half way there. My supervisor visits to see my first dance and movement lesson, dramatising "The Iron Man".

The children step into the void beyond a cliff edge, piece themselves together, dig a huge pit, fly into the sun, and glide through the darkness surrounding the Earth in quick succession.

Twenty-five minutes was possibly a mite over-ambitious for "A Story in Five Nights". The children are worn out, including Johnathon; I should have done this sort of thing more often. It turns out that my supervisor is an expert on the subject. Never mind. She has to see one mediocre lesson, it makes her feel useful.

Thursday: A busy day. Problem-solving in maths is very popular - in what order can you hang three pairs of different coloured socks on a washing line? I join in the exercise, and the children are thrilled. Four of them manage to improve on my best efforts, two of them (and here's the joy) so-called "lesser ability" pupils. I have to peel them from their work to send them out to play. A picture of the "Iron Man" has been left on my bag; on the reverse is the five times table in seven-year-old scrawl and a note. "I dont wont you to gow. From Helen". The sentiment is shared.

I start thinking about university, and the number of essays and assignments I still have to write. Teaching practice has been like an oasis in the middle of a desert; now it is all but dried up.

Friday: Johnathon is behaving strangely again. He has made a bed under the sink. At least he's calm, and not throwing chairs.

I'm taken out for lunch by my class-teacher. She's been an excellent mentor, and we have shared the same sense of humour.

Her final practical joke is a merit certificate for me in the "good work" assembly. Tears, goodbyes, and a deluge of cards and presents.

On the bus home I am already thinking of my next school, and whether I will have a job come September. As I stand up for my stop, a small card falls to the floor. "Thank you. Love from Johnathon," it says. Who wants to be a bank manager, anyway?

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