Thursday, July 05, 2007

A squashed or flat or deflated beans (day 3 and 4)

I probably won't be giving whole diagnosis of my next week, but this week has been an experience indeed! You can never really appreciate how much a teacher has to do. The nostalgia will always remain, and so will the new slang words I'm learning from this experience! One student spoke to me today in a series of raps...

I'll be honest with you- things were much different in my days! Seriously, it has been a shock and a half to notice this. We weren't necessarily always a good bunch, but we had boundaries, limitations and most of us had respect. Respect for the teacher who was educating us. We might have grumbled when at school, but we listened when the teacher spoke. We didn't say, 'Oi, what homework do we have?' That was a real eye opener as was the 'rapping'. I was thinking, 'eh- just get on with your bleeding work!'. Are all children nowadays attention seekers? Does all that matter to them is how to annoy teachers. Sigh I'm generalising, but it's not been the best of days today.

Yesterday on the other hand was good, well better than today. I had been with the year 8 set 2 maths class, and what they did I will discuss later. One student, sat on the other corner of the class, did nothing but glare at me throughout the lesson. Well whenever I looked up I noticed the corner of the students eyes creasing! I naturally gave a big grin back. :D Meh, that wasn't a positive start though. I was sat with three student - one who was into the 'work' and got on with it and so I assisted when possible. All the other two did was muck about and basically they hadn't even started the exercise. Like I said, with this teacher the class push the buttons at times and I think there should be an acceptable noise level. Is it not up to the teacher to get the whole class doing the work? The kids know that I can't do much and so although I got one person to start their work the rest just go 'I'm thinking' blah blah.

The funny thing that happened was that I spotted someone doing some other piece of homework when they were supposed to be doing the exercise. I took the homework and the student begged me to not to give it to the class teacher. In the end I didn't give it to the teacher, but I told the student that if question one hadn't been finished by the end of the lesson then the teacher would get it! The transformation in said student was bizarre. Question one was indeed completed but the vigour with which they were done was a complete contrast to the 'lazy' attitude which had been previously displayed. The problem is that these students don't seem to have motivation to study. They can't be 'bothered' and don't want to go to school. I think some motivation should be created for these students, since the majority seem to lack it. Two students just basically behaved disruptively throughout the lesson, and once again I was vague when answering their questions about myself. Work shadowing seems to be new word for them, so I always tend to confuse them with that first. :D

I was with set 3 of year 9 yesterday as well (and the set four year 7 class which is my favorite!). Year sevens are much better behaved than the rest of the school. Well they're easier to control! The year 9 class was so and so. I wasn't into it. (Another glaring student was also present). They were doing ratios- introductory stuff and told to get on with an exercise. Most of them managed to see what was happening and if I was sharing £1000 in the ratio 1:3, they'd first calculate the number of parts (4) and then do 1/4 \times 1000... . For some reason my new found 'mathematical grammar' kept on popping up! I tried to get the students to properly set their answers out and not just do the sums, but they were just in a hurry to finish. :o

I think I started writing stuff like, 'now we do this', 'we have such a such thing', from year 10 (thanks to Pops!). That continued through to college, but now at university, having read quite a few guides I at least hope that I know what to write and what no to write. [I was thinking that it'd be cool if I could see my exam papers and see how the examiner marked it- I did keep on being stupid and tried starting each sentence with a word rather than a number or symbol! Also, when I had realised that I'd used a word too frequently, I'd gone back and crossed it out to write 'thus'. By doing this I didn't feel like I was sitting an exam! Mustn't complain though. :D] My normal approach to questions with ratio is to work out the value for one part and then do the required calculations. One student was doing this but then realised that another student was on question 4 using the other method and so started fresh!

Since this is work experience this is obviously an opportunity for me to do administrative tasks. Humbug! Actually yesterday I didn't mind- the company was good, and I even stayed a bit later to help out. Today it was okay, but then one teacher pointedly asked me whether I was busy. I'd just been asked by someone else to do something and even though that was a trivial task, it was something, so I politely said I was doing something else. (Then I hid in a classroom with my lunch for a while!)

Today was a contrast to yesterday- maybe it's my fault for staying up till one-ish to watch V for Vendetta (it's a great movie, and I most definitely will have to watch it again. Honestly- I found it awesome, the whole concept etc. Did I mention it was great? ;) Would definitely recommend it!). Do you ever have the feeling that when you're moving you can feel your brain banging against your skull? Well that's how I've been feeling since I've been back - not too great that is. I had to walk there and back today, but I forget that I'm not a student at the school. I can't put my head down on the table and rest my eyes. I can't stare at the teacher with my head in the clouds- watching the mouth move, but nothing registers. I can't sit down all the time! How the heck do teachers do it? How do they manage to stay on their feet for most of the lesson? I suppose my timetable isn't like a normal teachers and well, I've only been there for a week! The good thing is that I'm shaking myself out of my previous routine, and obviously having done squat all during June, I'm out of shape.

Todays first lesson was with Lennie's class. I was day dreaming for most of the lesson, mostly about food! The topic of the lesson was 'how to use calculators efficiently'. I will most likely rant and rave about this in a new post since thinking about this lesson makes my head hurt.(wow- a whole post dedicated to my rantings, something to look forward to I suppose!) BTW, Texet calculators are not nice- it's Casio all the way for me (not the new model but the 'my days' model ;) ). I just sat with Lennie and his mates, helping them when they needed help. I did go for one walkabout but most of them knew what they were doing. I think it was the set 1 class.

Now it was after break when it got slightly messy. SG really got under my skin and I think today it was a clash of the giants. The class did area today, and apart from one or two students most got on with the work. As soon as one student (LS) walked in I was told, 'I'll need help today'. This signalled a long argument (good natured of course!) between us where I said that the work hasn't even been discussed yet! SG has a buddy. I was told by some other teachers that sometime these two students are physically at each others necks! They were separated in todays lesson and that didn't go down to well. The first thing SG did was to set the stage. Basically signalling to me that this is 'SG's class' and I have no business here. Truth be told I was in no mood for such childish games today. I ignored SG and did my job. The 'rapper', rapped me a few lines and LS kept on saying that help was needed when the question hadn't been read. These kids probably needed pushing, and I got LS doing the questions but I think 50 cents was 'attention seeking'. Well that's the way a teacher put it. 50 cents knew that he'd clearly drawn a rectangle and still he enquired whether or not it was square.

You see it was in this class where I noticed the horrible change of kids nowadays. Upon later talking to some staff, it seems that I'm more shocked of this kind of behaviour since I've never had to see it in full force. Also it's the first time (ish) where I've been at the other end of such behaviour. The staff said that you get used to it after a bit and then I should be able to filter it out and adapt to it. Trust me, it was weird. However, not all students are like that. Some were telling SG to shut the heck up, but it was to no avail. This brought back memories of when MO, from my secondary school had nearly reduced the physics teacher in year 9 to tears. MO would not shut up and felt that she was right. MO hadn't respected the teachers. At this moment I recall hating MO. I was an ickle bean then, and only to my friends did I complain. (MO was part of the louder crowd, and it was only in year 1o when I made my proper 'group'). MO's attitude had made me more determined to make sure that I did all the work for said Physics teacher. What do students like that get out of this? Why do they need to take this ego trip? Why do they want their egos pampering? Then they return to their groups and are given a pat on the back as they mock the teacher.

Thinking about MO has made me slightly angry. Whether or not a teacher is great, you have no right to disrespect him. I always believe that the key to learning is your teachers. They'll meet you half way but you've got to already be there waiting for them. The very thought of the stuff that comes out of some students mouth about their teachers is shocking. I think SG might have swore at me today, but then again I'm not great at lip reading. Maybe I was being childish, but I think I made it clear to SG that I wasn't here to play games. Maybe tomorrow will be different, but why am I even more inclined to go to SG's class? There is a difference of how you treat someone badly. 'If you've got something to say to me, say it to my face- alright?', to which I maybe immaturely replied to the person on my table, 'I wouldn't waste my breath talking about SG'. :o Sigh. SG's probably an insecure ickle kid who thinks that we have to talk about SG all the time. I don't think I'm angry with SG, but maybe at the lack of respect that some people have nowadays. Maybe the teacher of the class could've been firmer, since I know for a fact that SG would have sat like a good ickle student had the other teacher been teaching. [on second thought, I'd call it a draw. I think SG's a goodish kid since I just remembered talking about pentagons, but then I must concluded that SG and 50cents were just being attention seekers. Since when I wasn't paying attention to either one of them they thought it necessary to draw it. Hmm, seems an ideal site to describe my head].

Excuse the groaning. I'm surely going to be back in that class, and one hopes that I do better next time round. It's just with fifty cents and SG I don't know where to run to! So how does a teacher survive during days where ones brain is banging against ones skull? Gah- sometimes I wish I was the teacher, since then I wouldn't be letting SG walk about all over the class when moved. I don't think there is such a thing as a strict teacher. Maybe they seem like it, but what the teacher is doing is creating an environment with boundaries, in which he/she feels the students can best learn. They are necessary. From where I'm sat now, the worst thing that can happen to students is that they get lenient teachers. Mr B, and Dr H were 'strict'. Well if you didn't hand homework in Mr B. gave you the look the first time round, and Dr H. let you off. Second time round you were in big trouble. Same with Mrs. H, but this wasn't the case with Mrs. C and W. So yes- I used to push the boundaries as far as I could. (Well for Mrs C. anyway since that was the stats teacher. I was ok in C3, C4).

One of Milo's supervisors made him do all the questions from the problem sheets and hand them in. That wasn't required since we only had to hand the starred ones in for marking, but they had to hand them all in otherwise they probably wouldn't have got the 5%. During the first couple of weeks Milo did used to complain (whilst I most likely either erm... looked at Milo's answers or the back of the book- what can I say it was set theory and countables and what not. I learnt my lesson though. :)). However that was only for the first six weeks! After a while Milo realised that by doing the questions, the person benefiting the most was Milo. So then I started trying to do all the questions, since then Milo and myself would be able to discuss them. I even noticed the difference of being informed about my course and blindly copying and pasting everything. Milo had to the questions because of the environment the lecturer had created for the supervision group. I joined to that environment and I benefited, since this practise continued into my other modules. So the environments are made for our benefit- it's up to us to make the most out of them.

Woops going of another tangent again. I do badly want to be a teacher sometimes but then my head plays mind games. I had a certain ideal in my head, taken from my time at school, about how students should behave to students etc. Although MO used to behave that way there used to be a majority of us that buffered this attitude, but soon MO 'calmed' down. College did slightly dent this idea, since it was then that I saw a student behave like MO. At 16/17 you should darn well know better. This student then behaved the same way to Dr. R (he called the teacher a **** head to his face- what the heck!). This student used to express supremacy over teachers. He was brilliant and got the best grades possible, which probably made him arrogant (trust me it was annoying waiting for him to finish so the teacher could teach). He'll go on from success to success, but the sad thing I felt was that he didn't care and he didn't realise that what he was doing was not good. (Obviously he got the pat on the back from his crowd as well...)

University slowly started repairing this dent, since communication with the lecturers is up to you. In your crowds you may discuss the highs and lows of lecturers- we all have our opinions and that's what we do. But your opinions, thoughts and impressions of someone should never cause you to treat them differently. Especially when you're 18/19- grow up for Pete's sake. Woo- this seems to have rattled my cage. I guess I am tired, but I'm really loving this whole experience. I enjoy walking with a purpose down the corridor to the next lesson. [Although today I did mess up due to a timetable mix up since I forgot about the year 7 lesson,(I did sulk for a while and was annoyed with myself)].

I can't wait for the weekend. To conclude, today I wondered how the lecturers managed to write on blackboards for up to 50 minutes. At the same time we can read their writing as well, and they don't obviously write like me (i.e. holiday the writing arm with my other hand!). When I'd escaped to that classroom I'd just written random maths stuff on the board (ah well, I was bored and like writing on boards). My writing wasn't neat to start of with and then it got smaller and smaller as my hand got tireder and tireder (is there a course for being able to write on the board? ;)). So the lecturer/teachers stand up for at least 50 minutes lecturing us, and then they have the unique ability to write on boards properly - making it look effortless - and then I wonder why I get annoyed when people disrespect teachers/lecturers! Not forgetting of course what they're writing on the boards and what they say at the same time. Maybe it's because in my life, the teachers I've had have got me to where I am today i.e. in terms of motivating and inspiring me, but I believe the opportunity to be inspired and motivated is there for everyone. Not necessarily by the same teachers and lectures that got me working, but there are many teachers out there. [I'll probably be a really bad teacher. :o Would you call my ideals old fashioned? Hopefully by doing more work experience I'll become slightly more confident about things!]

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