Monday, June 09, 2008

Mr Wymi.

Today has been a nightmare of a day. Or maybe I am saying that, because the nightmare events happened towards the end?

My day started at 8am and I finished at 3:25pm. I was pleased that the school were prepared for me and my link teacher seems cool. She gave me a timetable though, which is FULL. I know I mustn't grumble, and I haven't actually grumbled yet.

The first lesson was just my induction, and things were explained to me. I took this time to try and read my booklets! My link teacher told me that for the first week I will be observing lessons throughout the school, for all departments, and then for the last two weeks, just work with the mathmos. I will be given a project to work on, but still I would rather think of something creative myself. Next week I will probably start some delivery too, which I am absolutely dreading.

I think the attitude of the students is what will inevitably kill me. The first lesson that I observed was a top set of year 10s, and they were using graphs to solve simultaneous equations. I have no idea as to what they are expected to know in year 10 you see, but honestly speaking, the syllabus has changed so much since I was at school. (I did have a flick through my school work, but that was of no use whatsoever). I didn't particularly enjoy this lesson because none of the students were motivated to work. Not one had the energy and enthusiasm to get on with it, and one student claimed: "I'm clever so it's OK if I talk-- I'll finish the work before anyone else. That claim was correct, but the student didn't realise that by talking, others were prevented from finishing too.

This was the first time I saw a whiteboard in action and I HATE IT. It is horrible and reeks of non-mathematics. WHERE are the blackboards, or whiteboards even, I cried despondently. It takes some getting used to, that silly piece of machinery.

From a mathematicians point of view, I noticed that the teacher wrote:

x=0 \qquad y=2+1(0) = 2

Whereas I would have wrote:

\text{If } x=0 \text{ then } y=2. \text{ So the coordinate is blah...}

My walk around the class showed me that the students had the same structure as the teacher, and I found it difficult to make sense of their work. The teacher was very nice though, but I think it was one nil to the class on this occasion. In my opinion the lesson not challenging for many students, hence all they did was complain.

The next lesson was about geometry and angle constructions. Basically using a compass and a ruler, to make angles of 60 degrees etc. This was a better controlled lesson, and on this occasion I found the compass on the white board pretty cool! (Ooh, I'm such a hypocrite...) Once again (apart from laughing at me) the group I was sat with did nothing but complain. This was a set one class too. It's weird but I'm trying to remember what I was like in lessons which I didn't like very much. It all actually depended on the teacher in my case, but I can't really relate with these students because I used to sprint to my maths lessons. (And I'm not ashamed! My maths teacher was awesome and I didn't like the days we didn't have maths.)

It took me back to my school days, the grumbling students did, because they reminded me of Trevor (my good friend from school). He was brilliant at maths but all he did was grumble and walk extra slowly when it came to maths lessons. We always used to have a good old argument because he always forgot his calculator, and to stop his complaints before they started (and delayed the maths lesson!) I used to give him mine! Whoops--I better come back to the here and now. Perhaps it is my memories which are causing me this sense of frustration?

I only had a 30 minute lunch and no tea at all, which made sure I was very vulnerable towards the end of the day. Students--they have an inbuilt radar (I should know I suppose, but I don't think I was ever rude in my exuberance, or disrespectful.)

Lesson 4 was Biology and I felt a sense of longing to study A Level Biology again. Honestly that stuff is fascianting beyond belief, and the MSOI Body work display was amazing (which I saw on Friday). It was eerie but that's the part of biology that I find most interesting--the human body. (By the way, if you do visit the display, watch out for the eyes!)

Biology was a quiet lesson because all I did was sit (woohoo and boohoo). I don't think the lesson had a plan of some sort, because with biology lessons you can do so much on each topic. The subject is very much alive. It was interesting in terms of what was being taught, but as a student I wouldn't have learnt much from it. The idea of me observing other departments is to see the variety of teaching methods out there.

It was after this point that the tides changed colour and my day became sour. I seem to attract the troublemakers, and the gits who have no respects and think they're "cool". Perhaps I shouldn't have said that, but I was sat in an RE lesson, and my bad luck got worse when the loud group sat next to me. My shoulders physically slumped (my fault I know) and they just attacked me from that point on. It was mainly two students, and another two doing the typical supporting (i.e. giggle at everything that was said to me). I did try to remain "normal" and friendly to them, but I failed. They know that it is one nil to them, and I will try to avoid them whenever possible. I am going to ask the maths teacher not to assign me to their class ever again. Po reckons they bullied me and had a good laugh at my recollection of what was said to me. They all did.

I laughed myself (after crashing out and having a long nap as soon as I got home!) but it is not really funny. They made personal remarks and it wasn't very nice. On hindsight, I should have moved to another table as soon as possible, but my sense were numbing my thoughts. They were rude and out of order. This is my first day too!! I can't be "rude" back you see, and I can't even tell them off or shout at them. (That's not part of my role). The teacher didn't seem to have an idea, but I think when she did she turned a blind eye.

I know, I know. I have to get used to this. Three blimmin weeks and already I am crying about tomorrow. I'm like a school kid saying, "Mum I don't want to go to school tomorrow!"

It's the lack of respect for other students, teachers, the building and their learning environment which saddens me. My school was one of the... deprived ones you could say. It was a struggle and we had to appreciate the little resources we had. However, we achieved so much in terms of school community and a positive environment. The students tell me: "Oh that teachers evil, she's a right...." you get the gist. I sound old... what can I say, the days have been catching up on me.

I miss university and maths.

If I am being honest, it has been a shock to my system, but tomorrow is a new day and I will be OK. I just need to have this rant. I am sick of people making decisions for me all the time--no matter how trivial. When I ask for your advice and thoughts, it doesn't mean that I will follow it up! For Pete's sake, I ask 10 billion people for advice. I have three PTs, and not all of them agree on certain points; and if I do what one advises as opposed to another, they don't get offended! That's the whole point of advice. It allows me to see all the avenues available and leaves the choice to me.

I heard it again today, after quite a long time: you shouldn't have done a maths degree, it is not too late to change. Sigh. Doing four years seems more and more distant as my time at university comes to a close. That's why I will be doing a project in my third year. No one can predict the future, but I can say with a heavy heart that I will most likely never do my fourth year. I am just kidding myself, holding onto that minute bit of hope which gives me so much. I don't want to do teaching any more. I would rather do nothing. Perhaps college teaching would be more suited to my temperament?

The discussion of my degree definitely made the day horrible. I had my rant about the "bullies" after waking from my nap. (Gosh-that sounds ridiculous. I'm turning twenty soon and 13 year old kids were ripping me to pieces!) This post was just meant to make a note of my observation of the lessons, but as always I got carried away. (Incidentally, the maths teacher had asked me what I'm going my project on! I have no idea to be honest, but hope to know more in four weeks time).

Finally(!), I always have my imagination when things get a bit annoying etc. and trust me, I best leave my thoughts where they belong. (The big bully really wouldn't have enjoyed what I had in store for him.... hehe!) I'm taking my erm... well a shotgun is too big, so what would you recommend I take? (This is in the name of personal safety of course! :D )

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