Chronicles from the Teacher’s Staffroom – Part 1

Teaching after 50 isn’t easy for a whole range of reasons. These initial stories give a taste of one teacher’s experience.

It used to be that doctors and police officers did not like to admit to their profession when meeting people socially. That dislike has now extended to teachers. Admit you are a teacher in a social setting and people will either attack you for the failing literacy rate or ask your advice about their children – how can we help then to survive the current education system.

Teachers face a difficult job. No longer do we just need to educate; we need to raise children as more parents are turning over the raising of their children to schools.

Despite this, we soldier on aided by what are known as supply teachers. These used to be people who either could not find a teaching job full time or women returning to the workforce after a break to have children. They are able to work their own hours for what is a reasonable salary.

Now however, more and more experienced teachers are leaving the profession and turning to supply teaching. Of course the downside is not knowing the children in the class and often being seen as “not quite real teachers” by the children and sometimes by staff members. The upside is being able to walk away at the end of the day; NO PAPERWORK!

“Teachers face a difficult job. No longer do we just need to educate; we need to raise children as more parents are turning over the raising of their children to schools.”

My favourite story involves a year three child at a “challenging” school. He had been pushing the envelope for a large part of the morning. I finally turned to him and told him that I was very sad with his choices and would have to move his name to the sad face board.

He looked me straight in the eye and replied” Like I give a shit!!!

All teachers have stories like this. The child who when asked why there was no room at the inn for Mary and Joseph replied it was because “they hadn’t booked “and it was Christmas!

Or the child who named the gifts from the Three Wise Men to the Christ child as gold, Frankenstein and mercury.

I can remember the fist fight between two mothers after one child told another that her mother had called the other mother a “slag.”

When discussing terms of endearment, a reception child revealed that the term of endearment his dad used for his mum as “slut.”

Of course not all stories come from the children. I can remember a school, again very challenging, where the deputy head teacher approached me at lunchtime to ask if I was going to stay for the rest of the day!

Or the school where when I took a mug to make myself a coffee was told that supply teachers had to use the white cups.

I remember a Year 2 class. I was on long term supply because their teacher was off with “stress “. The children were sitting on the carpet in front of me when I noticed a child who seemed to be hiding something in her hand. When questioned she became very defensive and then began to cry. Not knowing what I had said to upset her, I asked what was wrong. She was unable to answer so her friend replied “It is her pet nit Miss.
Shrinking away inside, I told her to go and wash her hands. Her friend comforted her by telling her not to worry; she could always get another one out of her hair!!!

Anyone who is or has been a teacher will have a store of these kinds of stories. If they didn’t happen to you they happened to someone else.

Please feel free to comment or to add to the “supply”.

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