Today, I encountered my greatest teaching challenge to date. I’ve endured the horror of a sweltering parents’ evening in 35° heat, the audacity of disrespectful children and the embarrassment of explaining to at least 100 children how I fell over and sprained my ankle. However nothing, not one hurdle I have been faced with matches today.
Today, year 8 were working hard on redrafting their work; the silence was blissful. Upon being asked to read a piece of comma-less work, I noticed in my peripheral vision, a flash of white dart across the room and hit the back of a head. My teacher training prepared me well for exactly this sort of eventuality, so I knew precisely how to move forward; sit back, and watch proceedings unfold…
Incredulous, Child X turned around, his stealth palpable as he stared around the room. Directed by subtle signals from several members of the class his vision was funnelled to the source of his confusion and he bent down to retrieve it…
“Child X, I’ll take that thankyou…”
“BUT I DIDN’T EVEN THROW IT!”
“That’s as may be, but I’m positive you will deliver it to me…”
Begrudgingly, Child X makes his way across the room; the sound of his feet against the carpet suggests his disdain at being forced to bring me the culpable object. What should drop into my hand? A very tiny aeroplane, approximately 1 inch long, and reeking of classroom criminality. Cue some serious behaviour management strategies:
“Would the artist of this very tiny aeroplane like to step outside my classroom?”
No movement. The air was still, silent, deathly. No person dared move for fear of being branded the aeronautic classroom crook.
“OK, put it this way; if the artist of this very tiny aeroplane doesn’t own up, I’ll have no choice but to keep the entire class back at break…”
A moment of tense silence, followed by rustling, then a gradual movement to the door. Not one to take the whole class down, I went to challenge Child Y in the corridor.
“Child Y, what exactly should you have been doing?”
“Writing… But Miss… I didn’t throw it… I only made it!”
A twist in the tale; my sleuthing skills were required once more. I reentered the classroom, determined to apprehend this criminal once and for all. 30 peering eyes; apprehensive, anticipating my next statement. This was my moment to shine. And the moment I blew it…
“Would the pilot of this very tiny aeroplane, also like to step out into the corridor please…?”
Laughter filled the room. Not from the children; oh no. This is where I failed, dear friends. I am good at many things. Pretending something isn’t hilarious, isn’t one of them. As Child Z left the room, I was overwhelmed by the absurdity of my job and the menace was lost.
Sometimes, you have to cut loose; sometimes it’s impossible not to watch two year 8s doubled over in laughter in the corridor and not laugh. Sometimes it’s the best thing that will happen to you all day.
Today’s teaching tale culminates in this; thankyou Child X, Y and Z, for reminding me how magical it is to laugh with you, and for the very tiny aeroplane that now lives on my notice board…
“But miss, to be fair it does fly really well!”
Not now I’ve stuck a sentimental hole in it, it won’t…