Stage Combat

27 11 2013

Bullying and Harrassment in the Workplace

Every year in November I teach the entire year 9 cohort unarmed stage combat.

It is two full days of slaps, punches, eye gouging and falling to the floor.

While I love teaching this workshop it is intense and very noisy.

This year I have an extra problem. At four and a half months pregnant, apparently it is not advisable for me to approach the next two days with my usual gusto and enthusiasm – and definitely no falling to the floor! The two fellas who help me out are extremely enthusiastic but they are not specialists. However they are very protective and looking forward to throwing some punches on my behalf tomorrow.

So in the words of Drowning Pool: Let the bodies hit the floor – as long as none of them are mine!

“Did I get it right Miss?”

22 11 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt the end of my pretty mad week a yr9 boy bounced up to me in my last lesson of the day.

He reached into his pocket and produced a packet of milky buttons and a packet of chocolate buttons and with a beaming face asked me, “Did I get it right Miss?”

Seeing an opportunity for mischief and not fully grasping his question I took the packets and walked away exclaiming “Ohhhh, these are my favourites at the minute!”

As I grinned and offered the packets back to the still beaming child he repeated his question, “So, did I get it right Miss?”

I was a little confused and asked “Did you get what right sunshine?”

“Well you said that the baby is making you want buttons at the minute. I couldnt remember what type so I bought you one of each with my paper round money. One packet is for you and one is for Lumpy.”

In truth I dont remember sharing this information with my class so it must have been an aside at some point. But the fact that this 12 year old boy had not only taken it on board but gone home and decided to spend his hard earned pocket money on such a thoughtful gift has really moved me.

Even in the worst weeks working in education, there is always a child who you have reached, who in turn will reach back to you at a time when you most need a reminder of why one of the most rewarding careers available is in teaching.

Happy Friday xx

17th October teacher strike: An open letter to parents

16 10 2013

On 17th Oct, along with my fellow teachers, I will be on strike. Public oinion may not always be for teachers but I found this great open letter to parents that I wanted to share. It is easy to forget in the midst of the disruption and politics, that teachers not only know what is in the best interests of their students, but care about fighting for education.

Equus altus

Dear Parents

I’ve taken some time out to write this open letter to you because I believe it’s important to let you know why I am striking with my fellow teachers on Thursday 17th October.

Firstly, let me apologise for the inevitable inconvenience this action will cause many of you. Teachers do recognise – partly because many of them are parents themselves – that having to find childcare for the day or take a day off work to look after your children is a burden. That’s why taking strike action is always a very last resort. Believe me, none of us are particularly keen on losing a day’s pay either.

Many of you will have read in the press or heard on the news that teachers are taking strike action over changes to their pay and pensions. Often, this is shrouded in an air of disapproval, almost as if…

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Lop-sided pigtails and wonky glasses

5 10 2013


Last week something very unusual happened to me – I was sent home sick from my Saturday job.

I returned today feeling a little bit grotty and exhausted from a tiring week at school.

By my last class of the day I was already longing for home when I sat in front of the beaming faces of the 4-6year old group.

They squirmed sitting on the floor in front of me struggling to contain their excitement about regaling me with updates of their busy social schedules. I was about to call time on the “news” section of my lesson when I selected a little girl with the most serious  expression possible, contrasting with the fabulously lop-sided pigtails and wonky glasses that kept sliding down her nose forcing her to push them back into position every few minutes.

I have a soft spot for this type of child because I myself was once one of them. I could not compete with the pristine, blond haired, blued eyed girls whose mothers knew how to tease their hair into an immaculate French braid every morning, I was always a little unpolished, but like the little girl in front of me this afternoon I was very earnest.

When the rest of the group had finally settled and stopped what appeared to be attempts to polish to floor with their bottoms, she spoke.

“I just wanted to say that I am so glad you are better. We missed you so much. I love Drama; it’s my favourite because you’re the teacher.”

I only had a second to well up before 12 little 4-6 year old bodies launched themselves at me for a group hug to show their appreciation.

For the remainder of the lesson I did not feel the slightest bit grotty and wore a massive massive smile.


Self Evaluation

23 09 2013

evaluation 1Ahhh its that time of year again.

I must complete a dozen forms to justify my existance and beg to move up the payscale.

Apparently it is not sufficient to look at the grades achieved by my students, the countless drop in observations completed of my practice throughout the year, my contribution at department, faculty and whole school level or even my commitment to new whole school policy and practice.

One might think that consideration would be given to the fact that I ran the department for a year, completed the paperwork – useful and useless alike, managed a number of supply staff, set cover work, led the team through an Ofsted inspection.

But despite all the student voice activities, the success of my summer production, the organisation of readers for the carol service and entertainment for the outgoing head teachers retirement party consisting of original pieces of drama written specially for the occassion; I must REFLECT of the past year and EVALUATE what I learnt, the progress I made, how I could improve, what new training I would benefit from and what would be a good next step.

I question what else I can bring to the table. But nevertheless I must work it out and commit it to writing in triplicate!

Apparently a Tony the Tiger “I’m Great!” will not suffice – I know I checked.

I am all for professional development – but at what stage am I “developed enough”?

Day 1

3 09 2013


After 5 glorious weeks off today was the first day of school.


It promises to be a very long year.

Start of Term

2 09 2013

Back 2 School

I stumbled accross the following words of wisdom. I do not know the original source of these words but they seem apt:


“Twas the night before school started and all through the town

All the teachers were groaning…a disturbing sound!

By 10 they were all wasahed and tucked up in bed,

where the memories of children filled them with dread!

New pencils, newfolders, new registers too.

New classes, new grey hairs their anxiety grew.

The parents just giggled when they heard of this fright,

“You’ve have 6 weeks off. They’re all yours, so tough shite!!

I love it and feel that it acurately sums up my current mood as I am due to start back at school after a wonderful break tomorrow.

To anonomyos author, I take my hat off to you for capturing the spirit of the moment so completely.

And to all teachers everywhere – have a great start of term and a wonderful & productive academic year!