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My first week of teaching.

March 10, 2008

I would have written this post on Saturday, but I spent a large part of it asleep and most of the time when I wasn’t asleep eating.  On Sunday I decided to follow the wise words of a Zen cow I got as a birthday card once – it suggested the one should ‘wander aimlessly and eat alot’ I did both on my way home from church.  I also had a very strange conversation with a woman in the inca market about alpaca fleeces (which you apparently can’t get – they always cut them up and make them into rugs of a more sensible shape).  I could have bought a sheep one for 75 Soles (15 pounds) without bargaining.  Alpaca is MUCH softer though, so I am currently in a quandry.  Natural fleece or softer, but slightly more manufactured rug?  Difficult choice, but I don’t need to decide until it gets colder.

 I have now taught right through my timetable once (last Monday didn’t count as it was mainly admin).  It seems OK.  I have bored my lower sixth to death doing a practical on the rate of diffusion into agar blocks and the effect of surface area (hence cells being small).  At least when you watch paint dry you can get high from the smell and don’t have to wear safety specs…

My GCSE kids are nice – I’ve already done activities with them that I wouldn’t have tried with most of my classes in ‘ull!  And weirdest of all they all say goodbye and thankyou at the end of the lesson!  I have had all the homework I have set back in so far too – I’m sure this can’t be normal, but other staff say it is!

The swimming standards were not as much chaos as I thought they’d be – the kids pretty much knew what they were doing, and seemed to naturally want to line up in alphabetical order.  Even the most unathletic kids did 50m and most were quite competitive about it!  The bit that confused me most is that otherwise fast and graceful swimmers took 3 or 4 seconds to turn round at the end of their length – very few of them could do those turning-under-water type turns you see in real races.  I think it’s because they do most of their swimming at the beach over the summer.  Stupidly I forgot to take sun lotion or my nice new Oakley sunglasses so spent a lot of the time squinting and trying to keep in the shade – still I’ll know better for next time.  Other house events that are coming up include a National Anthem singing competition, the proper swimming gala and a music contest.

 The main stumbling block to good lessons is the scarlet Macaw.  I am convinced now that he is being deliberately disruptive, safe in the knowledge that I can’t give him a detention.  I’m sure he watches me in the room, and only starts to squawk if I stand at the front and try and talk to the group.  When I’m walking round, helping pupils etc. he is silent.  As soon as I go near my desk, or pick up the eBeam pen, cacophony!  Driving me mad, but amuses the kids no end.  Maybe I should try bribeing him with fruit…

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