I’ve been reminiscing about the early days of my teaching career. Remembering those moments that have stuck with me either because of the positive impact it had on my teaching or, more commonly, those moments when the children taught me something important.
I spent the summer holiday before my first teaching job planning and decorating my classroom. Oh what fun I had!
Different areas of the classroom were marked out; bright boards covered the walls; learning resources with easy to read labels and, my piece de resistance, the Post Office role-play area. It was stunning. Forms to fill in, date stamps, packaging, some groceries, cash register, uniforms and serving counter. It was a work of art even though I say so myself.
The children came into the classroom and there was a lot of excitement, especially when they saw the ‘post office’. Four children were chosen to go into the role play area, 2 boys and 2 girls. I envisaged a lovely game of shopping and maybe posting a letter.
‘Put your hands up!’ wasn’t something I was expecting to hear as I turned around to see my post office being held up at Lego gunpoint with one of the girls standing behind the counter emptying the till.
‘Quick, get out before the rozzers come!’ and the villains scarpered.
I learnt very quickly to expect the unexpected. I realised that my view of life had been somewhat blinkered up until then and these children helped me along a steep learning curve.
Robbing the Milkman.
For some children writing is a chore and an arduous one at that. I had a class of 30 seven year olds who came from all walks of life. The majority of them fell into the category of ‘writing haters’ and it was difficult to motivate them.
I’m ashamed to say that on one Monday morning I succumbed to the cop out lesson of ‘write about what you did over the weekend’.
No, it didn’t have a dream ending with all the children producing epic tales with perfect spelling and grammar!
Archie was upset when he was told to go to play because he wanted to finish his writing. Believe me, this was totally out of character but who was I to stifle an emerging genius. So Archie stayed in and finished his work.
At home that night I was reading the recounts the children had written. I say, reading’ but most were illegible until I got to Archie’s book.
He had written two pages of excellent writing and had included a diagram to help me understand the text – so sweet. The title of Archie’s masterpiece:
‘Me And Scott Robbed The Milkman’
In my loft I still have a copy of his work but feel it would be inappropriate to put it here as milkmen have a hard enough time as it is.
Just understand though, that robbing the milkman can only be successful if you have an older brother!!
Archie never produced the same calibre of work again but I knew he could.