21 November 2006


7.15 Stumble to the bathroom and once again retune the shower radio to Radio Sheffield. Why do the kids insist on twirling the knob to Galaxy FM or Radio Hallam - pop music pap and inane babble? I need words. News. Perhaps this will be the morning when they announce that an unexploded World War II bomb has blasted my place of work to smithereens.
7.54 In the car and the race is on. If I can make it to Shore Lane before the radio pips at eight then I know I'll be okay - I'll be at work on time. It's a journey I have made so many times but every morning is slightly different. I have invented a new verb - to be "wallied". It means when you're in a hurry and dumb road users hold you up - the old guy who won't turn right unless there's no other car in view, the brewery lorry that's reversing at the speed of drying paint around a busy corner, the taxi that's waiting to make a pick up in the middle of a congested street - that's when you know you've been wallied!
8.19 The car's parked. It's Groundhog Day. I'm jogging through the puddles. Up the library steps to the morning briefing. Made it. There's stuff about excluded kids and teachers failing to make correct entries on the "Lesson Monitor" computer lists. Nobody mentions how long it takes to load up this mother or all the other little glitches and hitches associated with this state-of-the-art facility that we are not allowed to question. Computer gods.
8.35 I'm in the main hall ticking off names. The Student Tracking Co-ordinator (formerly Head of Year!) is berating the youngsters for poor attendance and punctuality, warning them that "Lesson Monitor" is watching them. It sounds like a lizard from the Galapagos Islands - the rare but ferocious lesson monitor - watching with her beady eyes from some arboreal perch. At the end of this truly inspirational assembly, the kids are asked to stack six plastic chairs each but for that to happen there would need to be at least three times as many chairs! I laugh with Dale that he's only picked up four chairs. Doesn't anybody do mental arithmetic any more?
8.55 The Year 8 boys have arrived at my room. Between the nine of them they have about fourteen brain cells. It's like stirring porridge. We made up a story about Jack Prankster - a cartoon kid I had produced on the interactive whiteboard. Jack used superglue to stick his grandma to her rocking chair. The identical twins are the dumbest of the lot. They fiddle with pens, taking them apart while completely forgetting their alphabets. They would make Homer Simpson look like a rocket scientist. Even so, these kids are nice enough and I tell them so. Good manners and cheerfulness count for a lot in my book. Sod their bloody National Curriculum targets! As long as they do as they're told and say "please" and "thank you", I'm happy.


11.00 The last of the Year Eleven's have entered the room - ten minutes late after break. I note this fact on "Lesson Monitor" - certain that my note will be utterly and completely ignored. We're on with Robert Cormier's "Heroes" for the GCSE Literature exam and - wonders will never cease - they actually like it. It's gripped them. Francis has found out where Larry LaSalle is living and he's going there, the gun in his pocket "like a tumour", determined to take the ultimate revenge.

11.45 The result of the Key Stage Three SATs Review has arrived in school and whoopee! -we're four percentage points up. All those hours I spent on the summer papers and the mark scheme and the bloody forms - it's paid off. We are now just a shade beneath our target. When the Spanish Inquisition come to call, they won't be baying for my blood. I phone the headteacher with the good news but of course her phone is permanently engaged - a single monotonous whine - she's away on one of her mysteriously important trips, no doubt bringing back more exciting news that has little to do with the morons I am just going to bollock in one of the Science labs. Bizarrely, they are in groups devising lyrics for anti-bullying songs. It's their PSHE Day. Personal and Social Education. Crap in other words!
12.50 Sandwich box. Shirley kindly filled it this morning. Roast pork and tomato. A mini Melton Mowbray pork pie and an apple. I'm in heaven with my mug of fresh sweet tea. The others have healthy food courtesy of Jamie Oliver on silver coloured plastic trays from the school canteen. Crap in other words!
2.45 I'm signing thirty plus letters home about non-completion of GCSE coursework assignments. Honestly, some of these kids! No pens to write with. No bags. Plenty of lip like "Why can't we talk when we're writing?" They pull at the plastic table edging and steal the pens you have kindly lent them. Mr Booth challenges Danielle about her mobile phone but she won't give it up as demanded so I find myself spending twenty minutes writing a letter home to her mother and filling in the requisite referral forms. What was she perusing on the mini phone screen anyway? Crap no doubt.
5.45 I'm still at the computer manipulating the Year Nine spreadsheet - indicating red, green and amber pupils. Who is on track for the magical Level 5's that are one of the main measures of our department's success or lack of it? Forget the fact that we have about £1.50 a year to spend on text books, novels, poetry books, plays etc for each child. What's yer target? How are ye going to get there? How's it measure up with last year? What about next year? ...While out there on the estate, a scruffy mongrel dog sniffs hopefully at an empty polystyrene chip tray and seagulls settle on the library roof, huddling in preparation for another long, cold night.
6.00 Driving home. More news of traffic jams on the M1 and pointless killings in Iraq. I wait patiently at Manchester Road to get over to Shore Lane and some impatient bastard behind honks me. I'm not dying here for no one matey! You can bloody well wait!


  1. Radio Sheffield??? Not a Radio 4 fan then? I am overcome with jealousy at all the delights I am missing by being a mere primary teacher!

  2. tuesday afternoon, I'm just begginning to see, now I'm on my way...

    sorry, just having another justin hayward momment

    a lovely bit of alltagsgeschicte

  3. A "story of the everyday?" Blimey, I don't know how you put up with it, honestly I don't. There must be some positives eh?

  4. Please tell me Wednesday was better?

    I took time off work to go in and do our schools on line profile that the governmnet INSISTS we all do only to find out that they are 'changing the template' and have been doing so since October 6th. Like I had nothing better to be doing?

  5. Wednesday was better? Mmmm... there was the fight near the old minibus garage when some hooded stranger bashed a Year Eleven boy over the back of the head with a bottle and around a hundred kids gathered to watch till Superteacher waded in like Mr Farthing in "Kes". At 2pm horrible little Jordan was using every swear word in the book for no good reason and nutty Joe was repeatedly asking to go to the toilet after arriving ten minutes late.Then there was the evening meeting in which it was proposed that we utilise the dreaded Lesson Monitor to record instances of misbehaviour - to ease communication! Oh yes Wednesday was better all right JJ!
    Now I'm off down the pub!

  6. Why aren't you an alcoholic? I would be if my days were full of crap like that.

    Chin up my Tyke friend.

  7. liked your slide thingy. Noticed a pic of Turkey. When were you there? My dad went for the Eclipse this spring.

  8. Ooopseedaisee - I was in Turkey in August. If you look back in my blog for August 2006 you'll see an entry called Kalkan.
    OTHERS - Hey thanks for the sympathy but I wasn't angling for it. This is simply how it is. Perhaps I am so deep in the mire that I stopped noticing. I like pay days.

  9. I've got nothing to add except that I've read this post a few times, and the Beatles' "A Day in the Life" keeps playing in my head.

  10. Oh to be a teacher. That band of unsung heroes who have to wade through politically correct shite whilst being abused by little darlings hardly out of the womb.
    I tip my hat to the lot of you.


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