My mum used to always say she’d get more use from talking to a brick wall, than if she talked to me. Apparently, I never used to listen to her? Today, I understood how she felt and it wasn’t the first time it’s happened. I know that I’m already very much like my mum in many ways, but I’m starting to realise (and trying to hide) that I am slowly but surely turning into her. She only had two children to contend with though, a few more if she was child minding back in the day. I have 28! (Sorry Mum, but I win this competition by miles.)
This afternoon has felt like an eternity dragging its heels – somewhat similar to some of the children when they arrive to school at 8:45am. I honestly heard myself say “hello wall, how are you?” Just like my mum used to. I’ve listened to almost 20 differnent children ask me the same blooming question one after the other. I even stopped the entire class 3 times to remind them what to do and said at the end of the instructions, “please do not ask me what to do again. Thank you.” Less than ten seconds later I’d have a small human beside me, looking up at me expectantly… Child: “What do I do in this box?” Me: “What did you do in the other 2 boxes?” Child: “I wrote a fact.” Me: “So what do you think you need to do in this box?… and the next box?” Child: “Write…a…fact..?”
Mary Poppins started to lose patience and sarcastic questions began erupting from my mouth. “Really? Is that what we are doing in this lesson? Who knew we were writing facts this afternoon!?” I began looking at the other nearest children closest to me and asking: “Did you realise we were writing facts this afternoon? I didn’t know we were writing facts this afternoon,” “Blimey, could we really be writing facts this afternoon?!” “I think we might be writing facts this afternoon…” “Do you know what? I think we could be writing facts this afternoon,” “I’ve got a great idea! Let’s write some facts this afternoon for our history topic. That’s a fun idea isn’t it?” My class are used to my sarcasm now and a few have started to join in. But not today. I was on my own today.
By the end of the lesson the question had changed a few times… “Do I need to stick my LQ in my book?” – they were already glued into their books!!!! “Shall I glue my work in underneath my LQ?” My best answer to this question was “No don’t worry about it, I’ll get space monkeys to do it later when I fly to the moon!” That child responded with “I’ll do it then.” The final question I’ve heard too often this afternoon is “Do we have to write the date today?” At which point I just gave up.
At the end of the lesson, before we packed our books away, I did the checklist. “Have you written 3 or 4 facts? Check. Have you glued your work in? Check” – they all scrambled for glue sticks, sitting patiently waiting to be used, in the middle of their tables. Glue sticks popped, as the lids went flying everywhere, and I could hear children arguing over who was using it next… (I sighed and counted to ten to calm down.) “Have you written the short date above your LQ? Check.” (They dropped the glue sticks and began their search for the sharpest pencils…God was not on my side this afternoon, obviously…) “Ok, please leave your books open, for marking, in a neat pile in the middle of your table.” They all closed their books and made neat piles in the middle of their tables. At which point, I plonked myself down on my swivel chair and began day dreaming of a world where my class actually listen to my instructions and I keep all of my own hair!!
The only child who has listened to me this afternoon, began opening her table’s books to today’s work for me. She literally told her peers around her table to shut up and look ready. I should have said something about her choice in vocabulary but I’d gone past the point of teaching and was just surviving so I smiled at her, spun around on my chair and looked at the house point list to see which colour token she needed. Skidded to my (messy again) desk pulled out two green tokens and handed them to her. She smiled gratefully, said thank you and skipped off to post them. I looked at the paper scattered on the floor like confetti and made a mental note to apologise to the cleaners after school. It was time to get ready for home time, thank goodness.