Let’s do the dab! 

So…🙄 if the legendary Betty White is dabbing, maybe it’s not so bad? 🤔 

What is a dab? A dab is a phenomenon/dance move that has swept across UK classrooms like an annoying hurricane. 

The dab gained its popularity when a NFL team did an 8 second celebratory dab, on camera. 😞

Now it’s the most annoying thing to do in the classroom. 😩

How do you do the dab? To do a dab, you need to lean into your elbow joint, like you would do if you needed to sneeze, and put your other arm out. Or you stand like Usain Bolt’s celebratory stance and turn your face into your elbow, touching your forehead with your hand.

Is dabbing cool? Erm…🤔 NO!! Dabbing is now a consequence in my classroom. If you dab once, you have to stand up, so everyone can see you, and count you, dabbing 20 times. Some children have taken to it, like a duck to water. 🙄 Other children have quickly realised dabbing isn’t as cool as they thought it might be. Who wants to dab 20x, in front of an audience? 

Tigger apparently does. He’s the king of dabbing in our classroom. He’s easily dabbing out 200+ dabs a day! His arms are aching by lunch and he’s soon going to have arm muscles to rival Popeye. However, he just can’t help but sneak out a dab when he thinks I’m not looking. (And he obviously hasn’t realised that even when I can’t see him, I have 27 other pairs of eyes, that will see him and then they’ll throw him under the bus! – because that is what my class does best!) 

Who knows what the new dab will be? I really hope it isn’t as annoying as this though. 😩 The only good thing to come out of this craze is – at least my weaker maths children are getting some practise counting up to 20/30/40 now! 😂

Drowning in despair…

Before we broke up for summer last year, I thought I had experienced his lordship at his absolute worst when his tantrums came to a climax and he chased his “best friend” around the classroom whilst flailing his arms around trying to hit him. 

It ended with me pushing his friend out of the classroom door and barricading his lordship in the classroom. So desperate to get to his friend and vent his anger, was he, that he started trying to lift the door off of its hinges. 

What had set him off on such a meltdown? His lordship wanted a specific cork that his friend was using in a floating and sinking science investigation. Believe me, there were many similar, in fact there was many identical corks available, but he wanted that specific cork. Nothing was going to stop him getting it apparently. Not even me leaning on the door.

I ended up calling for support on the radio and sending my speedy runner to the nearest adult for help. We opened the door and he made a bee line for his friend. They carried his lordship away via an arm and a leg and I carried on with the science investigation with the rest of the children. 


I’ve never seen a look of horror on a child in need or a look or sheer intent on an angry child before. Initially, I put it down to the changes we were experiencing towards the end of the year. New teacher, new year group, new expectations. Little did I know it would get worse than this in a few months when we moved up a year together. 

Avoidance and delaying tactics (ADT)

I am a keen writer. I love English lessons and grammar checks, spelling tests and reading tasks… unfortunately for me, I have a class full of maths lovers and writing haters. 😫

My class do not like writing, at all. No matter how hard I enthusiastically prance about the front of the classroom spitting out noun phrases and BOYS sentences in an attempt to inspire them with their own writing. They just don’t want to write. They don’t see the point now we have iPads to type on or smart phones at home we can use to type on instead. I get their point completely. Unfortunately for them though, I get paid according to how much progress they make in their writing each year. At this rate, I’m going to be shit poor this time next year…

My class hate writing so much that they will literally count squares on the ceiling than write a coherent paragraph about an animal from Guatemala! They have a severe case of ADT (avoidance and delaying tactics) when it comes to extended writing. Today is just a prime example of my class at their finest. 

“In your Non-Chronological Reports today, (NCR) please remember to include those subheadings you have planned this week.” I then go so far as to model using a subheading and starting my paragraph underneath said subheading. Walking around the room I notice that not many children are writing…why aren’t they writing? We’ve planned this. We’ve talked about this. They know what a report looks like, we’ve read so many over the past 2 weeks, why aren’t they writing yet?

“Miss, what’s a subheading again?” – ARE. YOU. KIDDING. ME??

I ask around the class and rely on my mini me to re-explain what a subheading is to the entire class now. Before we set off again, I double check that everyone knows what they are doing. Yes. Anymore questions? Oh yes, here we go…

“Can I go to the toilet please?” – “we’re only 45 minutes into the school day, why do you need to go to the toilet already?” – “I’m desperate.” So I let her go to the toilet and ask whether anybody else has a sensible question to ask. More hands fly up. They all want to go to the toilet too!?? I put an end to that and declared that nobody else will be so lucky as to visit the toilets before playtime now, not until they have finished writing their report. So we try again. Still not everybody is writing.

“What exactly is my report supposed to be about Miss?” – “Be quiet and get on Tigger!” He puts his head down, writes a few words and saunters over to me with his book. “I’ve finished.” He declares. I look at his half sentence and sigh. “What is this?” – “My report. It’s about spider monkeys.” All he has written is “Spyda munkeys cool” no full stop. No spell check. No making sure it makes sense or is at least a full sentence. I give up at this point and start silently sobbing on the inside. 

Handing his book back to him, I send Tigger back to try writing an introduction paragraph to his report. Just like the one I’ve left on the whiteboard at the front! I spin around and catch a glimpse of the laziest writer in my class frantically scratching away at his page. He’s written a fricking title, an introduction paragraph ANNNND! is now starting his first subheaded paragraph. I stand and watch as he starts a new line for each sentence in his paragraph before I step in and advise him to keeep his sentences together just like his introduction from yesterday. He nods and cracks on. I beam with pride for a few seconds before Tigger is back beside me and making annoying noises. I check his introduction question and smile. He’s forgotten to use a question mark in his question, but that’s OK, because…what else would I expect from my class of unenthusiastic writers? 

I send him back to start a subheading and a paragraph about jaguars…meanwhile some other children have picked up the pace and have started writing decent looking NCRs. From a distance… In an instance, Tigger is back beside me, showing me his fingers. He’s pulled some skin off the cuticle and is now bleeding. I instruct him to get a tissue and carry on writing. He isn’t dead yet. He can carry on with it. I wander to a different table and two children appear to be in a heated debate over whether a sentence needs a question mark or full stop at the end. I jump in and put the Oracle straight. He isn’t asking a legitimate question, in his writing, he’s writing a descriptive statement about ocelots, he needs to use a full stop. My mini me chimes in with, “see I told you so” to which I reply, “you can’t blame him for arguing with you though. You haven’t used a single full stop or capital letter in your writing yet.” – And she’s supposed to be my best writer!! 

So the lesson continues with children getting up for drinks, fighting over who can use the rubber next and checking out each other’s warts and rotten fingernails…the delights of working with children…

What exactly do I need to do, to inspire my class to write a decent piece of extended writing??🙄

Party Tricks

A few party tricks have been plaguing classrooms recently. 


Flipping water bottles was becoming a nightmare for me a week ago. Every playtime Mr Manners was politely complaining that his water bottle had been taken by Tigger and flipped within an inch of its life until it was scrunched and misshapen. He didn’t mind because he’d finished his water but couldn’t keep his bottle now. He started putting his empty bottle in his tray but it was magically disappearing! This week I caught a new culprit flipping his water bottle in the cloakroom. Tigger was impressed that it wasn’t him being spoken to for a change. 

Now that Tigger has got the hint about flipping water bottles, he has started dabbing instead. At first it was just on the playground, which was ok with me. Now he’s dabbing at his table, on the carpet, and in the line for assembly. 

Hopefully this dabbing thing won’t last as long as the bottle flipping. I think I’m officially getting old and grumpy. I was completely fine with gangnam style and the dougie. I’ve not had to deal with the latest trends for 2 years, as 6 year olds don’t tend to take much notice. Now I’m back in KS2 and I’m definitely done with the crazes. 😩

It’s ok to fail.

I only know this now, because I have failed at many things in life. So far.
I failed my driving test the first time. 

I failed my AS Levels the first time, and in some subjects the second time too.

I failed my final placement during teacher training. Shocker! 

But when I look back on those failures now, I can say, with experience, that those failures were important parts of my becoming a strong person. I have such immense resilience that not even his lordship could break me. Not completely anyway. Sure, I would drive to school in the mornings, exhausted and unsure as to whether I would survive the day, cry silently at lunch and playtimes whilst trying to recover a brave face. However, I stubbornly made it through the day and pep talked myself into getting up each morning. 

I am, to my own detriment, somebody who keeps trying again and again until I, eventually, get it right. I’m a perfectionist but in the end I can see the progress and tell myself when something will do. I know that when I fail the first time around, it isn’t a permanent issue to dwell on. I can pick myself up and dust off the feelings of doubt. I can tell myself to just try again. 

Some children in my class, struggle with failure. To them, failure is the end of the world as they know it. If they don’t get full marks on their spelling test, they bawl their eyes out and sob uncontrollably like the end of the world is nigh. If they offer an answer in class and it isn’t quite right, even with my best efforts to commend their brave attempt to try and find the right answer, they knock themselves down and give in. 

Last year, during a year 2 SATs test, a child in my class who was more than capable of answering the questions, started having a panic attack because he couldn’t find the answer in the text, yet. Try as I might, he couldn’t calm down, not in the atmosphere and pressure of test conditions. My TA took him out of the room and walked him outside to get some fresh air. She carried on the pep talk and he eventually managed to come back into the room and finish his test. He even found the answer to the question after moving onto others and going back to it in the end. He is one of many children in my class who doesn’t handle failure gracefully. Most of them are able and a few are even gifted in some subjects. So why is failure so hard for them?

I’m confident in my assumption that they are probably too young to understand why failure is so hard. And until I invent a machine that can read a child’s mind or work on my degree in child psychology…I guess I’ll never know.

One thing I do know is that as well as being their teacher it’s also my job to be their encourager and remind them that it is ok to fail. I always “model” making my own mistakes in the classroom to show that I too, am human. I make mistakes. I fail. Just like them. 

I do have to keep reminding them of what fail actually means…first attempt in learning.

 

My class quite like this quote, because it simplifies the concept that fail is just a word. It’s just a temporary happening or feeling. It doesn’t last forever and isn’t the end of the world. Failure only lasts as long as you dwell on it. It’s why I tend to ignore the tantrums over failure in the classroom. The more attention the child gets from sulking over a low score on their times table test, the longer they dwell on it and the longer the feeling of failure lasts. 

Obviously the parents can play a big part in a child’s feeling of being a failure. Not necessarily because they make their child feel like a failure but because they want them to do so well, so desperately, that they forget to give them some credit for their efforts. Sometimes the tears aren’t over the fact that they got a low score on their test, sometimes it’s because of the fact that Mum or Dad, or Mum and Dad, will be disappointed with them, and the low score they achieved. What do I do then? I try to remind the parents that their child is only 7 or 8 years old. They  won’t get everything right the first time round. Sometimes it will take some practise to get it right. Like with reading comprehensions…do not get me started on answering reading comprehensions! That’s my next challenge to issue as extra “fun” homework! Yay!

    

An Alien Invasion…🚀👽🖖🏼

In November 2015, aliens invaded our classroom.

During a morning playtime, something happened…some aliens invaded and tipped up the chairs and tables, they scattered pencil pots and table baskets everywhere. They also dropped black alien slime all over the place…Or did they? 🙄 It was the best playtime I’ve had in school, where I’ve not had to be on duty! Being able to just make a mess freely was liberating. Mainly because it was guilt free. I knew that I wouldn’t have to clean it up!

The children returned from the playground to discover that the classroom was in a complete state. Without any prompting, they all began tidying up the mess. Hmm, actually, all but one child. Whilst tidying up the classroom, a child found a book with a letter attached to it. It was a story all about Bob, the man on the Moon. I agreed that if the children finished tidying up the mess, we could read the book before we “started ou English lesson”. The cleaning crew were on it like a bonnet. Within minutes, the classroom was back to how it was before playtime. We settled onto the carpet and read the story. Guess who was the most excited…? That’s right! 

His lordship. He squealed with delight at the aliens popping up in different places in the story settings. Many of the other children thought an animal (or a naughty child) had come into the classroom, during playtime, and created the mess. None of them even considered it could be the aliens from the story! 

In the story, Bob, the man on the Moon, likes to enjoy a morning break with a cup of tea and a crumpet. What a conincedence that we had some tea and crumpets in school that day? I know right!? 

Guess who was even more super excited about this? That’s right! His lordship. 

Declaring that he loved crumpets and drinking tea, he could not keep still. He wanted to be the first child to get some tea and crumpets. I however, being high and mighty, insisted that he found his seat and sat down on it, before the food and drink was offered to him…

And he actually did follow that instruction. Well, sort of. He didn’t wait patiently and perfectly, obviously. That would be impossible!!! 😂 But, he did return to his chair and hovered over it until he was offered some tea and half a crumpet. 

The noises that escaped his mouth whilst devouring that half crumpet, weren’t too different to Michael Rosen’s eating noises, in his Chocolate Cake poem. (Which is why it became a favourite story to watch on YouTube at the end of the day.) You would think that he hadn’t eaten all day the way he was savouring every finger tip covered in butter that he possibly could. I’ve never seen a child more engrossed in a lesson, it was more than likely because it involved eating food…again.

Bullying

I’m not a fan of discussing this topic, especially in school, because you start talking about it and before you know it, during the next playtime, every child is being bullied. 

I like to think I know my class pretty well, especially since we have been learning together for a long time. I’ve taught them to stand up for themselves and try to sort disagreements out between themselves first, before they tell an adult. But today, I was slapped in the face by the reaility that bullying has been happening in my own class, under my nose, and I didn’t even notice!

Today, I had to put on the performance of a lifetime. Not for the children but for a parent. A performance that required me to beg and plead for a chance to try and end the playtime problems, before drastic action was taken. It left me feeling angry, sad and on the verge of crying real tears. It also left me with a numb left foot!

After school, a parent wanted to talk about how her child, a usually happy, cheerful, cheeky, smiley young girl, (one of my favourites) was feeling sad everyday after school and didn’t want to come back to school ever again. At playtimes, some boys have been making fun of her. They’re generally being incredibly unkind to her – on a daily basis it would appear. She has been telling adults but they haven’t done much, except tell the boys to stop annoying her, which they obviously aren’t doing. When she last told an adult the boys started to do it even more, so she stopped telling adults. 

Throughout the entire conversation, I was sitting on the floor, discussing what had happened so far and trying to persuade her Mum that I would resolve the situation, now that I actually know about it. I also had to persuade the child to come into school on Monday because she was adamant that she didn’t want to come to school anymore… When I went to stand up again, my left foot gave way and I had to shift my entire body weight onto my right foot instead, before I fell over like a bowling pin. 

I completely trust this child. She’s such a lovely little chipmunk. I know she would never lie to me or make this up. I also know that she used to love coming to school last year. I used to be her best teacher ever. I don’t feel like I am her best teacher ever right now though. I feel like I’ve failed her for not realising that she is unhappy at playtimes, but when I think about it, she has probably been putting on a brave face for a while. She was so upset that I wanted to hug her and promise her that I would fix it all. 

She has a few good friends but does enjoy the company of adults more than children. She also does tend to sit on the wall, by herself, at playtimes (which probably makes her an easy target) but she says she’s happy there and likes to watch the other children. I completely understand that. I’m always people watching, almost always silently criticising their incorrect use of grammar or bad habits whilst near children. 

So now I know she is unhappy at playtimes, I’m making it my mission to fix it. I’ve promised her I’m going to do what I can to help her feel happier on the playground again. I want those boys to know that I know what they have done to her. I want them to know that if they carry on doing it, I’ll personally keep them off the playground. I want my happy, cheerful chipmunk back. She used to like being at school. I want her to love school again. 

I’ve already planned to have the girls rally around her. (Like we tend to do.) We also have a new girl, who at first impression, appears to be a lovely new addition, starting on Monday, so hopefully, asking her to be her buddy will take her mind off of it and help her forget her worries. 

As soon as she has identified the unknown boys, on Monday morning, I’m marching them down to higher powers to issue them the riot act! And I’ll be watching them like a hawk for the rest of the year. I don’t like bullies and refuse to have one of my favourite 5 feeling sad in school. 😡