I Can’t Write.

I can’t write about people who upset me in case I upset the people who upset me.
I can’t write about feelings of extreme happiness in case I sound like a madman.
I can’t write about feelings of extreme sadness in case I sound like a madman.
I can’t write about English because @Xris32 has already done so.
I can’t write about things of which I really, really want to-but simply don’t-know.
I can’t write about reading because time spent writing is time not spent reading.
I can’t write about PE teachers, posters, or anything that may invoke feelings.
I can’t write about individuals.
I can’t write about groups.
I can’t write about the constant pressure to jump through hoops. 
I can’t write about engaging lessons because it bores me.
I can’t write about work/life balance because I’ve 43 books to mark and it’s nearly 8.30.
P.M.
I can’t write about performance related pay because I can’t afford a lap-top.
I can’t write about uniform when my preferred choice of footwear is flip-flops.
I can’t write about progress because to do so would be regressive.
I can’t write about behaviour management in case I make someone aggressive.
I can’t write about Growth Mindset, Attainment 8, Progress 8, PREVENT, SEND, ADHD, G and T, life before levels, life with levels, life after levels, OFSTED or any bloody thing really.
Because I’ve got kids to teach.

Pervy Boys.

 

Recently, I’ve been thinking  about an anecdote relayed to me by a female friend. She told me that she’d once been followed home by a ‘weirdo’ stalker who posted things through her letterbox.

Scary. Shocking. Downright disturbing.

As it turned out, this event occurred when the teller of the story was 14 years old and the thing posted through the letterbox was a note from the ‘weirdo stalker’ (a 14 year old boy in her year group) clumsily apologising for the fact that he’d followed her home. What was initially relayed to me as a story about the sinister actions of a warped individual, actually turned out to be a story about the rather awkward, quite temporary, actions of a 14 year old boy too scared to approach the object of his teenage crush. Little did he know that his attempt to apologise for his awkward behaviour would later be used as further evidence of his dangerous creepiness.

As a teacher, I’ve heard myriad misnomers used to describe boys’ entering the world of relationships. A boy who ‘goes out’ with a girl in the year below is denounced as a ‘paedo’; boys who can’t help but stare at the girls they harbour affections for are derided as ‘pervs’; boys who message girls on social media are automatically deemed to be ‘stalkers.’

I’m not saying that girls don’t need to be vigilant and that there aren’t issues surrounding the inappropriate sexual behaviour of both boys and girls towards one another. These things happen in schools all the time and they need to be firmly dealt with. However, if we, as adults and parents and teachers, allow terms such as ‘paedo’, ‘perv’ and ‘stalker’ to be bandied around inaccurately, the real perpetrators of deplorable crimes such as paedophilia, stalking, and abuse of positions of trust are at risk of not being taken seriously enough. And that is something that should scare us all very much.

I’m too good for this CPD.

I’m great at behaviour management. I rarely have any issues, and, on those rare occasions when I do, I know how to write the appropriate level of sanction into a student planner and record that I have done so in 8 different computer systems. In fact, I’d say that of all the things required of me, behaviour management is a real strength. I’d say that behaviour management is something I’m gifted at. Talented even.

Because of this, I don’t want to sit through any more staff meetings about how to deal with classes that don’t keep quiet. I don’t want to sit through any more staff meetings about how to deal with confrontation. I don’t want to sit through any more staff meetings about how to record detentions in 8 different computer systems. I don’t need it. I know it all.

That’s not to say I’m gifted and talented at everything. I’m not. In fact, there’s a few things I need to work on: I’m not happy with the way I explain onomatopoeia. I keep talking about the Divine Right of Kings when I teach Macbeth without really knowing what I’m talking about. And, I’m absolutely convinced that there’s more to persuasive writing than AFOREST. So, instead of sitting in the hall and rolling my eyes as somebody explains that moody teenagers hate being shouted at, can I work on one of those things instead? I think it’ll benefit the students I teach. I think it’ll make me a better teacher.

I understand your concerns. What if I am faced with a behaviour incident that I haven’t been trained for? What if colleagues who require behaviour training resent the fact that they’re having to take part in training, which I am exempt from? What if I take advantage of your trust and instead spend my time doing a minimal impact activity like putting up display board or marking books?

What if? What if? What if?

I’m a teacher. Thinking about ‘What ifs’ is not the best use of my time. The best use of my time is thinking about what I can do in the here and now to improve the learning of the students under my tutelage. So trust me.

You see,  I teach students who already know a lot of what is being taught. Some kids just know more about particular subjects than others. And you ask me to differentiate for them. You ask me to give them something else to do. You ask me to provide learning opportunities that go beyond what everyone else is doing for their benefit. So, I’d like you to consider the same for me.

Subject knowledge is too often assumed to be something that teachers should work on in their spare time, when the reality is that, after a day’s teaching, many teachers lack the energy or the intuition to do so. Sometimes we just want to watch crap. So, next time a meeting is scheduled, ask yourself this:

 

What can we provide to individuals that will improve the learning of the majority?

Worth a shot no?