Monday, 22 February 2016

Mouse in the House!

Phobias huh? Some people sympathise, some people say "It's all in your head!" Now I am one of those people that will try to put 'mind over matter' but honestly if I climb up to the fifth rung on a ladder I get the cold sweats and basically freeze in fear, normally squealing like a small girl.

My Nan was the same with mice. She couldn't even watch Mickey Mouse without cringing and leaving the room. We (my siblings and I) were always warned about my Nan's fear of mice when we were younger. Only now I'm older and have a phobia myself do I understand what people may be going through when they are frozen in fear.

So the school had just returned from the Easter holidays, two weeks of chocolate and 'no children' the teachers were relaxed and refreshed ready for a new term (If you believe that, you'll believe anything! In this modern age of education it was more likely a week at home catching up on assessments, marking and other such endeavours! But this version makes the story more in tune with the myth of school 'holidays').

Anyway with being a Catholic school the whole term before was about 'new life' due to the resurrection of Christ. Don't worry I'm not about to preach at you, I'm just setting the scene. A plethora of wonderful activities had been undertaken, growing butterflies from caterpillars, hatching chicks, making rainbows, honestly it was magical for the children.

One activity that they enjoyed more than all the others was making lard balls full of oats and nuts and such things that birds would like to eat. Then they watched and took pictures of all of the birds that came to feed by their feeders!

Now Mrs. M had looked forward to the Easter holidays all term and subsequently when the last day of term arrived she basically threw everything into her cupboard and forced the door shut then forgot all about it.

Then it happened...

First day back and halfway through her lesson Mrs. M went into her cupboard only to discover a mouse which proceeded to run across the classroom.

Now when Mrs. M had closed her cupboard on the last day of term she didn't realise that she had squeezed in a five kilogram tub of nuts and bird feed.

So, as a teacher you always do you upmost to put the children first in everything (that is unless you have a phobia of mice). Mrs. M went sprinting down the school corridor in fear!

A day later and all had worked tirelessly to clean up the mess, the cupboard was mouse-proofed, there was not a mouse in the whole northern hemisphere that would dare go near Mrs. M's cupboard.

Then it happened again...

What Mrs. M didn't factor in to her mouse problem was the children problem. There was a particularly sly little girl (B) in her class that had observed Mrs. M's extreme reaction to the mouse.
Well we all know kids can be nasty to each other but to adults... NO!!!!

Halfway through the afternoon B screamed "MOUSE!" (There wasn't one there by the way). This triggered Mrs. M into 'Usain Bolt' mode and she shot off down the corridor.

The next day "MOUSE."

The day after the whole class had 'cottoned on.' "MOUSE."

Same reaction. After a week Mrs. M read the story of "The Boy who Cried Wolf." Hoping that this would strike a chord with the children, and it did for the most part. A week went by without any crying of "MOUSE!"

Until one day B, louder than ever screamed "MOUSE!" By this time Mrs. M had had enough and was about to give B the worst telling off of her little 'girl who cried mouses' life! Just as she took a huge breath in a 'real life' mouse ran across her foot.

Mrs. M took off like the road runner leaving a Mrs. M shaped silhouette of smoke like the Road Runner!

Time to shout the chorus like there's a mouse in the classroom!

Oh the things they say!

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Thats a strange diet!!!!

Now if there is one thing that is brilliant about teaching Early Years it is the complete and utter gullible belief they have in their teachers. For instance a child in my class the other day asked me where I live! Me being a bit of a joker said "I live on the moon!" The child gave me a long look and I was expecting him to say how much he didn't believe it, but instead he took a look around the classroom and said "So this classroom is a rocket so you can get to the moon!"

Obviously this carried through into a whole new topic and we had loads of fun designing a plethora of space travelling objects. As I say, working with 3 -5 year olds is brilliant because of their gullibility and their imagination - they can be transported to places that we as pessimistic adults can only dream about.

So Mr. Y was in his second year in the job. As a RQT (Recently Qualified Teacher) he went at every teaching point full pelt, high energy teaching was his motto, as long as the children learnt through fun he was satisfied.

The nursery he worked in was beginning to introduce rolling snack-time, meaning that the children could enjoy snack whenever they wanted. Also there was a major overhaul going on in the outdoor environment, it was redesigned and plenty of equipment for the children was now available.

Now the first problem Mr. Y had with this rolling snack area was that either the children were sat there all day "pigging out" or they flat out refused to have snack because they didn't like what was there.

Mr. Y had a completely foolproof idea (Oh the folly of the young!) he would read a book to the class called Fly Burger. It was a great book, it was in the shape of a burger and every page added a different creepy crawly topping on the burger. Well the children lapped it up, they laughed throughout. "Now they're in the palm of my hand - time for the teaching point." Mr. Y thought.

He then walked his class over to the snack area and spoke about how lovely the snack is here, not like a Fly Burger, because nobody wants worms on their food. He also explained how important it was to have a try of new food because "You never know if you might like it!"

Mr. Y also had a quiet word about sharing to those children who were camped out at the snack table all day!

"I'll try my snack Mr. Y." said a spritely little boy called E.

E subsequently received a sticker and a big well done from Mr. Y. This triggered a reaction where every child in his class wanted to try snack. "How epic am I, one small activity and BOOM all children are exploring snack." Thought a very confident Mr. Y.

Later on in the day, outdoors, the children were playing in the mud kitchen (where they can make mud pies and such with different kitchen utensils). The story that was told earlier was still fresh in the children's minds and they were enjoying digging up worms and watching them squirm on top of their mud pies. Mr. Y encouraged children to move like worms, to draw worms and many more 'wormy' activities. "How amazing has this day been, thanks to my superb idea!" Mr. Y thought.

I know, I know Mr Y is beginning to sound like a self important (insert expletive)!  But honestly it was really because he loved it when the children were learning and having fun!

Then it happened...

Screams from inside the nursery, I'm talking about high pitched screeches that would make dogs howl! Mr. Y, like a cat, leapt into action, dodging in and out of children, hurdling benches and other obstacles until he arrived at the snack area.

"What is the matter?" He asked as he saw the chaos ensuing.

Nobody answered him, they just continued to screech, all except young E (who received a sticker earlier).

He was sat there with a full bowl of worms, writhing and wriggling - calmly slurping them up and chewing them slowly!

Mr. Y took the bowl off him and gently asked as he baulked "Why?"

E replied "You said to share and try new things!"

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHH!!!!!! Thought the once overconfident Mr. Y.

Time for the chorus.

Oh the things they say!!!

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

I've been in this job forty odd years!!!!

Remember going on school trips when you were young? Remember the packed lunch that the kitchen would make on mass? Remember always having to hold hands with your partner and stand in a straight line? Lastly do you remember how irate your teacher would get if you flaunted the rules?

Being a teacher myself I can understand becoming irate when your perfectly safe plan is sabotaged by a fun loving child! The sad fact is that nowadays with the amount of risk assessment that needs to be done prior to the trip to keep the children safe and cover the school is inordinate. However at least once per annum there will be a school trip that will make the class teacher age at least two years by the end of the day.

Well Mr. W, an enthusiastic NQT,  thought he had solved the problem. He along with his more experienced colleagues had organised to go to a safari park. This meant that the children would be on a bus/coach, belted in and safe, and would in no way be able to break any rule! Thats right, this year nobody will be ageing with stress, everything would go swimmingly.

"Mr. W, you are a God damn GENIUS!!!!" he thought to himself.

So the school Mr. w worked in was a four form entry school, this meant that there would be four classes of 4/5 year olds on the trip, which meant the classes had to partner up on a double decker bus.

So the day began with the teachers partnering up. Now with Mr. W being a 'newly qualified teacher' he was partnered with the most experienced of the teachers in the year group - a sensible decision wouldn't you say?

So the day began - registration - "Good morning all when we have finished the register we will all try and go to the toilet!" A confident Mr . W said.

Mr. W counted all of the children 1 -25, made sure that they were all in partners to sit next to on the bus and then in a sensible line the class made their way down the corridor and out to the coach.

"I need a wee!" A little girl shouted at the back of the line.

Mr .W performed an emergency stop in the line and asked if there was anyone else who needed to 'go'.

Amazingly half of the class needed to go (even though they had only just been).

"No matter, I'm with the most experienced member of staff, the children will be belted in soon, as Dr. Pepper would say 'Whats the worst that can happen!'"

All of the children came back and got into their partners seamlessly "Are we sure we've all been to the toilet?" Mr. W asked, and was greeted by a chorus of YEAH's!

Mr. W got to the bus where he had found that Mrs T ( the most experienced member of the team) had pulled rank and put her children on the top floor.

"I thought..." Mr. W started.

"Now I'll hear none of this Mr. W, I've been in this job forty odd years..." interrupted Mrs T.

"OK no matter, carry on and have a good day with the children." thought Mr. W

All children on the bus and belted in - then Mr. W went upstairs to ask if the other class were all belted in so he could tell the driver to 'drive on.'

"I have told you Mr. W I have been in this job forty odd years, OFCOURSE THEY'RE ALL BELTED IN!" shouted a red faced Mrs T.

So on they went to the safari park. Mr. W was singing songs with his class only to have Mrs T take over and sing louder. "It's ok she's got forty odd years experience after all!" he thought. 

Mr. W then went on to tell some jokes to some children in his class, only to have... you guessed it 'the most experienced member of the team' take over again booming jokes that being honest were not even funny. "Keep calm, KEEP... CALM!!!'

Suddenly a young boy in Mr. W's class shouted "Can I have a drink sir?"

Mr. W replied "Can we wait for now until we get to the safari park when we can have a toilet brake?"
"Sensible, Mr. W, very sensible!" 

As Mr. W was saying this Mrs. T was routing through her ruck sack and pulled out two 3 litre bottle of lemonade which she duly shared out amongst her class on the upper deck.

Mr. W. asked quietly "Is that a good idea Mrs. T? There's half an hour to go on the journey!"

What do you think she said? You got it! "I've been a teacher for forty odd years..."

"OK, OK, you crank do what you want!" Thought Mr. W.

Fifteen minutes of blissfully ignoring each other went by (the most enjoyable all day as far as Mr. W was concerned).

Then it happened!!!

Screaming and shouting upstairs, Mrs T's voice booming out, shouting at random children. "HOLD IT, HOLD IT, HOLD IT!"

"Hold what?" Thought Mr. W.

Then it dawned on him! 6 litres of lemonade had been devoured by the class upstairs, and a bout of what could only be described as synchronised peeing was taking place. Amazingly it was about six boys that all 'did it' at the same time and no girls.

Mr. W could not keep the smug look off his face when the bus arrived at the safari park, as his class sensibly and dryly filtered into the toilets to relieve themselves.

Mrs T had a look of rage on her face, daring someone to question her forty odd years experience in the job. Mr. W was turning purple trying to hold in his laughter!

This was however short lived and as he was the only male member of staff on the trip, he got stuck with the job of changing and cleaning all of the boys.

"I don't mind but whose going to look after my class whilst I do this?" He asked.

Only to be answered by Mrs. T, I bet you can guess what she said!


Mr. W couldn't help himself, he'd took this all day, so he asked very politely. "There's no lemonade left in your rucksack is their I wouldn't want any more accidents!" Then turned on his heels to mop up six children!

Now the chorus does apply to adults as well!

Altogether now.

Oh the things they say!!!  

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Crush on the teacher!!!

We've all been there in school, when we have a major crush on the teacher. There is a plethora of psychological reasons why many young people have major crushes on educators.The one, however,  that in my humble opinion is the main reason is that educators are safe parental figures (very freudian I know).

This seems, in my experience, especially prevalent in younger pupils and can lead to some very humorous comments as the next story will illustrate.

So Mr. N married one of the teachers he worked with Mrs. N. I know, I know marrying a co-worker! Who in their right mind eh? But thats the way it was.

All of the older children knew and respected the fact that Mr. N and Mrs. N where married however the younger children did not know so much and there was always a fuss when they found out.

Well Mr. N at the time taught a year one class (5/6 year old children). His class were a very caring bunch constantly telling him he was their favourite teacher (no doubt this happens with most classes and their teachers).

There was however one girl we shall call F who was shall we say very taken with Mr. N, she loved showing off her work to him, she would constantly rush to be sat next to him on the carpet, and most adorably she would tell anyone who would listen that she was going to marry Mr. N one day.

One day, Mr. N was walking his class very sensibly to the dinner centre when he passed Mrs. N on the corridor, he had a quick word with her then moved on. F, who was holding Mr. N's hand asked who 'that lady was?'

Mr N replied "That is Mrs . N she is my wife!"

F stopped in her tracks and pulled on Mrs. N's sleeve to get her attention.

"Hello" said Mrs. N

F - "I didn't know you were Mr. N's love!"

Mrs. N chuckled and said "Yes I'm married to Mr. N."

F replied "I love Mr. N too!"

Then she said, with an innocent smile "You have blonde hair like me Mrs N!" (I know, cute right?)

"But" she continued "mine is long and beautiful!"

Mrs. N was little taken aback but laughed it off.

F carried on keeping that innocent smile "You have brown eyes like me except mine are gorgeous and sparkly!"

Mr. N at this point started to feel a little awkward and started to move his class onwards.

F then said as she was walking away "I will wear make-up like you and I will look beautiful and then I will marry Mr. N."

"Thats enough now F!" Said Mr. N. Thinking to himself as he saw the look on his flabbergasted wife's face he said "That escalated pretty fast!" 

But it wasn't finished yet Mrs. N and Mr. N sat down for dinner that evening and began laughing at the events of the day especially the F situation.

Both were chuckling away when Mrs. N stated "Seriously tell her to back off!"

"Wha... but... how... " Mr N said then thought SHE'S FIVE FOR GOD'S SAKE!

I am pleased to say that Mr and Mrs. N are still married and very in love not only that Mrs. N is now F's teacher and they get on very well. Or at least Mr. N hopes thats the case!

Time for the chorus.

Oh the things they say!!!

Friday, 12 February 2016

The Express train!!!

I have said in previous posts how much I enjoy student teachers. Always willing to impress by going the extra mile, no job is too big for them, they will take on anything to impress potential employers!

Don't get me wrong we've all been there, I can remember a time when a school asked me to dress like a superhero and go around the playground in front of all of the parents literally in full character. What a fool I made of myself, but I would have done anything for a job at the time - and I got one so kudos to all student teachers out there.

One particular aspect that is great about student teachers is that when you give them a little responsibility they take that to the Nth degree (and to be honest they should).

Well it was on a year 1 trip (5/6 year olds) that a particular student, Mr. P, was given the responsibility of acting as a one to one for a particularly challenging pupil.

We all saw the the bounce in his step, the way he seemed six inches taller (already 6'2 you can imagine how tall he looked to my mere 5'9). His chest was puffed out with pride and you could literally see the think bubble by the side of his head "This is it, don't f*** this up and your in!"

Pep talk done Mr. P made sure he was glued to this child's (J) side throughout the whole morning - he engaged with the activities and supported J when he found things difficult, and best of all calmed him down when he began to lose his temper.

We all sat down for lunch on a grassy knoll after a busy morning of nature walking and pond dipping.

Now before we go any further it is important to say that on this school trip we went to a place that was close to the beach. So the grassy part of the trip was obviously on a field which was about 100 feet above sea level. As you can imagine it was quite a way down to the beach so it was quite a walk down a lot of stairs to the beach. However there was another way down, at the edge of the grass there was a sheer drop to the beach which all children were warned NOT TO GO NEAR!

Well halfway through lunch Mr. P was tucking into his sandwich and lost concentration for about five seconds and then it happened...

J took off at full sprint towards the high ridge that was a sheer drop to the beach.

The teacher shouted something indistinguishable - nobody knew what she said but it was full of panic and fear!

In slow motion Mr. P rose and stood tall "If you don't f*** this up your in!" then took off after J like an express train.

He gained and gained on J who thought it was a hoot getting chased by 6'2 muscle bound, adrenaline filled panicking student teacher. If only J had seen the intent look of determination in Mr. P's eyes.

J tried to duck and dive but it was too late. Mr. P was already airborne! POW!!!! I think this sought of tackle in america is called a 'sack.' One of those hits that makes the crowd take a sharp intake of breath!

The teacher ran over thinking her pupil had been basically snapped in half!

"J, J are you alright?" She shrieked.

Mr. P rolled away and stood up victorious, J hardly able to get his breath whispered, but he teacher couldn't hear so she put her ear close to his mouth.

"What did you say?" she asked shakily.

"C-c-can we do that again?"

I am pleased to say that J never misbehaved on a school trip again and Mr. P is now a very successful teacher.

Time for the chorus:

Oh the things they say!!!

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Magic Maths!!!!

There is nothing better than a little magic to hook the children into any subject. A little trick will engage those that are in no way interested in the subject you are teaching. This goes double if your are teaching 4/5 year olds.

Talking of doubles Mr. N was introducing a maths lesson with his reception class (4/5 year olds) based on doubling. None of them had done this before so he decided to show them how to double using a magic trick.

He simply had an empty bag and some counters. A child was chosen to put a number of counters in the bag (up to ten). Then the children would say the magic words, "hubble and bubble, make it double!"
Then with quick fingers Mr N would reach in sneakily placing in the correct amount in the bag. Then when they were counted the children were awestruck!

Mr. N repeated this at least five times to cheers from his class - The best thing was they actually all 'got it!'

Some children asked "If we put pencils in the bag what would happen?"
Mr. N replied "obviously you would double the amount."
D, a creative thinking little boy asked "What if you put your hand in?"
Mr. N (seeing a teaching point) "well we have 5 fingers on one hand, so how many would we have on one hand if we said the magic spell?"
Good enough all of the children echoed loudly "TEN!!!!" Then they all laughed!

So the lesson went on children completing their various activities with wonderful echoes of "hubble bubble, make it double!"

Mr. N smiled to himself as he took in his class, all on task and behaving beautifully.

There were even comments on how well his class were doing from passing teachers. Mr. N was snapping pictures like the paparazzi gathering evidence for how brilliant his class was in mathematics.

When bursts of laughter and loud shouts disturbed Mr. N's nigh on perfect lesson.

"How dare anyone disturb such a perfect lesson!" Thought an enraged Mr. N.

As he looked around he saw D (mentioned as the creative thinker earlier) screaming "HUBBLE BUBBLE, MAKE IT DOUBLE!" With, and get this, the magic doubling bag over his crotch area!

"D, what on earth are you doing." exclaimed a shocked Mr. N.

D - "I just wanted to see what it would be like to have two willies!"

Mr. N said "I think thats a bit silly, please put the bag down and get on with your activity!"


Time for the chorus:

Oh the things they say!!!!

Monday, 8 February 2016

I love video games as much as anyone!!!

Now I'm a self confessed gamer! I know I'm 34 year old, married with a child, in a highly mature professional career thus I rarely have the time to fit it in but I do (much to my wife's derision).

There are three good reasons that I'm a gamer:-
1. I am overweight and thus can't leap from building to building performing a double tuck somersault with a twist whilst drawing my katana and landing in the defensive tiger crouch!! I can't fight in the UFC for that matter and choke out people who are as heavy as me as I would rather run away!!! I can do all of that though on the playstation!
2. I cannot do 150 mph down a side road in order to escape from the police for illegal street racing! Mainly because I drive a Ford Fusion not a Ferrari!
3. It is illegal to carry a gun in my country - not in video games though!

Chilling out and losing myself in an alternate reality helps me wind down, that is the bottom line.

So has anyone looked at #teachlikeapirate - its fab!!!

Mr.V thought it was fab as well. He decided to set up the crime scene and let the children work out what had happened to the victim, in this case Santa Clause.

For those of you that are not familiar with this we call this 'talk less teaching' in England. Its where the children are in charge of their own learning so if you set up a 'crime scene' you can get loads of writing and creative ideas from every ability group in your class.

So as said Mr. V worked really hard setting it up and the kids where instantly hooked.

Mr. V being a creative person himself tried to not only include writing but modern technology as well. He gave the lower ability group an iPad to film and reenact what they though might have happened. There was plenty of talk about Santa falling out of the sleigh so everyone was looking forward to seeing what the group came up with.

So the lesson went on and the children were so engaged Mr. V was picturing accepting the national teaching award! He was halfway through writing his speech in his head none other than the headteacher walks in to see this inspirational lesson.

Being confident in his lesson Mr. V invites the headteacher in to the conclusion of the lesson (which we call the plenary).

Mr. V builds up the the video after reading out some of the theories as to what has happened to Santa - "Are you ready to see what really happened" Asked Mr. V and he was greeted by a chorus of "YEAH!"
"OMG I am so great its hard to put into words!!!" Mr .V thought.

He began to play the video...

THEN IT HAPPENED... National teaching award out the window!!!

The video consistent of Santa strolling along with his sack of presents obviously ready to give to some good children. Then along comes another person who screams "FREEZE MOTHERF***** before I blow you away!!!"
Then BANG BANG BANG santa was dead!

Mr V fumbled with the computer and managed to switch it off!!!

The headteacher gave the "we'll talk about this later look." As he strolled out of the room.

Obviously very serious talks ensued in the class it worked out that a certain child had been playing on Grand Theft Auto all night.

Mr . V did not receive the national teaching award but is still dreaming about it!!!!

Altogether now:

Oh the things they say!!!! 

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

The trouble with phonics.

Ok since the government in its infinite knowledge of child development decided to introduce a phonics screening test (they say its not a test but IT IS), teachers have had to come up with new wild and wonderful ways to teach the sounds in our language. Especially since they have introduced pseudo words (a complete made up word that a child will never use again, ever again).

Clever of them isn't it?

Anyway Mr. N is a creative teacher and loves teaching phonics in new and exciting ways, normally so he can act silly and get away with it.

So on one particular occasion Mr. N was soooooooooo excited about teaching phonics he actually moved the lesson to the first lesson of the day!!

Mr. N was a massive Timmy Mallet fan, for those of you who don't know who Timmy Mallet is I feel sorry for you, he was a staple of every english 90's child and Mr N was reliving the superb game of Mallet's mallet. A simple game where you have to answer your partner with a word that relates to their word e.g. they say banana you might say yellow! Get it? If you think for too long you get hit with a giant sponge mallet.

Guess what Mr. N brought into class that day? YYYYYUUUUUUPPPP!!! A giant sponge mallet! "Oh my, this is going to be so much fun I can hardly contain myself!" Thought Mr. N.

So the game he had designed was simple he would give the children a letter/sound and then they would have to think of words beginning with this sound. If they couldn't Mr N could become his childhood hero and bonk them on the head with the mallet. "Priceless" he thought chuckling to himself.

The class that Mr. N taught was, it must be said a very competitive class, they really enjoyed winning!

The game took off great, the kids loved it and laughed hard when someone got bonked on the head. Mr. N was picturing the T.V. cameras as the children enjoyed his "show" more and more. Furthermore the children were learning at the same time "How ace am I?" thought an overconfident Mr. N.

Then it happened...

H, a bright young soul, had won every game so Mr. N set him a challenge to beat everyone in class. You are even allowed to use pseudo words (alluded to earlier)!

First challenger came to the stage. Mr. N gave them the /d/ sound to work with.

Challenger - "dad"
H - "dip"
Challenger "dop"
H - "dick" (yes you read it correctly dick).
Mr. N in his head "ignore it and nothing more will be said - nothing but a slip of the tongue!"

Anyway H won that game.

Next challenger stepped forward and Mr N gave the /t/ sound.

Challenger - "tat"
H - "tit"
Mr. N "coincidence, nothing to worry about!"
Challenger - "top"
H "twat"

"GAME OVER" shouted Mr .N time for the next activity.

Mr. N, shocked as he was, continued to teach for the morning thinking about how H couldn't possibly know what all of that meant. After all he's only five!

When morning lessons had finished and the children were off to lunch H walked up to Mr. N and said "Mr .N have you ever watched the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?"
Mr. N told H that it was his favourite show when he was a little boy!
H's face beamed as he said "I know, I love that shit!" (Mr. N right now had gone a greyish pale colour).
Then, and be warned this is a doozy, H had the audacity to hold his hand up in the air and waited for a high five!!!!

The funny thing is Mr. N was so shocked he actually gave him one!!!!!

Time to shout the chorus (no expletives please H).

Oh the things they say!!!!!