Working hard for the... experience?

So much for being gainfully employed. I'm working all this week, but won't get paid for it until August. Or September. Whichever comes later, I think. I'm not even really a teacher this week, I'm just doing supply, which is subbing in American. I've met one class which I adore and today had two classes I didn't like much at all. There could be a slight issue of bias in that the adorable class is going to be mine next year. The unlikeables are leaving for secondary school in a week. They're full of attitude, swagger, fear and hormones. Not like my little dears next year.

I have seen the classroom I'll have next year. It's got to be the smallest in the school. It's pathetically cramped. I can only hope my students don't grow very much over the summer and learn to sit still a bit better than they do now. There is just no room to get up and wander about.

My budget to spruce up the classroom has also been announced. To my friends who are teachers and have their own budgets, I apologise. I don't mean to make you crazy with envy, but I will lay it bare. I am getting £20 pounds to spend on the classroom. For the year. I know! Awesome, right?! My mind is racing with all the possibilities. I could by a map of the world! And some... pencils! Maybe, if I am careful with my pennies, I might even get a little pencil sharpener, too. Those can be very handy.

Actually, they're critical. In my admittedly limited experience, pencil sharpeners and erasers (called rubbers here. Really.) are like cigarettes in jail. They're highly valuable and can be used as currency. In my last school the boys would smuggle them around in their socks. I kid you not. Everyone was so afraid the rubbers would be snatched away, they snatched them as soon as they were within sight. The irony was completely lost on them.

Now I'm going into a school where the kids really can't afford their own pencils and erasers. How does any teacher make it out of there with their salary intact? It's all I can do not to bring a kid home with me! I've already got my eye on one little boy. You know, just in case his mum forgets to pick him up one day. I wouldn't put it past her, actually.

I'm off to bed. Can't afford to make any dire mistakes like I did today. So embarrassing. Must fight off pariah-status gained from today's transgression. Think of me.

(oh, you want to know what I did that was so terrible? Okay, I'll tell you. Brace yourself. I wore jeans.)

PGCE is D-O-N-E!

Barring any unforseen panicked phone calls from Goldsmiths, I AM DONE! I am an official NQT - Newly Qualified Teacher. My new school even wants me to start teaching on Monday. So exciting! I'll be teaching the class I will take over in September. I'll get to know their names and get to start thinking about them over the summer. I'm half tempted to be really wicked, so they can spend the whole summer sweating about what a strict teacher I am going to be.

Back to now. I AM DONE! Doneydonedonedonedone! And I got a good grade. Much as I would like to say that I know I did my best and that's enough, that would be a lie. I need the acknowledgement. I feel knowing this is half the battle. I need it, I love it. I'm thrilled. I got a "Very Good/Outstanding". One could argue that this means I only got a "Very Good". One would be very churlish and mean to argue this point. Dude, I got an "Outstanding"! At least that's how it's going down in my memories.

Now I have three days to sleep before I start teaching. Holy crap!

Bored Now

There's a great episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer where everything flips to what would have happened had Buffy moved to Cleveland instead of Sunnydale. Naturally, without her super-slaying, the vampires and various baddies flourish. In doing so, they managed to kill/convert Willow and Xander. It's Alyson Hannigan's first bad-girl role, and she plays it with relish. Hanigan plays it so perfectly, I'm shocked she hasn't had more naughty girl roles. No, I don't mean talking about flutes and band camp. I mean bitchy roles. In the episode someone begs for mercy, Willow toys with them then says witheringly, "Bored now."

That line keeps going through my head. Katie's adventure is Big News, and everyone wants to talk about it. They are talking about it all the time. Seriously, Swine Flu has officially hit the school, and still they're all buzzing about les aventurieres. I mean no hypocrisy. If it hadn't been my girl, I'd be talking about it too. That's probably the most galling thing. The judgement I would have issued on the girl's parents, "Obviously it's all because mum isn't around any more", "They always were too strict/lax", whatever. It's all hideous.

It's hideous the girls ran. It's horrible they were gone so long. It's horrendous the school is both exaggerating (wall is only 5ft high, not 7) and underplaying (very minimal punishment) the incident. What's worse is everyone and everything else. I wish it would all just end. I'm so bored now. Thing is, I've been through enough of these in my life to know that at graduation, there will be some snappy reference to the girl who ran. So bored now.

Oh Yes She Did

A letter all parents at our school received this evening:

Dear parents,

As you may have heard, two Year 2 girls decided to have an adventure yesterday and go out of school on their own. At afternoon registration their absence was noted, a search instigated and the police informed. The police found them and returned them safely to school. we take the safety of all the girls very seriously but did not anticipate that two small girls would scale a seven foot fence. All the girls from Year 2 and up have had a talk with their teacher today about the incident. We are all relieved that this incident was resolved happily.

Yours sincerely,

The Head Teacher

Gainfully Employed!

Apparently this teaching lark is going to happen. I have two more weeks at my current placement, then I race like mad to complete my profile to prove I've met all of my requirements. Then... nothing. Holiday. Summer.

After summer I will start work at a lovely school in Plumstead. I know very little about Plumstead, but I do have an anecdote. When Buffy was very little I took her on the train to Bluewater shopping mall. On the way back she was enthralled by the computerised announcements on the train, "The next station is Abbey Wood. Please mind the gap." Each announcement only got more excited. We passed through Plumstead and the annoucement came on as usual, "The next station is Plumstead. Please mind the gap."

By then Buffy was in a frenzy. She clapped and cheered so loudly that the whole carriage heard her and laughed, "YAY, PLUMSTEAD!!!" I think it was probably the only time that statement has ever met with that reaction. No one really cheers Plumstead.

So that's where I'm off to in September. Cheery Plumstead. I am really going to be a teacher! I get my own batch of students, my own classroom to decorate, my own desk, my own walls. It's going to be awesome! So, yeah. Yay, Plumstead!

Counting Down

At lunch today Andrew was entertaining the kids while I plated up the food. At times like these we fall back on what we know. I rely on a rote arsenal of camp songs and clapping rhythms. Andrew's on-the-spot parenting techniques fall to philosophy and maths. Today it was maths, "Buffy, can you count backwards from seven?"

Buffy thought for a moment then said, "Of course I can, Daddy! 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0."

Andrew said, "Okay, can you count backwards..."

"Well done, you mean," I interrupted.

"Yes, well done! Now. Can you count backwards from seven counting only the odd numbers?" he asked our three-year-old. She was quiet, thinking it over. I knew she would repeat the first sequence, because she had no idea what an odd number was. Seriously, sometimes my husband talks to our children with totally unreasonable vocabulary. Or so I thought.

"Um... 7... 5...," Buffy started.

My jaw dropped open, but I still thought it was a fluke. Lucky guess! I started to tell Andrew to give Buffy an example of what an odd number was, or to model how she might say one number outloud and the next in a whisper to herself when she continued, "3... um... 1! Um.. 0! Because you have to count down to zero."

Holy wow.