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by Alveena Salim

First day back at work was a shock to the system. As I walked into my classroom, I wasn’t concerned about what my new class had been doing for the last two weeks or what I should be teaching…I just wanted to be back in bed…I’m not an NQT anymore, so I know where a class starts and where they finish…I know not to be too fussed if half my class can not yet hold a pencil properly, cos towards the end of the year, they all leave able to write weird and wonderful stories…or maybe I don’t care anymore.

It’s a headache getting a new class. They class don’t know their teacher and the teacher doesn’t know the dynamics of the class. It took me ages learning new names …I spent the day referring to kids as “You” or “No, not you, but YOU”…I couldn’t say “the girl in the blue jumper” – they all wear blue jumpers. And I definitely couldn’t refer to kids as “the one with the wild Afro” or the “one with the Chinese eyes”

I didn’t bother with seating plans either. Last year, my kids were forever playing musical chairs – I was always moving them about. Whilst boy-girl is better for behaviour, segregating the sexes is better for attainment. And then there’s the Special Needs children to think about…and the ones who always copy off others…I’ve learnt that keeping the academically low ones all together just makes kids even more slow….I know I need a bright Clever Clogs on the table amongst the slow kids to do my job when I cant be bothered to repeat myself… and I cant put all my brightest kids together as others need someone to copy off…

But again, it was too soon for all that. I don’t know my class…

My class was pretty good today. Fairly calm and eager to learn. They already know how to work in silence. I only have a couple of naughty children. They’ll probably spend their year on the naughty table/chair/wall or in detention…

I had forgotten how needy and clingy kids are at the beginning of the year. They also have no concept of time. I used to be more patient with silly questions….now its more, “No, it’s not hometime yet. It’s lunchtime!”… “Stop eating your lunch, its breaktime – NOT lunchtime”.

I also became lazy after helping a couple of kids to tie their shoelaces. I told one kid to figure it out himself as he’s old enough now and he ended up tying the laces on his left foot with the laces on his right foot. Even my assistants couldn’t undo the knot he tied.

I need to step it up and lay down my classroom rules…especially those about keeping my classroom spotless, not whining, moaning or telling tales cos I cant stand listening to stories about punching, poking, stabbing, kicking etc…stress helping the more academically challenged to make my job easier….. sharing, caring and all the rest…

I miss my old class. Even though they drove me crazy this time last year, I was touched when they were blowing kisses at me during assembly today. I also laughed when the Headteacher caught them doing that and put them in whole class detention.

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