My Journey

From mind to paper and back again.

Activity 6.6 Part Two

on November 21, 2008

A story about someone’s first day at a new job

I wonder what the kids are going to be like here? I guess they can’t be any worse than the last place I was at. Little shits. I think I tried everything in the book to get them to like me and nothing at all worked! I mean what could I do? I tried being nice to them, a friend even. I tried being a stern teacher, handing out detentions and telling them off. I changed the material I taught to make it more interesting, gave them free time – everything! Red light coming up, down gear. I bet the other teachers are the same as the last lot as well, prejudice, think I cant teach because of my age. Because I’m younger than them. Well I’ve been working with school kids since I was sixteen a month after I left school myself. I’ve probably got more experience than them through that.

I think I have a year seven form group, where can I park? Yeah I’m sure they said year seven on the phone. Ah there’s a space – I can pull in there, it doesn’t have a name on the sign. Engine off, briefcase, handbag P.E. stuff’s in the boot just in case I need it later on. I have extra pens and pencils, activities for all my classes in case there hasn’t been any left. I wish I could just settle in one school and do my PGCE there, I feel like I’m starting a new job everyday. Well in a way I am, every time I go to a new school. Ah there’s the email I printed off to tell me who to ask for . Lets see, head of English, Mr Conway. Who do I need to report to though? Ah, main reception, it says to go there and ask for Mrs Bowick. She must be in HR, surely. Six weeks here and then maybe another term. I’m standing in for a teacher that is on maternity leave. Not for me that, I like to be able to give them back at the end of the day.

‘Hi, I’ve been asked to come in as supply.’ The receptions nice. ‘I was told to ask for Mrs Bowick, can you help?’

‘Not a problem, you must be Shirley, I was told to expect you. You’re covering English aren’t you?’ At least the school knows who I am. The last one was a shambles. ‘please can you sign in for me? I’ve a map of the school and the materials for this week, you’ll need to set your own after that. The form group is year seven, they’re working on a project at the moment, maybe you can help put a twist on it.’

‘Sure I’ll give it a go. What’s the project?’ They’re well prepared at least. No kids in yet but it’s only seven thirty. I’ve got an hour to get sorted and settle in. It seems good here.

‘They’re working on an idea for a school assembly, each class takes turns in year seven to do the assembly. It gets them working together in their first term. You know how it is, new year, new school and new people. Some of them struggle to feel accepted, this just helps them.’

‘Sounds like a good idea. Do you have a time table for me as well at all, I was only given today’s.’

‘It’s with your prepared work. Your groups are all highlighted yellow for you. Your free periods are highlighted in green.’

‘Brilliant, thank you very much.’

‘You’re welcome.’

Health and safety documents, I’ll read those later while I settle into the room and get everything up onto the board.

‘I’ll show you to your classroom and then introduce you to Mr Conway. Your first period is free anyway.’

‘Thank you.’

The lady I’m following has been very helpful so far, I just hope the rest of the school is like this.

‘Here’s the key to your room, you can lock your bag and briefcase in there while we go across the corridor.’ A smile and a quick nod later followed by one key turn and we were on our way. At least I know everything is safe. It’s quite a big classroom as well, plenty of space to move the desks for a bit of drama or for readings.

‘Hi, you must be Shirley. I’ve read your CV and the agency have said a lot about you. I’m Ron Conway.’

‘Hi Ron.’

‘What do you think of the school so far? Oh thank you Lyndsey, I’ll take it from here.’

‘Thank you.’ I nodded to the receptionist and got a fleeting smile as she turned and left. ‘The school seems nice so far. The receptionist was very helpful, it makes a change to be honest.’

‘That’s nice to hear.’ He paused to lock his door. ‘I’ll show you around before the students get here.’ A quick nod again and we were walking back down the corridor the way I had come. ‘If you need anything while you’re here, my doors always open. Right from your classroom the library is at the other end of the corridor. It’s open all day, you should have some blue passes in your pack, those are so the pupils can visit during class.’

‘Okay.’ I’d seen the passes. More stairs, I’m glad I’m only on the first floor.

‘Just over here we have the staff room. Lets pop in, I’ll introduce you to everyone.’ It’s quite a heavy door, looks like the staff room from when I was at school, foreboding it said to knock and wait. ‘Tea and coffee facilities in here and a microwave if you’ve bought a lunch that needs warming. Hey all, Shirley’s filling in on English. This is Peter, Allan, Jody, Rhian and Helen.’

‘Pleased to meet you all.’ Smiles and questions, nothing like the last one, some of these are quite young as well.

‘Next up. The cafeteria. You can get some lunch here if you haven’t brought some. At the other end there is the main assembly hall. You have assembly on Wednesday’s. It starts at twenty to nine. Make sure you’re there in plenty of time.’ A full tour and tips as well, I wonder do they have any permanent positions?

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