Every so often you have a day when you seriously doubt that you are any good as a teacher.
Friday afternoon was one of these.
I arrived home in a state of shock and exhaustion and self-doubt, but a few days spent reflecting on the lessons have helped restore my confidence somewhat.
Here’s how it was; three lessons back-to-back with year 6 on Friday afternoon of total chaos, zero teaching and learning, mega-voice raising and even resorting to using my samba whistle (it WASN’T a samba lesson either) to make myself heard above the children.
Friday afternoon is always a tough assignment; this is the afternoon where the three year 6 classes “enjoy” a carousel of extra activities while all their teachers share PPA time together. Currently the three activities are music, basketball, and PE. At least it isn’t kick-boxing this term!
On this particular Friday, they had spent Monday through Thursday doing the national SATS tests. As a reward, they had a non-uniform day on the Friday, with lots of non-curricular games and activities and probably sweets. By the time they came hubble-bubbling into my music class they were beyond everything. My carefully planned lesson only held them for so long, and then they lost all concentration. I gave up on the lesson and resorted to circle games, but to be honest, they (I mean the Known Boys, really) didn’t even have the brain-energy left for that.
However, we all survived, even the child I caught sucking a smallish and deadly square of polythene.
Once I had thought things through, I felt a lot better about the afternoon. I have taught that lesson before, several tines, and it has always worked. It should have worked with these classes as well. It was just the combination of the events of the week, and the events of the day, that set the afternoon up to be like it was. Oh, did I mention it was a Boomwhacker lesson?
It still left me exhausted. I ate cake and chocolate biscuits and croissants all day yesterday, and now feel ready and strong enough for this coming week.
But I have already marked off next end-of-SATS-week Friday-afternoon as “Unavailable for music teaching to year 6”. Just in case.