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RIP Summer Holidays

Miranda works through Protocol Education Manchester as a primary teacher. This is why she is looking forward to returning to her supply teaching work...

Unlike Lynne, a fellow protoblogger, I have not spent the summer industriously. All I did was buy three massive shells for a poetry lesson stolen from my friend, who is a playwright teaching creative writing to children in Brum, most of whom have never seen the sea.

I wasn’t going to buy them but she said, ‘You have to have the wow factor. You have to have the best and most inspiring shell. It sends out the message that you have all the best ideas, which hopefully at your age you do.’  I was too busy scarfing up my fish and chips to listen with any real heart.

When we got back to her cottage by the sea (note to self: writing fiction pays far better than primary teaching), we discovered that both shells were plastic. One of my friend’s kids got out a magnifying glass (also plastic) and after some time of peering, even the grown-ups could see the tiny writing telling us that the shells had been made in Taiwan – possibly by children for children, who knows? 

Now if I was a teacher in a permanent job, I could make a ‘thought for the day’ assembly out of that. Not sure what the thought would be. Always check the label? A rose by any other name? Looks aren’t everything?

Of course, I intend to pass both fake conches off as bona fide shells, but since the whole lesson has a strong kinaesthetic element, I’m bound to get rumbled by someone.  I have barely thought about teaching in a conscious way (which is surely the whole point of having a holiday) but it does have a habit of filtering through my virus protectors.

I keep meeting children I have taught, on the streets as I push my son in his buggy through the empty afternoons. Usually the children are slopping about whining alongside a buggy themselves. But then they emerge suddenly out of their role as someone else’s whinging kids into children I have time for. And it really is lovely to hear them shout from across the street,  ‘Mrs Yar-tes! ‘Miss Rakes!’, ‘Mrs Jacques!’ (that last one’s my favourite. Isn’t there a Shakespearean character called Jacques? Doesn’t he suffer from melancholia?).

Remembering that even if the staff forget you ever happened, the children will remember you and your lessons, is genuinely heartening. It makes me look forward to returning to supply work, reminding me that there’s a relief  - from both the children and the teacher’s point of view, not to mention the parents -  in rolling up your sleeves and facing up to the rigours of school life again. Now could there be an assembly in that? 

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Tags: Miranda, Teach in Manchester, Primary Teacher, Lessons, Holidays, Protocol Education, Supply Teaching

Category: Australian Teachers


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