Monday 21 April 2014

Some 'I'm glad YouTube wasn't invented' moments

Today's headline in The Telegraph reads,

"School pupils trolling teachers with 'vile' abuse on Facebook and Twitter"

Apparently one in five teachers have suffered in this way and even parents are posting up bad things about their children's teachers. What happened to the days when teaching was a respected profession?

I was a teacher for about 20 years. I don't think I was particularly bad at my job. It's just that all of us teachers have had those 'I'm glad YouTube wasn't invented' moments. In fact, I'm going to share two of mine with you now.

'I'm glad YouTube wasn't invented' Moment 1:

I trained as a History teacher at a time when History was 'out of fashion'. I had to teach Integrated Humanities instead and hated it. My first 'I'm glad YouTube wasn't invented' moment came towards the end of a Sociology lesson with a large class of unenthusiastic 15 year olds. I was showing them slides - yes that dates me - illustrating the Concentric Zone Theory of City development. I was just finishing the presentation when the bell went for break time. The class leapt to their feet, knocked my pile of slides to the floor as they rushed for the door and trod on my fingers as well as the slides. It only took a moment and it was a long time ago but I've never forgotten it. Neither have I forgotten the way the staff room was reduced to tears as I retold the event, but had there been a mobile phone in that room switched to Record... I dread to think of the consequences.

I soon retrained and spent the rest of my teaching career as a Primary School Teacher working with children from 7 to 11. Yes, that age group are kinder, easier to handle but there have still been some of those moments.

'I'm glad YouTube wasn't invented' Moment 2:

The newly introduced Science Curriculum insisted that we teach basic aerodynamics. How else can you teach a class of 8 to 9 year olds about aerodynamics other than by making paper aeroplanes. I should, of course, have warned the Head of my plans - this was in the days when we didn't have to submit plans in advance - and you can guess his reaction when he came into my classroom followed by two rather formal-looking visitors only to be caught in the crossfire of paper aeroplane battles from all corners of the room.

I do have some lovely memories of teaching but those would never have been recorded even if YouTube had been invented. My proudest moment as a teacher came during an Open Day when a girl I had taught from the age of 9 to 11 visited from her secondary school. She thanked me and said that she had never understood maths until she was in my class. Now that's the kind of thing that teachers of today need to have posted up on Facebook, shouted out from YouTube.

So if your child has a positive achievement at school, and I know they all do, please post it up on Facebook and thank her teacher because, when you're a teacher, words of thanks are rarely heard.

Three cheers for teachers!