Disruption

This is another one from http://www.teachsecondary.com. It’s a great magazine that has some extremely useful snippets on the education biz. I’m at the back, like the kid who constantly asks you what time the lesson finishes but then takes ages to get his stuff and get out of the classroom.

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‘Low-level disruption’. It’s almost a cute term isn’t it? Like disruption that’s not trying very hard and needs to do better:

“C’mon Low-Level, you’re only at sneaking a look at your phone now. You’re really going to have to get your act together if you’re going to make it to the big leagues of assault and bullying!”

But disruption is disruption at whatever level it manifests itself, and if it manifests itself for long enough it can be bloody knackering. Even the ‘low-level’ stuff has enough weight behind it to smash learning to smithereens and have you wanting to low-level disrupt the perpetrators by shaking them a lot.

For instance, I once had a lad who, without one iota of malice, would lay waste to my lessons with neither thought or design by drowning them in an unending avalanche of verbal diarrhoea.

It wasn’t so much a stream of consciousness, as more of a tsunami of ever-present thought only ever vaguely attached to the question at hand. Or the subject. Or the fact that he was indeed in a school. No tangent was too far off, no anecdote too disparate (and often hugely awkward).

If there was something to be said, he would say it. At length. Whether it had anything to do with what was going on or not.

Now, this wasn’t fighting or calling me names that have no place being repeated in an upstanding publication such as this (there was a fair bit of that going on as well) – it was just wave after wave, after wave, after wave of words. The cliffs of my lesson eroded against the constant tide. It was like watching a personification of Finnegan’s Wake only less comprehensible and peppered with far more ‘yer get me’s’.

It might be accurate to classify this onslaught as ‘low-level’ but the effect of it was anything but. You could actually hear the eye-rolling from the rest of the class when he got going because they knew that no-one would be able to get a word in edgeways.

I’d become increasingly frustrated at the constant interruption and those that needed quiet to concentrate (contrary to popular belief, there are actually quite a fair few of those in schools believe it or not) were pretty much jiggered.

Although this lad didn’t mean any harm (and on the scale of awful things that can go on in a school this didn’t even get into the top 50) his actions meant that others weren’t being allowed the shot they deserved. This, just about more than anything when it comes to teaching, doesn’t fly with me.

Sometimes it even feels a little like overkill. But in this case I was considering killing for the talk to be over, so it seemed like a good idea to do something about it before it got to that point.

I took him to one side, explained that his talking was affecting the learning of his classmates, and asked him what he thought about that. Half an hour later, after I had learnt more than I had ever wanted to about his eldest sister’s social life, he finally agreed that perhaps he could do with keeping schtum during my classes.

To help him before he sallied forth thereafter, I would remind him of this conversation and for further reinforcement, whack him in a detention every time he decided to go on one of his epic soliloquies.

It was pretty effective. Remember, this kid wasn’t a hard-nut, just a mouth. Sometimes the quick word would work and sometimes he got a detention. But overall, with a bit of encouragement and a hard word every now and again, there was an improvement and it meant that the rest of the class saved a fortune in ear plugs.

When it comes down to it, ‘low-level disruption’ is simply disruption. Grading these things by supposed levels of severity is counter productive due to the fact that any disruption has the potential to stop kids learning and should be dealt with with extreme prejudice – because everyone deserves a fair shake.

Especially when they don’t shut up.

Thanks for reading.

Guilts

This is another one from the good people at http://www.teachsecondary.com who strive to produce a magazine that is useful, interesting and insightful. And then I turn up at the end like the uncle nobody invited and proceed to fall over a chair.

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Hello. I am writing this to you from the realm of the unwell.

And as a man who is firmly ensconced in the realm of the unwell, I can, with no doubt whatsoever in my mind, tell you that no-one in the entire span of human history has ever been as unwell as I am now. On this sofa, under this blanket with its avalanche of snotty tissue papers, lies patient zero of a terrible plague which has the power to destroy all of humanity.

Or, it’s a cold. One of the two.

Either way, scarlet fever and a particularly virulent strain of some flesh eating virus combined could not even touch the discomfort that I find myself in at this present moment (I imagine). And adding to the sweats, shakes, and the heroic lifting of a cup to signal to my wife that it is essential that I get another hot lemon into me (STAT!) there is the extra added side effect of my life or death sickbed battle: an extreme case of The Guilts.

The Guilts manifests itself in a number of ways. Affecting teachers in particular, The Guilts is a secondary illness that attaches itself parasitically onto the primary malady in an often successful attempt to make you feel even worse about having the audacity to have a body that does not work at optimum efficiency 100% of the time (even when faced with stress and physical exhaustion).

As if being ill weren’t enough, The Guilts often compounds the illness by making the patient imagine all the work that is not being done that will leave kids further behind, the hardships faced by the colleagues who will have their time sucked away as they have to cover your lessons (and the accompanied tutting and eye rolling when discussing your absence), and the reams of extra work that will be faced upon your return.

In some, more extreme cases of The Guilts, the secondary illness can hugely exasperate the primary one as its influence pushes the carrier into taking their body above and beyond reasonable function in an attempt to carry on through feverish rivers of mucus, even though it is patently obvious to anyone the subject comes into contact with that the subject needs to go home for fear of turning the staffroom into a biohazard site (and not just because of those three cups that have been sat in the sink since last Christmas).

The Guilts effectively acts as a contributing factor to the spread of the primary illness and soon enough you have both the staff and student body looking like something out of the film Outbreak, just before Donald Sutherland decides to use an experimental air-bomb to level the whole area. Was that too specific a reference to a film that not many people watched? I can’t tell as I’m feeling a bit hot and can’t think straight.

Anyway, The Guilts is a nasty little bug that is very difficult (or sometimes impossible) to shift. But you know what else is difficult to shift? An illness, if you don’t properly take care of yourself. Soldiering on is all well and good, right up until you become the school equivalent of Typhoid Mary and waylay the whole building.

Now, I’m fully aware that there are places where it’s expected that you soldier on, no matter what colour slime is oozing out of you or which of your organs you’ve accidentally coughed up for the third time that day, but in my never-even-close-to-humble opinion schools are basically huge petri dishes designed to cultivate all manner of ickyness (and no, I’m not talking about the kids).

People will get ill. People do get ill. It’s of the utmost important that schools have a contingency plan for when it happens (hopefully one that doesn’t place an undue burden on remaining staff, and is rather more substantial than ‘don’t get ill’) and if they haven’t, well…perhaps they need their own dose of The Guilts

So I’ll feel a bit guilty about being off, but I’m not going to let it drive me into doing something that might scupper my chances of getting well. The Guilts will not get the better of me. I’ve got enough to put up with, trying to function whilst being the most ill person in history an’ all. Although I think I’ll see if I can make my own hot lemon next time; that’s how brave I am.

Thanks for reading.

Romance

Sit back, relax and read my newest column from http://www.teachsecondary.com. If you like it go subscribe by hitting the link. If you don’t, subscribe anyway because there’s good stuff in there. Also, you’re wrong – I’m fabulous. 

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“Sir! Did you hear about Chelsea and Tariq getting together?”

Eeeeeeewwww. If there’s one thing that’s bound to make me a little bit sick in my mouth it’s when I’m witness to a fledgling classroom romance.

You’d think (schools being the grey, cold, soul-destruction factories that they are) any blossoming of the heart between the young people that attend would be instantly crushed like a jackboot stamping on a delicate rose.

Or, at least, I’d hope it would. Crush that puny flower, jackboot!

But no. Although the environment is less than optimal when it comes to the cultivation of romance (or whatever the Y11 equivalent of romance is nowadays – a snapchat that doesn’t include parts of your anatomy I guess) love often permeates the air along with the dozen or so different deodorants that slap you upside of the nostril as you amble down the corridors. When it comes to desire, hormones trump the cold shower of the school habitat any day of the week.

So, every now and again, the jungle drums beat out the news that Tall-Lad-with-Greasy-Hair has started going out with Smiley-Girl-Who-Puts-Stars-Instead-of-Dots-on-Her-‘I’s and every now and again some other fool kid makes the mistake of thinking that I’m remotely interested in this seemingly history-changing development. That’s bad enough as it is, but it’s not just the kids that love the drama – to make my working day all the more unbearable there is often office chatter as to the suitability of the match, what the ramifications may be for all concerned and other such minutiae as if it’s a royal wedding that’s on the cards rather than some illicit snogging between third and fourth lesson.

Like I said, ‘eeeeeeewwww’. Ew. Ew. Ew.

So when it comes to students declaring undying devotion to each other and then sealing the statement by slurping face, I’m extremely happy not to bear witness and be well out of the spittle zone. Chelsea and Tariq’s epic story of love overcoming the hurdles of overly slick hair and overly decorative letter formation is not, in my humble opinion, one for the ages. Or break time. Or any other time. Especially when I’m eating.

The problem is that it often gets dragged into my orbit regardless.

Shakespeare had it right with Romeo and Juliet. Oft misinterpreted by the kids as a love story, what he really gives us is the classic and timeless tale of a couple of teens who get infatuated with each other and then proceed, invariably, to act like a pair of complete dumbasses.

(Yes, I’m well aware that’s my own personal reading of the play, but it’s my column, so hush now.)

I am not fond of dealing with dumbassery. Students in romantic relationships often see that relationship as a ‘get out of dumbassery free’ card. Petty rules no longer apply to them as they mean nothing in comparison to the passion that they feel, that no-one has felt before in the history of the world etc etc. And that’s if everything stays on track – if there’s a messy break-up or some such then expect things to go absolutely pigging nuclear and in the resultant mushroom cloud of tears, facebook slating, and revenge trysts unimportant things like grade prospects and a civil classroom environment to be blown to dust.

I’m not without empathy. I remember the all-consuming desire and the delicious uncertainty in regards to matters of the heart (and other bits) at that age. The present moment as the only moment, the shift in priorities from a cold pencil to a warm hand. An electric touch which signalled forever.

But if any of that nonsense gets in the way of my teaching, I say down with love. Down with it. Time for the jackboots.

Or, as I tell them, at least keep the icky stuff as far away from my classroom as is humanly possible. We’ve stuff to do. And sucking face will only ever get you so far because sometimes, love stinks.

Or that might just be the deoderant.

Thanks for reading.

Sabbaticals

I was lucky enough to present at this year’s UKFEchat conference on the benefits of sabbaticals. Here’s the full script (I have to work from a full script, I don’t trust myself to not go completely off on one). It’s a tad rough but I thought I’d post it as soon as and I’ve whacked the accompanying slideshow in there as well. Thanks to everyone involved.


UKFEchat script – Sabbaticals

Thanks everyone – it seems, by all accounts, to have been a brilliant day so far and a lot of that is to do with you. You being here, your presence and your support of UKFEchat is, to me, a real sign of the sector trying to better itself at an authentic, grassroots level and I think you lot deserve a round of applause. So here’s to you

Now, they’ve gone and ruined all that good work by inviting me to come and give the grown-up equivalent of a ‘what I did on my holidays’ essay. You know, that one that you give students the first day back so they’re distracted as you silently weep for 9.00am get-ups and being able to go to toilet when you want. Y’know, those luxuries.  

Teaching’s hard. And like anything that’s hard that you end up doing for a prolonged period of time, it has an effect. After 8 years of working in FE, primarily at the rougher end of things (I teach English to vocational students therefore I’m not massively beloved. I also got a name for myself for being ‘good with behaviour’ so therefore my job title might as well be Reigning Thunderdome Champion) after 8 years I was shot through. I was tired, physically and emotionally wrung out. The relentless nature of the job (something, if I’m going to be honest, I formerly thrived on) had chipped away at me.

It’s not an uncommon story and yet, as a sector that struggles to recruit and retain staff, there seems to be very little thought as to how to ease certain pressures. On the contrary, ‘more for less’ seems to be the unofficial mantra due to necessity and many of us are taking on a greater workload than ever before. Now, I’m not daft, I came to FE after working in secondary and units and I didn’t enter the profession with blinkers as to what it would entail, it’s just that term after term had worn me down. I don’t think there’s any shame in admitting it.

So, I had to have a think. Which isn’t my favourite thing to do but needs must. I enjoy teaching. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not enamoured with it. I’m not part of that narrative that says you must passionately love it and want to get married to it and want to have it’s babies. I enjoy it – I think I have a certain talent for it (although if you were to ask the people I teach, they may give you a slightly different perspective.) But I enjoy it and I didn’t want to give it up.

Because that’s sometimes the stark choice in these situations. And people ARE making that choice to leave. Many people, who have been in the job for a while are being made to feel as though there is no choice but to leave. In many cases it’s a self preservation tactic and it’s a completely understandable reaction – I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t thought about knocking it on the head completely myself.

But fortunately, thanks to a chat with a former colleague who’d already done a temporary bunk, I was introduced to the concept of (in the parlance of my college) a ‘career break’. Or sabbatical. Or ‘research leave’. But never, as my wife the good Dr Caroline Starkey has often reminded me, never a ‘year long jolly.’ And for me, it seemed like a really good fit.


Some things that you might want to consider before you go diving in.


[SLIDE]


Having answers to these quick questions is a good place to start if you’re thinking of going down the sabbatical route.


[SLIDE]


This is anthropologist Victor Turner whose work my wife pointed me towards yesterday. (Yes, ladies and gentlemen, THAT’S how prepared for this talk I am.) The reason she did this was that she saw parallels to what I experienced during my sabbatical and the liminality that Turner explored in his work. This quote discusses the liminal stage of the rite of passage with its three stages of separation, transition and reincorporation.


Because in taking a sabbatical I was cutting ties with my former community, but (importantly) not in a permanent fashion, I then entered the transitional (or liminal) phase where I was unsure of my status, my place away from the old structure. This could probably be best represented by the weird ass list of jobs I took during my career break.


[SLIDE] Quick discussion (and vid)


All over the shop. But varied. And fun. And bar that one there not teaching.


But after throwing off the shackles of my old world, and trying to negotiate the new, it was time for reincorporation. What kind of transformation had there been? And was there an effect on my teaching?


[SLIDE]


One of the things that working in a high pressure environment such as FE does is promote a very narrow focus. There’s so much going on right in front of us that it’s difficult to see the wider issues. The career break allowed me to indulge in a wide range of employment some of which meant that I was involved in the edtech industry. Seeing what goes on outside the classroom has been fascinating to me and has sparked my interest as to the use of edtech in college. In things like wider policy, in things like how education is viewed from the outside. These insights have been useful.


It has also meant that I join my vocational colleagues in teaching a subject that I have worked in. This is important in FE and is often a stick used to beat down more traditionally ‘academic’ areas. English isn’t just what I teach, it’s what I used to do for a living.


Here’s a strange one – learning that I can get on OK without teaching if needs be has, in many ways, made me a better teacher. I no longer feel beholden to nonsense for fear of losing my post. I speak up more when I think something’s not right. My confidence has increased.


Perhaps, most importantly, I feel rested. It has been a time of relative relaxation. Time I’ve been able to spend bringing up my children. Time I’ve used to cultivate my interests. I started to run (for those that new me before, this is something of a minor miracle). The time away has seen a dramatic improvement in my health – I lost three stone (the legacy of too many sugary treats during meetings rather than eating propery) and my mind, where formerly filled with noise is now quiet.


For me, the sabbatical has represented the chance to step away from a high pressure job and reflect, and to some extent, heal. On my return I am calmer, more aware, and more willing to try new things in the classroom whilst having less tolerance for the things that are sub-par.


As I said at the start, teaching is hard. Perhaps the widespread take-up of sabbaticals for FE staff could go some way to making it less so.


Thanks for listening.















Strengths

This one is for the good people at http://www.teachsecondary.com who lost a game of poker with me a couple of years back and have to keep putting me in their mag until they’ve cleared their debt. Click the link to subscribe (as it’s actually a pretty damn good read – even the other bits).

PS – I’d just like to point out the fella in the pic at the bottom there isn’t me. 

Not nearly sweaty enough.

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Teaching is a stupidly difficult undertaking, so when you’re doing it, it’s probably a good idea to play to your strengths. There are as many different teaching styles out there as there are teachers so working in a way that’s effective and not crushingly grinding is a pretty good option.  

Having said that, it takes a while to figure out what those strengths are. When you’re first dropped into the classroom (without so much as a fully weaponised exo-suit with shoulder-mounted laser-guided missile) it often takes all your effort not to run screaming out of the gates, let alone start on a journey of self-discovery where you work out what works for you. Usually, your head is swimming with so much differing advice from all quarters about how you should teach – a thousand books, countless opinions (some of them from actual people who’ve been in the classroom nonetheless) – that forging your own style takes time. Years even.

But, eventually, the pieces fall into place. It starts to become apparent what parts of your personality are a benefit when you’re stood in front of a class. There are things you discover that you have a natural affinity for and you utilise them to enhance your teaching. For instance, you have a half decent sense of humour so you put it to work making the kids laugh and in doing so find that they are more willing to try for you. Or you’re uber-organised, so that organisation manifests itself in plotting and recording (in a fabulous colour coded scheme) the progress of your students, and they respond to this as they are confident in where they are and what they need to do to improve. Or you’re a little bit scary, so you scare them into doing what you need them to do.

(That last one’s my personal favourite. That and letting people think that I’ve finished talking and then hitting them with a ‘but’ so I can go on another half an hour or so. They love that.)

Teaching is a crazily gruelling undertaking, so when it becomes apparent that there are things in your arsenal that make it easier, parts of your personality that kids respond to, or a way of working that feels natural and makes your day go that bit easier you should use it.

Hang on…

Wait for it…

BUT

There is a danger that the things we rely upon (our teaching strengths as it were) become something that we depend upon, to the detriment of any other techniques that we could be using, and here’s the big problem with that:

Sometimes the things we depend upon just don’t work.

The funny teacher finds that all of her a-grade material is falling flat with the Y9s and they’re beginning to turn on her. The uber-organiser finds that no matter how many colours he uses, the progress of his ICT group is painfully slow. The scary teacher comes across someone who is scarier. They are 12 years old. And there’s 32 of them.

It’s all well and good to play to your strengths – they are something that make up your own individual style and set you apart from every other teacher out there. But you also need something to fall back on when your strengths turn into anything but. The comedian has to be able to become the badass; the organiser needs to be able to ride the chaos; the fear-monger needs to be able to break into a smile, all situation dependent. It’s not enough to rest on the laurels of our natural attributes (although they’ll get you through most of the time). You’ve got to spend a little time and effort cultivating the things that aren’t part of your repertoire because there will be times when your natural way of working goes down like a ton of bricks that are then picked up by the kids and thrown at you for being rubbish.

Teaching is an insanely punishing undertaking and it’s ok to use the things that you are naturally good at to make you more effective. But every once in awhile, it might be an idea think about trying to improve some of the techniques that wouldn’t be your first choice (or your second). Because it’s unpredictable this teaching lark. So the more back-up, the better.

Thanks for reading.

Relationships

This is another one for http://www.teachsecondary.com. For more of me and some other things that may actually be of benefit, click the link to subscribe. 

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When a kid takes it upon themself to choose to act like an utter tool in one of my classes (and yes, I say ‘choose’ as anyone who thinks kids can’t choose to behave in the vast majority of cases doesn’t give them any kind of respect, at all, or hasn’t met enough of them) I often take the hugely innovative step of pointing out to said kid that their behaviour is making them appear to be very much like someone who closely resembles an utter tool.

A lot of the time, this action is met with utter disbelief and leads to many a protestation on behalf of the young person whose impression of an utter tool is massively convincing but apparently in no way linked to them being an actual utter tool. And anyway I have no license to make such an observation anyway as I am not allowed to point out to the young person doing a completely fabulous impression of an utter tool that they have decided to do a completely fabulous impression of an utter tool as utter tool identification is covered in subsection 14.7 of the Human Rights Act that states:

‘Children have every right to act like an utter tool and not get called up on it because that’s against their human rights or something.’

The breaking of this central facet invariably leads to threats of report to my SLT, the alleged utter tool’s parents, the appropriate authorities and various local media outlets. To this, I have a bit of a chuckle, state that I care not a jot about the aforementioned threats as I myself am, in actual fact, a complete and utter tool.

And it takes one to know one.

Now, I don’t spend every hour that I teach pointing out the various failings of the kids that are unlucky enough to be faced by the horrendous prospect of an hour two in my company (although, having just written that down, it kind of sounds like my ideal job, so if you’ve got something going like that at yours, drop me a line) but I’ve also never been one to lie to children, even if that sometimes seems to be what is expected.

I hear ‘building relationships’ bandied about in reference to teaching a fair old bit. It’s the key to everything apparently. Any problem you ever encounter in the classroom can be overcome if you’ve spent enough time building relationships, as if human interaction is akin to completing the construction of a set of drawers from Ikea. (No, actually, I realise that’s often impossibly hard you get what I mean). I’m all for making sure the oak-veneered MALM of relationships is solid, but the thing is, when people say you need to build good relationships with kids, what that often means in practice is placating them at all costs. ‘Build the relationship’ becomes ‘keep them happy’ as if that’s the only desirable outcome of any relationship. I’ve been in relationships like that. They suck.

So forgive me as I morph into a tabloid agony aunt for a second but, for me, a real relationship needs a couple of central things: mutual respect and honesty. The last one being absolutely crucial.

The problem is that being honest and making someone happy doesn’t always go hand in hand. Sometimes, to build a relationship of any type of worth, you have to be prepared to say things that people don’t want to hear, things that might make them angry, or shock them, or hopefully help them figure out that what they’re doing is completely and utterly tool-like. Because if they don’t hear it from someone in authority like your good selves,they might get it into their heads that some of the unthinkably awful things they’re doing are OK. And if that keeps happening, well, there’s definitely going to be a lesson learned, and if I’m being honest (see what I did there?) it’s not a good one.

So, when Harry kicks the chair out from under someone and then laughs at them or Simone indulges in a bit of casual in-school cyberbullying at break times and I find out about it, I hope our relationship is strong enough to withstand me making it damn clear how awful they’re being. Because that’s what I’ll be doing. And if that means our mutual relationship Malm gets a bit wobbly for a while, then so be it.

Relationships are fine, but they have to be healthy and productive and honest.

And completely and utterly un-tool like.

Thanks for reading.  

Duties

From the good people at http://www.teachsecondary.com, straight into your eyeballs. Subscribe by clicking the link or the keyboard gets it.

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It funny what sticks isn’t it? There are some things that (for reasons unbeknownst to this humble writer) have lodged themselves firmly in the recesses of my mind, never to be lost or forgotten. There’s a fair bit of William Blake’s poetry in there jostling for position with which pipes you can go down to collect some coins in Super Mario Bros and an extended and exhaustive list of early 80s horror movie runtimes – y’know, really useful stuff that has limitless practical application in everyday life.

And yet, could I ever keep my duty day straight in my head from one week to the next? Could I ever pluck it from the distant deeps of my memory before the point where an irate member of SLT came bursting in just as I had my feet up to enjoy my post-lesson Curly Wurly looking almost purposefully relaxed and nonchalant just to rub it in?

Of course I couldn’t. I mean, that stuff’s actually useful. My brain has no time for that there useful stuff.

There’s no sprint faster than a missed duty sprint. You fly. But as fast as you go there’s still no gold medal waiting for you once you’ve passed the finish line, unless you count a huge sense of guilt and some choice eye-rolling as something of a prize. I don’t. For me a real prize is a bunch of gold coins that can be found in the 4th pipe just before the invisible 1UP block on level 1-1)

It’s those kind of mistakes that, if they’re repeated, can get you a name in a school. It’s not a complimentary one like ‘Hotlips’ or something like that either. People notice the people that miss their duty day. A mark is made (probably in some medieval tome fashioned in human flesh and inked in blood like in The Evil Dead which is 85 minutes long, in case you’re wondering) and the ink doesn’t tend to come off that easily.

Because missing a duty, whether it be break or dinner or bus (which is my personal favourite as there’s nothing quite like making sure the kids are all stowed away properly on what could best be described as a doubledecker pirate ship on wheels) means that someone else has to take up your slack. And just because you’ve got a mental blind spot doesn’t mean that someone else won’t have to get out there on your behalf and start chucking kids into waiting transports like so much luggage. That person might have had a seriously bad day and then it’s topped off by standing out in the rain because Mr Curley Wurley can’t get his act together and actually write down the day when he’s supposed to be hurling children onto the good ship Lynx and Red Bull.

I learnt quite quickly that excuses such as ‘my brain is too full of other things’ don’t really cut it. You’ve got to do your part or you end up leaving others in the lurch and in a job that’s quite difficult-enough-as-it-is-thank-you-very-much, that’s something nobody needs. Everyone works hard and if someone has to work that extra bit harder due to someone else not pulling their weight it can really sting. A dropped duty may not seem like much in the grand scheme of things but in the world of the school, it can signify is a lack of respect for the time and efforts of your colleagues and that shirking of responsibility looms large.

Sometimes you’ve just got to put down the Curlew Wurley, pick up a planner and make sure you’ve got your duty days there before you leave on a Friday. Blake and Mario and gore-laden chainsaws are all well and good but sometimes making a little head room for the really important stuff; the stuff that means that you’ll never get a name for yourself as someone who doesn’t really care about whether their colleagues end up doing someone else’s work because you always turns up for your afternoon of press-ganging Year 7 onto the Jolly Discarded Crisp Wrapper and you take you duty to do your duties seriously.

Thanks for reading.