Thank you for taking my class during my 2 week absence and ensuring their safety while in your care. I didn't want to be away for so long, but it was unavoidable. I trust you enjoyed yourself; they're a vibrant bunch. However, don't be fooled; they couldn't wait to grass you up. My children are devious, mastermind-sleuths, who are not to be trusted. Their smiles are angelic, their eyes burn bright, but behind the mask is a fickle being, perfectly capable of lulling you into a full sense of security.
Here's how I know:
- They looked blank when I referred to the lessons I assumed you taught them; your learning objectives are written in their books, and they do not match the plans I gave you.
- They told me about the computer game you played in front of them when they should have been learning about Roman Numerals in Maths; the program's icon now appears in my Start Menu.
- They said your way of marking every day was to have them call out their answers. Your reply was, "That sounds about right". This is a harder one to prove but there are certainly a lot of random, coloured-pencil ticks scattered around my books.
- They knew an awful lot about the novel I didn't ask you to read; likely due to the 3 chapters you had my Teaching Assistant photocopy for each pair to share (do you realise how much paper that is?)
- They said you read them this book every day in my English lesson; that must have been what you were doing while you were ignoring what I had asked for.
- They continued to tell me how you stopped each lesson early to tell them an anecdote from your past; although you were off my plans anyway, so I'm less bothered by this.
- They needed to do too much research to complete the homework I had prepared for them; clearly due to the fact you didn't teach them the lessons that would have given them the skills to tackle it.
I can understand why there would be cause for "interpretation" when following routines you don't know and teaching from a plan you didn't write. In all honesty, the only person who understands the plan is me! It must be daunting to enter a new school and be expected to lead the day with a group of strangers (although if you'd arrived before 9am every day you might stand a better chance - yes, I know about that too; they were fascinated by the briefcase they watched you walk in with everyday!) For these reasons, you were more than welcome to ignore the "Outline of Lesson" box, and just focus on the "Learning Objective"; that is, after all, what I need them to learn. I could even understand you disregarding the work and resources I had prepared for you because we all know every teacher has their own style.
- As far as you can, use the resources I prepared; the first PowerPoint you find on Google is fine for the starter, and you can even choose how to teach the objective I have given you. But when it comes to what the children complete, I've written it based on what my children already know and what they need to achieve next. It will also save you time writing things yourself. This curriculum is jam-packed and we can't afford a fortnight of time-filling.
- Take them to the Computer Suite if you want them to play a curriculum relevant game.
- Mark their books a little more often so you're aware of what misconceptions to address (especially if you're doing your own thing for several days in a row).
- Use the class set of books to read from and keep story-time (that doesn't relate to the English lesson) to a more suitable period of the day.
- Tell anecdotes (we all do it) with the knowledge you're going to have to get back on track soon.
- Please at least use the planning as a guide - if not for yourself, the children need some capability in what I planned in order to complete their home learning.
All children might give a bit of attitude sometimes, and push the boundaries with their behaviour, they do it for us all; but they are loyal. And although my class and I irritate each other (I'm too fussy and they're too loud), don't ever forget that we have each other's backs. We laugh together, help each other, and learn along the way.
Thank you so much for looking after them; you did a great job to keep them safe.