Thursday, 6 February 2014

Vol 19 Teacher training


Looking back, my teacher training was a disaster so it’s fairly amazing that I ever found myself in front of a class in the first place.  For instance, the checklist of skills that housed my ‘writing on the board’ mastery was never ticked and to this day when using a board I still go up so that the ends of my sentences are always whimsically heading for the clouds.   

Part of the course was supposed to be on the job training and, to this end, I found myself nervously heading for an adult class of eight or so students studying communication.  For fifteen minutes, I searched for the tutor, Ken, to receive his instructions for the period until he emerged somewhat breathless from the store cupboard followed hotfoot (I kid you not) and hot faced by his classroom assistant.   

“Erm,” I politely stalled, waiting for him to catch his breath, “I’m your trainee teacher, could you brief me on the lesson at all?”

“You sit with Sandra,” he instructed tersely, pointing, and left.

Sandra was sitting immobile at a table gazing glumly into the middle distance and I was struck with terror.  No training on communication, no theory to fall back on, not a handout to my name and two hours to fill with the unfortunate Sandra.

“Erm, morning,” I managed.

“…. “

“It’s a bit chilly um but bright outside,” originality being not my forte on such an occasion.


My stomach rumbled in the silence.


After some minutes of this, and despite the chill outside and in, I swear great globules of sweat were amassing under my fringe.

I wasn’t used to small talk, as a kid I’d taken as my personal dictum   ‘if you don’t have anything to say, don’t say anything’ and jauntily daydreamed my life away to date. 

After some more long minutes, I spied a glossy catalogue and snatching it smartly from under the nose of another classroom assistant, proceeded to witter away turning page after hundred page all the while enlightening poor Sandra of my personal fashion delectations until, five minutes before the lesson ended, Ken returned.

“Ken,” I gushed in relief, “I don’t really think that went down very well.  Could you …”

“It was fine,” interrupted he with characteristic effervescence, “she likes you.”

What????  Where did he get that from? Sandra had sat rigidly staring ahead during my near hysterical ramblings for nearly two hours.  How did he make that out?

“If she doesn’t like ‘em,” explained Ken, “She normally head butts ‘em.”