mr garrison

mr garrison

where to start? its the second day of half term and this time next week i would have already taught my first proper lesson – the great fire of london. last week was great, but i had to go back to college for a couple of days which was lame actually, i was just getting used to the school and i had to go back and do pe – for three hours. we also did early years, history and learnt about the library service.

tuesday/wednesday of school practice

i was working through a list of ‘wider school activities’ pretty fast so tuesday morning i went out and invited the class in. at the teachers suggestion, i did it nice and loud and shouted “goood morning everybody” – and they actually came inside, with smiles. i was able to greet most of them by name which was cool and i met a few of the parents (and no, sadly). after a quick game of domino stacking we sat round and did a little show and tell about the volcano. monday afternoon i asked a couple of the girls if they wanted to design a list of the ‘volcano crew’ members and a logo for the group. i couldn’t believe what they had done. it was one of those, “holy crap i actually motivated a child to do something, and its amazing” moments. check out the logo:

hand sewn.

hand sewn.

i know. and she’s year 2. the list was pretty cool too, she’d inserted volcano photos at the top/bottom of the page and done a nice font with lava colours etc. they all got a big clap and everyone asked if they could make a volcano too.

i sat with a stupid grin on my face and was then asked to show the volcano erupting. so i scrambled to get the ingredients together while the children sat and watched. i have to say, it was possibly the weakest eruption you can think of – in fact, it was more like a volcano sweating or drooling. i was very disappointed. the teacher said i should take another group and make another one and i made my first big mistake. i took away the stinking red food coloured volcano and what do you think i did? yep, into the bin. we made another one with another group and after about half an hour she  asked what i’d done with the other childrens work. then it hit me. i really fucked up and she made sure i understood that, but i sure as hell won’t do it again. eventually we apologised to the kids and lied, saying it all collapsed into a heap because of the vinegar/bicarbonate etc.

i won’t go into everything that happened but here are some highlights:

* we did auditions for our class assembly to decide who would read their dinosaur stories. one kid did some really funny voices and had us all laughing at his mother dinosaur crying “my baby!”. i was a judge but i thought the teacher was a little harsh on the marking. that afternoon we rehearsed the whole thing all singing, all dancing (sort of).

* i took the afternoon register which was great, made me feel part of the family. they had a literacy lesson on the ‘u-e’ sound and that its the same as ‘oo’ sound – a kid asked if ‘boob’ was the same. we all laughed.

* i did playground duty, ie walking around with a coffee while the kids ran about showing me how many hula hoops they could twirl at once, skipping backwards, kicking footballs etc. two girls fell out then were best friends in the space of about three minutes.

* i took a group of gifted and talented and did some story work on the laptops. i had six kids and thought i handled it okay, but took too long getting them to do their work. they inserted clip art and we learned how to use the shift key instead of capslock.

the assembly itself was probably the best bit about the three days. the day before the teacher had said (during show and tell) that mr scutt could do the eruption in front of the whole school (and parents) as part of the assembly. i shat myself because this thing was so lame and i’d already fucked it up twice. that night i went and bought the supplies and practiced a few times. i changed the recipe after reading it another website and felt pretty prepared, although a little nervous.

it was only half an hour but it was pretty packed, much as you’d imagine. kids reading off cards about the topics they’d done this half term. singing songs (the double-trouble blues, about multiplication), reading stories, poems, showing artwork. i was near the end and the girls showed their work and another read out the ingredients. with eyes fixed i added the vinegar to the premix and hoped. it was so cool, i swear i heard a gasp from one of the reception kids. red foam kept coming out of this thing and it looked really good – i was so excited i looked up at the parents and blurted “it worked” before we all got a round of applause. people came over after the assembly and said how good it looked and i was really proud of the class. the rest of the day was fun and i got a ‘great’ sticker from the teacher which smelled of jelly beans.

early years

the first day back at college was okay. most of the morning people were asking about each others placements, what they did, their class etc. to be honest i just wanted to go back and finish out the week. this lesson was more about targets/levels and i got pretty bored. laura (chatty) kept going on and on about her class and while interesting wasn’t really giving us lots of ideas. she then put on a 25 page slideshow of pictures from her class and described every one in detail.


i wasn’t looking forward to this but it turned out okay. we all wore our pe kits and met at some sports hall. it was 3 hours of warm up games that you could play with kids and she made us do all of them. some were quite good fun and it was good to see everyone laughing/running around acting like kids – but she was relentless. i don’t mind someone telling me to do something, as long as i have the feeling they could do the same thing. not this woman. celia is overweight and in her late 50’s but had no problem making us sweat like bastards. it went on and on and by the end most people were just going through the motions, when she said run, they walked etc. so after this marathon i had been looking forward to the warm down. i’m no personal trainer but i know that for an hours exercise you should have about 10-15min cooldown. this genius gave us about 5mins for 3 hours and it was mostly stretching. luckily during the last half hour there was a girl practicising trampoline across the hall and she was amazing, triple somersaults, the works. during the wrap up talk by celia i actually shouted “oh shit” while she did some crazy spin move.


so we all waddled into the classroom the following morning, various muscles contracting, sitting down was painful. i had been looking forward to history because i love the subject. this woman however was a bit of a nightmare. she didn’t seem to know that much about history and much of her knowledge seemed like stuff i had learnt as a child, ie she hasn’t kept up with modern findings. plus she prounced it “skelington” so i pretty much tuned off then. we did presentations (ours was about greece and citizenship) and it went pretty well. others did egyptians, rememberence day, florence nightingale etc.

some of her gems:

* that the romans “were well tooled up” and “went around and conquered most of the world”

* when describing claudius thinking about invading britain “my street cred will go right the way up”

* (i didn’t get this all down because i was trying not to laugh) when describing claudius (paraphrase) “that he was more than just a man with a hunchback and a stutter”

oh, and she had the worst possible powerpoint presentation i’ve ever seen. white background, tiny black text, no pictures. 30 slides. at least she didn’t use comic sans i guess.

this week i’ll be sorting out my folders, coming up with a lesson plan for the great fire (i’ll post the presentation i think) and generally taking it easy.

cheers, toxicologist/wiki.


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