Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Joys of Teaching

I retired from teaching some years ago but it seems not a lot has changed since then, except more red tape is involved.
I was trained in primary school education and my forte was the teaching of reading and writing — especially creative writing. In this some children excelled. Before writing stories it was normal to start with an activity to get their imaginations stirred. One in particular was hilarious! We were in the hall doing a bit of imaginative drama. It started with movement to percussion: shadow movements, lunge - retreat — pretend sword fighting without touching etc., until they had a store of movements to carry out a dramatic scene without hurting each other. I had them practice in small groups and then perform to the rest. One slid off the stage like melting jelly. The headmaster heard the whoops and yells, and dropped by to see if all was well! I think he was actually impressed that they were so active but well controlled. Apart from movement and music, we would use other mediums too Some great stories were written and a number of the youngsters (8-9 years) went on to write stories that filled an exercise book - some of them pirate stories. And the desire to write continued. I would arrive early and let the eager beavers into the classroom to get half an hour of story writing done before the bell.
Later I changed to Secondary Comprehensive education, teaching art and needlework. Older children are more difficult to motivate but we did get some good art done that brightened up the annexe - at least, a letter of thanks from the head, as well as the pride of the youngsters, made the hard work worthwhile.

The Joys Of Teaching

They come in the night, and daytime too —
Dreams and nightmares of many a hue.
We shake them off with laughter jolly
But most of the time we’re off our trolley!
In confident voice we teach what we know
And try to hide what we don’t want to show.

We stand at the front and spout the lesson
And hope to be able to last the session.
Some kids are angels and want to learn;
There are also those who are ready to spurn —
All that is taught, but still is our hope
That none of the kids will end up a dope.

We sit in our chair and read out the names
Of all our pupils ready for games —
Not the sort you play with bat and ball
But who’s to win, and who’s to fall
In the battle of wits they play with their teacher —
Jim’s taunting of Miss is a favourite feature.

At least terms are short and holidays long,
And sometimes surprises come rolling along.
Young Jimmy is offered a place at Oxford
And Marlene is nursing in USA Botsford.
Some are employed, most are at college,
And not one is inside — eating his porridge!

This poem is included in Northern Lights, stories and poems from the North of England ISBN 978-0-9548885-5-8 Visit Magpies Nest Publishing for free extracts from this book and others.
Visit my other sites to read short stories, reviews and articles: Wrinkly Writers and My Space/Gladys Writes (you can hear me read stories on this one too)


jothiek said...

I've had some two to three months experience in teaching, in fact, and I'd have to say, teaching could indeed be fun. Imparting something you know about so well to innocent kids, watching them learn new things which they had never known before...oh, it's such a joy!
And how wonderful it would feel to see one's pupils actually growing up to become great men and women!
Very nicely written, Gladys. I really like the poem.

Gladys Hobson said...

Yes indeed. Reception class was especially rewarding, especially to have children go up to the next class with new reading and writing skills and with a grounding in simple maths. Juniors were fun. Art at senior level was good too.