Saturday, 8 November 2008

A quarter of the way through...

One week of our month-long teaching course has gone by and Theo has already presided over three lessons, while I've been in charge of two. We've got loads more to learn, but at this stage we don't seem to be doing too badly and I'm convinced my students almost learned something during my last lesson. It was a close-run thing, anyway.

Apart from the general affability of the students, trainees and tutors, I've had two more pleasant realisations this week:
1. I really like teaching. With a couple of provisos. That the subject is English (I don't think quantum theory would do it for me, somehow. You probably need at least GCSE Physics, which would be a bit of a stumbling block in my case) and the students are adults (I'm quite happy to leave the challenge of trying to teach surly teenagers who're more interested in chewing gum or texting their mates to other people, frankly).
2. I like being back in the classroom as a student myself. If you ask me, further and higher education is wasted on the young. I definitely wouldn't have been so enthusiastic if I had done this course fifteen-odd years ago. Now, even the homework is quite satisfying, in the same way as going for a run or doing a work-out in the gym. It's a bit of a slog and you keep wishing it'll be over soon, but when it is you get a definite feeling of achievement and even, dare I say, a touch of euphoria. Or maybe that's just the relief you naturally feel, say, after overcoming a bout of constipation.

In my short time as a trainee teacher, I've also had a couple of insights about the habits of my own schoolteachers. The obsessive break-time cigarette-smoking and coffee-drinking, for example. Theo and I aren't doing the former at all and my consumption of coffee is so far under control (one con-leche and one contado per day - I could stop any time, honest...) but our fellow trainees are puffing away like the regular Strawberry Line service and I'm sure some of them are mainlining caffeine in the bogs. One thing you don't appreciate when you're a pupil or student is how damn terrifying you and your peers can be to the less experienced pedagog. By the time the teachers are too experienced to feel the fear, their addictions are too far gone to even attempt giving them up. Thus, the delightful ash-tray and coffee-breath cocktail of halitosis that let's you know they're reading your answers over your shoulder, even without looking.

Over-flowing bag syndrome is something I've often wondered about, too. Actually, it would be an exaggeration to say often, but since my initiation into the realm of the schoolroom, I've been frequently reminded of the seemingly endless books, papers and pens carted around by my former teachers, even as my own bulging backpack tips out all over the classroom floor.

So, three more weeks to go and major cock-ups notwithstanding, Theo and I will both be certified. It's a heady prospect.

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