Blethers and blahs

Random ramblings from a chaotic life

Control and craft

on December 9, 2006

I love my job and almost everything about it.  The bits I don't like are the bits that have to be done outside the time the children are in the classroom.  Yes, I do moan about it, like everyone else who works, and I love my weekends and time when I'm not working but I cannot imagne myself ever doing any other kind of job.

I also think I am quite good at what I do, which is not an admission I make lightly.  Teachers are a strange breed of people and like many other jobs there are some who are great, and I envy them their skills, but equally there are some who should never be in close proximity to a child, let alone be allowed to teach and influence them.  However one thing all teachers have in common is control.

From the first day you begin your training until the last day you are in a classroom control is they key to everything.  We have to plan what we teach in great detail, some schools do year plans which forecast your teaching for the year ahead, then we do termly plans, which are very detailed and cover all subject areas.  The subjects taught in Scottish primary schools are – reading, writing, spelling, talking, listening, problem solving, maths, history, geography, technology, citizenship, health, science, computing, art, music, drama, P.E., religious and moral education and I'm sure there's one more that I can't think of at the moment!  From these termly plans in all these areas we write a detailed daily plan down to the book and page number each child will be working on.  In my classroom I have a wide range of abilities and have 6 different groups in some areas, all of which need a different plan.  All of this is about control and managing all the spinning plates of subjects and behaviour and all the little things such as remembering who has to go home early for a doctor/dentist appointment and who is on the pupil/eco council and has to be at a meeting at a certain time, lol.


Which brings me to art and craft in schools.  If you have a child in school they will no doubt be busily making Christmas cards/presents/decorations each day which will be lovingly kept by you till they fall apart, just like I do.  However what you may not realise is that every other child in the class will have made almost identical cards and gifts because that is how it is done.  The teacher is in control and has an idea and the only ones that will be different will be the ones made by the child who didn't listen or understand the instructions. 

I know because I do it too, it's the only way to get things done with up to 33 children at any one time.  However since I started scrapping some of that has changed – and here is the picture to prove it, lol. The card came from Roz and the bits and bobs are from donations made by UKS users for mini books I made with a previous class.  The kids are decorating the cards and will then write messages on the other side for their families and we will tie them together with ribbon so they can hang on the Christmas tree.  They are also making calendars and have chosen their own designs for these too.  The cry in the class is usually 'we never got to choose what we want before' and no doubt it will not happen often in the future either.  I have had fellow teachers look at me as though I am mad too because I am letting the children be creative without telling them what to do step by step.

I have to confess the mess they make is almost unbearable as they have to have a choice of materials and they are not the tidiest bunch in the world, but neither are many crafters, me included some times, lol. 

The important thing is each and every child will be taking home something that is unique to them. No doubt they will look back at their creations in years to come and wonder why they chose what they did but they will also know it was all their own work and no one else has anything quite like it. 

I am sure in the short time we have left as a class we will have much fun and I hope that that is something these children remember even when they have forgotten many of the things that I have taught them.  If they learn that education can be fun and thet they can be successful then I will have done a good job.

On a slightly different note – Thursday was my youngest grandaughter Katy's second birthday.  I can hardly believe it has been two years, she has made quite an impact. She loved opening her presents and although it wasn't such a big event as last year, due to changing circumstances, it was still a fun day.  Her favourite thing at the moment is to cheese

people with mummy's cheese – as the photo shows, lol. 

She is a delight and always manages to make me smile, no matter how I feel, as does my other grandaughter, Beth.  Being a grandma is much more fun than being a mum and, yes, I do do daft things with the girls that I would never have done with my own children, just as my mother did.  She made someone else smile on Sunday while we were walking back to the car after the Singing Kettle.  I had almost forgotten about it till I was tidying my craft room yesterday.  I found a Singing Kettle bag with a Big Issue in it.  We had passed a man sheltering in a doorway in the dark and cold Edinburgh evening and I noticed he was a BI vendor.  He was very quiet and looked sad and tired, with good reason no doubt.  I stopped just after we passed him and gave Beth money to buy a magazine.  The man was quite startled to be given money by a young girl but was aware we were there.  He smiled and said thanks at which point Katy waved to him and said goodbye.  The look on his face was priceless and almost brought a tear to my eye.  For that moment these two girls made an impact on someone's life which for the better and for that I am very proud and grateful to be their grandma.  Take care xxx 

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