Monday, February 7, 2011
hands up if you know the answer!
When I was in my early 20’s I took a job masquerading as a primary school teacher in an Independent fee paying school in Central London.
I don’t really know why the head teacher employed me, as I was vastly inexperienced and under-qualified. I blame it on the fact that her hormones were all over the place (she was 7 months pregnant) and she didn’t really know what she was doing.
So there I was, in a classroom of over bright over achieving 10 year olds, making it up as I went along. This was before the world wide web, so I had no resources other than the local library, books on the classroom shelves, and mine and my flatmates imaginations.
I could cope (just about) with the arts. I remember with fondness a project we did on Zaire.
But I also had to teach maths.
When I look back on those months, I am amazed I didn’t die of a stress related illness.
Those of you who know me well will testify to my utter incompetence in this subject.
There were days when I would be writing a sum on the board, one I had painstakingly reviewed the previous evening with my flatmate Sally, (a fortifying whisky in one hand, a cigarette in the other ... and I didn’t smoke .. this is how bad things were) and my mind would go blank. I could not remember how to do it. So I would say to David, an incredibly clever 10 year old with glasses and a posh Home Counties accent who sat in the front row, “David, would you like to show the class how you would answer this particular problem?” And David would happily take over while I slumped in my chair and sweated.
And then my worst nightmare ... I have a vivid recollection of going into a major panic the night before I was due to start teaching fractions. At midnight I called Andy, sobbing, and over the phone he guided me through a simple lesson on the basics. I cannot remember how things went the next day, maybe it was so bad my brain deleted the memory.
I was eventually sacked. A good thing, all considered.
And now here I am, attempting to teach my 12 year old daughter math. And again, I am getting hysterical over fractions. And, just like last time, Andy is coming to my rescue. I think I married the right man.
- I have been married to Andy since 1991, we have 4 daughters, 2 dogs, 2 cat, 4 rabbits (and various baby rabbits) and a hamster (not dead). We have lived in the U.S.A since 2000, and are citizens of the U.K. I miss many things about the U.K.(pubs, old buildings, red post boxes, church bells,narrow roads, a good joint of roast lamb with mint sauce, to name but a few) but I have grown to love the U.S.