The Christmas tree is up, tinsel has taken over reception and the “But it’s almost Christmas!” complaints have started from the kids. The Christmas break is well and truly almost here and I could not be more ready for it.
It’s been a whirlwind of a term and although it has been busy, as all terms inevitably are, our school has been remarkably lucky in terms of covid cases. In fact, we have only had two cases in total, so apart from a few students who had to work remotely for a short period of time, generally we have been operating as normal. Of course, a normal school in 2020 still means the use of face masks, social distancing and plenty of hand sanitiser amongst all the other measures in place.
Another addition to our ‘normal’ practice has been the start of virtual parents evenings, of which we have had two already. These have mostly been ok and without any technical difficulties, apart from one parent whose microphone wasn’t working. Of course this wasn’t ideal, but I could just talk at him for a few minutes as he nodded, gave me a thumbs up and thanked me at the end. Or at least I think this is what he said, if my lip reading skills are up to scratch. Other awkward moments included a parent who joined their five minute slot with just one minute remaining leading to the world’s speediest appointment, parents who have been talking and then cut off despite my warnings about the time running out and the parent who seemingly accidentally ended the appointment early so I reconnected, only to then see an interesting angle of her drinking her tea, unaware I was still there, only for us to say bye quickly and disconnect once more.
After these three hours of back to back appointments on Thursday evening, after what had already been a tiring week, I was feeling pretty exhausted on Friday morning. By 2.50pm, I was done.
Friday did not get off to a great start. Due to an extra 10 minute snooze of my alarm, I had arrived at school a little later than normal, at 7.30am rather than my preferred 7.20am, as you will know if you read my last post: ‘A (school) day in the life’. So it was pretty annoying to discover when I got off my bike that my (already once repaired) dress had split at the back. Although I probably could have got away with this, this wardrobe malfunction was not ideal so I got straight back on my bike to go home and change into my stretchiest dress. Luckily I was back in school by 8am, but this extra cycle definitely added to my growing fatigue.
On Fridays, I normally have four lessons in a row with the same Year 7 class, as I have them for a double DT lesson (because yes I teach that now, along with my other specialisms PE and maths…), followed by double science. Fortunately, Year 7 had a sports tournament on Friday morning, meaning that I had two lessons less to teach, and instead I just had to supervise my class during a game of poison ball (a variation of dodgeball). Easy, right?
Well, dodgeball has been banned in many schools and I just want to say: I get it. In that 100 minutes, there were tears, panic attacks, cries of “You’re cheating!!!! They’re cheating!!!” and just full on aggression. And that was just from the staff supporting…
At one point, a girl had got a plastic tag from her top stuck in her hair, so I quickly ran to the office 20 seconds away to grab some scissors to help free her. When I returned, several students from my class were outside the sports hall. When I asked what was going on, they told me that one boy had just ran out crying, tried to leave the school and when he couldn’t get out, had gone into the toilet cubicle. Let me just reiterate at this point that I had disappeared for about 20 seconds. Anyway, this boy would not tell me why he was sobbing uncontrollably, so I never did find out the cause of this outburst, but he returned a few minutes later seemingly ok.
For the final two lessons with Year 7 after lunch, I was bracing myself for them to be super hyper after their morning of sports, especially as this class had left as the Year 7 champions, however they were surprisingly calm (worn out) and well behaved. Or as calm as can be expected anyway when the lesson topic is reproduction. I knew that the boy who had had his meltdown earlier was back to his normal chatty, jokey self when during a quiz with the mini whiteboards, he had written ‘River of God’ instead of vagina, because this is apparently what it looked like on the diagram.
After somehow summoning enough energy to explain all about fertilisation and make it to the end of the lesson, I was super relieved to get to 2.50pm, when I could ask everyone for the last time that week to stand behind their chairs and put their masks on. Four and a half school days left- the Christmas holiday countdown is on.