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Class action

  Tue 13th February 2018

A humiliating two lessons yesterday with year 7.

Some of them point blank refused to do the work. Others scrawled all over their papers with felt pen, or ripped holes in it. I would rather teach children who misbehave because of some problems at home or the indirect result of poverty. There is nothing as ugly as an entitled rich-kid teenager who knows that whatever he or she does, there won't be anything to worry about in life until the police get involved.

They need a good bollocking, but that's difficult to administer when they don't respect me in the slightest. I'm losing the school, a class at a time. I was shaking when I came out of my mauling, wondering if the day of sneaking in a bottle of red is that far off.

It's got to get better. I've now got a photocopier. I've asked for exercise books and to be added as a guest user on the other teachers' computers. Why hasn't the school reflected on why two teachers left by Christmas?

For the next four weeks I'm working 9 till 1 on Saturday as well because of all the time we lost during the blizzard. Those mere four hours manage to ripple into tarnishing the weekend.

I got paid on Monday. I was hoping that seeing my bank balance leap into four figures would help the anxiety, but it's undimmed, coming in a diurnal wave. I had to repay my brother and Trina some money they lent me to get me out here, but as from next month I want to squirrel about £450 away somewhere safe, so that if I crack -- at the moment it feels more like "when" -- I can just go to the airport, change my mobile number, and leave it all behind me. Without that money I'm trapped.


Guest of honour at lunch at school on Friday, I was sat in the privileged position at a Kazakh table, midway down its long side, with six other teachers and our Director, to be "treated" -- as they described it -- to the national dish of horsemeat.

It started well, with fermented mare's milk which is sour, refreshing and slightly alcoholic. I cut the horsemeat into tiny pieces and covered each forkful with a piece of carrot or potato. Worse than the horsemeat were the chunks of sausage it was cooked with, which were enclosed in a thick off-white tubing.

But they'd gone to a great deal of trouble for me. There were several toasts and short speeches, punctuated by more mare's milk, which had the great merit of concealing the taste of the food, as I managed its delicate poise on my cusp of vomiting. It was with relief that we turned to the pudding -- deep-friend Kazakh doughnuts, crystallised fruit and pistachios. There was a bit of surrogate mummying going on as cheery comments on my thinness were made about me.


I found out on Friday that the other teachers come out with £340 a month. I'm on more than quadruple that. So belt up and get on with it looby.

10 comments

Comment from: organ grinder [Visitor]

I started in a posh private without training or any realistic plan. Best advice: don’t smile till Christmas & focus on the classroom ritual. Good luck!

Tue 13th February 2018 @ 12:07
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

I was quite tired today and a bit ratty so I used it to my advantage by taking some of it out on a class which is teetering on the brink of insurrection, and I think I might have reeled them back in at the last minute.

Tue 13th February 2018 @ 18:23

These stories are fantastic. I’m sorry for all the discomfort but it’s great fodder for your loyal readers.

So these are not underprivileged students? I hope you don’t finally snap and kick one of them in the teeth but it’s going to be difficult. What can you threaten them with? What are they afraid of?

Wed 14th February 2018 @ 17:34
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

No, they’re not underprivileged. Their parents have got tons of money. I want to make them afraid of me. I’m working on it.

Wed 14th February 2018 @ 21:46
Comment from: organ grinder [Visitor]

Tell them you’re a (Lancashire) Cossack. I don’t think the Kazakh hordes ever had much luck against Cossacks.

Wed 14th February 2018 @ 21:59
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Neither am I.

Thu 15th February 2018 @ 05:10
Comment from: daisyfae [Visitor]

i think you may have found the key - if YOU don’t give a shit either, you can let your irritation flow. as exile said, figure out what they’re afraid of… clearly, not teachers, or administrative punishment. failure in life? losing their status? becoming less privileged?

sorry you had to eat horsemeat. when i was in Peru, i felt obliged to taste guinea pig. it was bony. if i were going to eat rat, i think that’s what it would taste like.

Thu 15th February 2018 @ 12:00
Comment from: Leslie Philips [Visitor]

All you need in teaching,( it was once put to me) is a loud voice and a straight face. So I think the notion of not smiling is a good one.
Hard to do, but, do what your enemy least wants you to do. This may mean befriending the leader of the group, getting them on your side and the rest will follow. I was once called a £nut by one of my charges. I didn’t react when it happened, but when the session finished, I called him back and face to face with me and alone, he burst into tears.
I taught some real bastards in my time, and I know what it’s like when there is no backup. However, you are far more interesting and intelligent than most of the people teaching them and they know this.
Great blog.

Thu 15th February 2018 @ 15:00
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

I don’t give a shit about the fate of the children or how I’m contributing to it, for good or bad. When, as a teacher, you start thinking that way, then it’s time to leave the post you’re in. I’ll see it out till the end of the year – or at least until I next get paid – but the prospect of coming back here in September…I can see myself ringing them up on 30th August saying my mum’s died or something.

Thu 15th February 2018 @ 22:50
Comment from: kono [Visitor]

It is comforting to know that students are the same everywhere, lol!! I’d listen to Leslie, there some good points up there… oddly people always thought i’d be a great teacher, they say i relate well to kids well, i just treat them like people and take no shit, of course being 6′4 i’m sure helps haha!!

Sun 18th February 2018 @ 20:03


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