Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Muppet surprises

My year 11 teaching group were a mixed bunch: some lovely, some lively, some lazy, and some who made me livid. But in their en masse state, I'd been counting down the days to their study leave since before Christmas. There are two who I would miss, if I was inclined to do such a thing, because they have made me laugh until my sides have ached - usually unintentionally - and want to do well. But at least half of the rest make me want to turn on my heel and slam the door behind me, tell them to go and screw themselves, and hope they fail their GCSEs, because in our last couple of weeks most of them didn't seem to give a tuppeny toss about their impending exams.

In our last lesson I was trying to give them vital exam tips but only a handful were bothering to scribble notes and listen. I have, of course, been giving them vital exam tips all year, but they've had no sense of urgency so it all has to be reiterated. I had to send a couple of them out of the lesson for their rude and inappropriate behaviour. They seem to forget they have to come back for their exams, and therefore see no consequences for being complete muppets in their last few weeks.

But then one of those who I sent out made a surprise reappearance last week just after one of his exams. He sloped up to my room with another ne-er-do-well, both of them clutching sixth form prospectuses.

"Sixth form?" I spluttered. "I thought you wanted to do an apprenticeship?"

"Nah, I wanna go sixth form," was the reply. "I'm gonna miss school. I wanna stay on."

I barely disguised my sharp intake of breath and raised eyebrows.

"Do you think I can do (your subject) in sixth form?" This time his question made me laugh out loud.

"Oh, you're serious? Um, well, let's see how you do in your GCSEs..." was my pragmatic reply. Because what I was really thinking was, "Please, no oh no oh no!" But I knew the school's response would be: "Fabulous! Another head to count towards funding. Let him do whatever he wants, and we'll even give him a special chair in the sixth form common room, right next to the pool table and within a cue's jab of the fridge"...

12 comments:

Fran Hill said...

And no doubt the ones you wish you could teach at sixth form will go off to do Cement Studies. C'est la vie.

Tenon_Saw said...

"...right next to the pool table and within a cue's jab of the fridge"

Aha - 6th form common rooms, the same the world over!

The TEFL Tradesman said...

RT,there's a simple solution to this problem - find the little horror a job!

OK, there are no more jobs for teenagers ... point taken!

Caz said...

I was chatting to a colleague a few days before half term - he'd been marking exams and about 4 of his GCSE students were going to get a C - the rest (of a class of about 12 or 13) were all below that. One lad was applying for college and had to put in his expected grade for the subject. When he was told it was an 'F', he got shirty and insisted that he needed a C. My colleague pointed out that he should have done the work.

I'm sure that the move away from examination based qualififations to assessment based ones was felt to be a good idea because it would help those pupils who aren't so good at sitting exams. But now, so much of the work has to be done independently, and we can only lead the horses to the water. Yet it's still our fault when kids don't get the grades they want.

Funny that.

StupidityContainmentFieldCompromised said...

Your muppets probably looked at the prospectuses for apprenticeships, thought "Oh crap, that's like... WORK !!! RUN AWAY !!!" and decided that dossing around school for a bit longer would be an easier life.

If they don't pass their GCSE's, they'll be back for resits anyway from the sound of it.

Muppets happen :-(

Anonymous said...

As a MFL teacher, my one 'revenge is sweet' moment is during the GCSE oral exams - suddenly the nightmare students, who do no work in (or out of) class and who disrupt those who want to work, come up to me minutes before their exam begging me to be nice to them and often literally shaking with nerves - is it mean, then, that I enjoy not putting them at ease (as I would the nicer/hard-working students) and asking them the questions I know they will struggle with (ok - that's most questions!)? Hey, I'm only human ;-)

jams o donnell said...

I see that bums on seats prevails. You and my sister could spend hours exchanging similar situations, methinks!

Anonymous said...

Hi, just come back to read your blog after a wee absence. As you seem to deal (teach!) the big hairy variety of pupil I wondered do you know if any secondary school in the UK is actually going to teach the Diploma in Manufacturing and Product Design? Yet another bright idea from the Government that isn't going to work and another opportunity to encourage the next generation into industry (and goodness knows get their hands a little bit dirty). Sorry had to get that off my chest.

Ranting Teacher said...

Hello Anon, and welcome back! I've never heard of that diploma... but then again I do only exist in a bubble in my classroom...!

Student said...

Hate to say it, but I as a student completely disagree with what your saying. Yes students misbehave, yes we talk alot.
But have you ever thought that maybe your teaching isnt up to scratch?? We talk cause thats all we have to do, otherwise we are stuck listening to you whine on about how you can't teach (which just so happens is true most cases than not)
so really.. shove all your complaints up your arse and STFU.
You have been here before so give us some slack, we do more work than you think.
good day.

Ranting Teacher said...

Hi Student, see my response on my latest blog entry...

Anonymous said...

We teachers suffer the same here in the good ole' USA.