The last day of the Spring Term (yes, I note the irony in this as I peer out the window at the snow still lying on the ground) and two blissful weeks of peace beckon. Or, to put it another way, two weeks where I cannot work, and thus cannot earn any money. Doesn’t sound quite so good that way round, does it?
The children were rather hyper today, particularly during the last lesson, but it was good-natured hyper, rather than rudeness or aggression – even from the Year 9 boys who would usually be trouble. I wish there was some way of bottling the end-of-term feeling and inhaling the fumes at some point during the term when the kids are at their most belligerent. If I could do this, I think I’d make a fortune.
The last lesson was P.E..
As a supply teacher I’m not allowed to take a practical P.E. class, all to do with not being covered by insurance, and all that. I’m not sure what the position is for specialist P.E. staff on supply, perhaps someone can tell me? At least that’s the position in secondary, it’s quite different in primary. Possibly because primary teachers cover all subjects in their teacher-training (whereas secondary teachers are subject-specific), they are expected to cover all lessons when they go into a school – P.E. and foreign languages included!
The P.E. teacher had left some cover work: review words about some P.E. moves (this makes it sound like dance, but it wasn’t!) by completing …… a wordsearch!
Yes, that’s right. Of all the tasks the children could be asked to do, they have to complete a wordsearch.
Why, oh why do teachers think pupils will happily do this? There are thousands of possible tasks that could be left, and frankly, a worsdearch is right at the bottom of the list as far as cover work is concerned. Pupils usually roll their eyes, huff, puff and complain, and then say they’ve already done it. Even if they haven’t. Inevitably, it only takes them a few minutes to complete anyway, and then what are they supposed to do?
When I had my own class and had to leave cover work, I made sure that it was appropriate for the class, something that they could complete with minimal assistance (I never knew just how helpful the supply teacher would be) but something which would also challenge them and keep them interested. It rarely included wordsearches.
Occasionally they have their place, but the operative word is occasionally. At Primary level they can be a fun activity to reward hard work, and they can be useful as a prompt to get SEN children to go over important words linked to a topic. But they’re only ever ‘filler’ activities, with an expected completion time of around six minutes.
Of course, I didn’t have a primary SEN class. I didn’t have a Year 7 maths class who were glad not to be doing their timetabled subject.
Oh no, I had a class who were missing an hour of P.E. to do a wordsearch. A top set Year 9 class…..
As I said, I’m glad they were all in a good mood because the Easter holidays start tomorrow!