I’ve taken a break from this blog for a while, having decided that my (rather long) holiday time was going to be devoted to that and that alone. I reasoned that if I’d been blogging, I’d be thinking about work and would probably end up getting all shouty about things that were irritating me. For the sake of my sanity and my family, I had to keep my distance.
I’m glad that I did, as I now can’t wait to get back to teaching. I really do love this job, I’m just not so keen on the many oddities that go with it.
The start of the academic year is always slow-going for supply work. There may be an odd day here or there, but in the main, September can be viewed as an extension of the Summer holidays. I’ve always felt that I should maintain a good relationship with my agency, by letting them know when I am available for work and only refusing a minority of jobs. I think this attitude has paid off, and I’ve always found my agency to be very fair.
So when I called Kathy yesterday and asked if there was any work, I believed her when she said they had no teaching work coming in at all.
This morning she called and asked if I could do a day as a TA.
Normally I would refuse this, but it’s been a long summer and it was in a new school I was keen to gain an opinion of, so despite the fact that it paid peanuts, I agreed.
I went into a Year 4 class, bright with displays and fresh paintwork. The teacher wasn’t in and I started to look at the posters on the wall. Most of them were handmade – clearly this was one artistically talented teacher!
As I looked at the displays, a woman walked in and lounged across the tables, eating an apple. I said hello and she waved, pointing to the apple in her mouth by way of an explanation as to why she couldn’t reply. I carried on looking at the displays.
And then I saw it.
In bright, bold lettering, the heading to one of the boards:
I must have given a sharp intake of breath, as the woman on the table stopped munching her apple and asked me if there was anything wrong.
I explained about the misplaced apostrophe, making light of it, saying how it is such an easy mistake to make. I hadn’t intended to make a public comment, after all, I had just walked in and I had no idea who had put the display up, nor did I know who was in the room with me.
Unfortunately, the apple-munching woman was the class teacher. And she wasn’t happy about her display being criticised.
“I did that, and it isn’t wrong. If you don’t have the apostrophe then it’s plural.”
“Yes, I realise that, it does need an apostrophe, but it should be after the s as there are lots of students.”
“It’s the same display as last year, and the Head said it was great, so you’re wrong.”
“But that display is currently a board for the work of one student…”
“Listen, I’m a qualified teacher, so I should know.”
“I’m also a qualified teacher, and I happen to know that your display is incorrect.”
“Well you can’t be much good as a teacher if you’re working as a TA!”
So there we go. It must be right of course, because she’s a qualified teacher…