Month 3: Week 12, Days 1 – 3 Real stories from teaching relief/supply

First image is a school gym store, the nets for tennis were cleverly designed and foldable into little bags (ANZ Bank branded ‘hot shots’ kind)

Phew, another day of relief done and dusted ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve been to the previously mentioned state school, now a College on Monday for a second relief day but honestly it was such a negative experience with students misbehaviour, I was glad to have the contrast of a Catholic primary school as a PE teacher all day today and more primary relief locked in Thurs/Fri this week back at Mother Teresa to come! I won’t be too detailed though I got the names and reported two out of three incidents I’ll recount here – also I want to start not with negatives but with positives about this College. First and foremost it’s a tightly run and organised body of staff and the relief instructions are always clear and organised. The teachers are supportive of one another and help out with reliefs and duties a lot internally due to the school apparently (hearsay) being hard to staff with external relief staff consistently (as in for more than a few days before they won’t return unfortunately – and again this is hearsay/gossip that may be inaccurate). I certainly feel that staff appreciate me when I’m there and I am welcomed and given appropriate backup with student behaviour. Now on to that, I had a great P1 with English with Yr 10s first up with a short story by Roald Dahl (one of my all time favourite authors) which is in typical fashion dark and with a narrative twist, so there was plenty to discuss and it was right up my alley. I was actually looking forward to the next class P2 for a different teacher initially as it was also Yr 10’s and I assumed I’d have similar students. I was wrong, there are 9 Phys ed classes on at the same time and I shared a big oval with 3 other staff yet still a boy named ‘J’ (not his full name – this isn’t MIB) was an absolute nightmare until he literally left the oval to wander the College unsupervised without permission midway through the lesson to ‘cool down’ which really just means he was so painful to deal with, no one was willing to do so at the time (which again I totally get as teachers have enough on their plates without dealing with so much unreasonable BS). This boy had a major meltdown and refused to move as instructed into the team he was selected for by a ‘captain’ he maybe didn’t like, or perhaps was just testing me as a relief teacher ‘target’ nonetheless when I didn’t back down, marched over to him when he still refused to comply and blew my whistle in his face when he still wouldn’t move, despite my raised voice, he eventually slunk over (briefly), then set out to undermine me further by refusal to wear a bib (a cloth coloured item that goes over a t-shirt, not sure whether international readers call them different things) instead putting it over his face like a facemask and being a general nuisance. All throughout this he used atrocious language including the big 3: ‘n’, ‘f’ and ‘c’ very casually and repetitively. I had enough and got him off the pitch by using proximity but I literally had to shepherd him off to the side by getting in his face, eye to eye and saying quiet and calm, if you’re going to hit me do it, otherwise get off and stop interfering with the rest of the class playing the game. He eventually backed down when a whiny appeal to another staff member who backed me up instead, failed. That’s when he wandered off and honestly, at that point I was thinking good riddance. (I later had a written report ready on the normal teachers’ desk and there was also another staff member who came and chatted with me for finer details as they were also there but supervising another class further away and didn’t see/hear it all). I do for the record, acknowledge I probably would handle differently if I was a full-timer there, but as I’m (blessedly) a free-agent relief, I didn’t have to worry about my image or consequences long term, and I truly didn’t give an inch and am proud I didn’t back down. He really needs the life lesson of getting beaten up in not just mine but several others including some older students who heard about it in the College grapevine and I heard speaking about in P5 later on… Next up was a science class with Yr 9’s, wow what a storm I walked into there! The normal teacher was great and delivered an excellent lesson from my perspective of 7+ yrs, but the children were again atrocious and couldn’t care less. One girl literally pinched another right under her right breast, directly in front of me and when I told her I saw it, was very disappointed and expected her to apologise, she did, but then her ‘offsider’ (as girls often are in pairs as troublemakers in my experience) tried to intimidate me and bold as you like, said quietly to me right up in my face, “I’d like to see you suck a dick” to which I immediately said, “you would not, I assure you” and she then said, “who are you to tell me what I’d like or not” leaving me in no uncertain terms she meant exactly what she said – quite a damaged young lady sadly – I’ll call her ‘C’ here, now but a little later in the same lesson I got these girls’ names from their victim after yet another assault on her (this time a slap to the face – I kid you not, these children are violent) then wrote up a detailed account, showed it to the other teacher in the room, who then challenged her, she then apologised awkwardly and I accepted it, she thought she’d get detention but the staff member said to me a suspension (which was also intimated would be ‘J’s fate) was more likely. It’s here that I truly feel for the staff at schools like this College, as without strong family guidance and engagement, suspension is truly more like a holiday than anything else, and hardly a fitting punishment. I truly would like to see genuine consequences like being moved to a more difficult to access school or being put in ‘juvenile detention’ being on the cards for repeat offences at schools, these kids are learning all the wrong messages from being temporarily sent home to places presumably (based on my own biased observations of parents/guardians engagement I acknowledge) where they are either ignored or encouraged in rebellious behaviour patterns. The third incident involved an indigenous Yr 7 boy throwing a rubber toy at a fan which nearly hit me in the head, (it’s a soft toy though) and I didn’t report that one as it was relatively minor, but still annoying on top of his penchant for doing zero work or the least he possibly could (I’d had him last Thursday too). In contrast today’s primary age children were generally compliant and I had an enjoyable day coaching in tennis and a simple science experiment comparing salty water to fresh in terms of their effect on plant growth.

Tomorrow I’ve slated for prep on my next video, I think this one will be in solidarity with women and men who experience violence such as sexual assaults or verbal abuse in schools, workplaces or public.

I for one, know that these issues often start very young and I never miss an opportunity to model respect, decency and a particularly Catholic moral fibre which makes me a boon for schools like the College and a problem waiting to happen for students like ‘J’ and ‘C’…

Looking happy because by then I’d been supervising children playing ‘tennis’ for an hour or so with no issues ๐Ÿ™‚
sport ‘bibs’

Published by Honestdadvice

Public profile of Ehrlich Educational

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