I made this site for the biology club I started at my school, to help the year 12s and 13s. It’s fair (actually quite generous) to say both the club and the site have had a mixed reception amongst the students. Not many people come to the club, and despite me e-mailing them many times, most have said the website is good, but they don’t actually use it.
Anyway, I will never be George Orwell…
I don’t want to fight in a war and I don’t want to live poor
I don’t want to feel hunger, I don’t want to suffer at all
But I want to tell stories and I want to tell them well
I want to shape the future and I’d like my work to sell.
The noble causes I believe in and the changes I want to see
I fear will all be doomed and will ever haunt me.
So, like George, I want dearly to warn the world
of what could happen if
The power of man’s goodness
is a wasted gift,
And if our carelessness and ignorance
and cruelty does reign,
How frightful our lives will be;
How foolishly insane
It would be to allow the loss
Of what was so hard to gain.
Anyway, I will never be George Orwell;
I will play only a minor role, a non-speaking part,
But every day I can, my small stories I will tell.
I’ve never taught a lesson in a school, but I’ve been close to teaching, good and bad, a heck of a lot. These are 5 things I think I should remember for when I do start teaching a class (as a student teacher next year, fingers crossed)…
Establish yourself. Experiencing lessons with supply teachers has best reinforced this with me. In 5 minutes, I’ve seen supply teachers establish control over classes that some regular teachers don’t achieve for a term or more. They make the boundaries clear, and keep it simple: the kids do not hold any power. An RE teacher at my school who I admire also exemplifies this. She told them straight, in their first lesson: ‘I’m strict, but I’m fair.’ Once you’ve achieved some level of quiet and attention, then you can win them over to your side, and demonstrate that your dictatorship (which is part of a system you can’t be blamed for) is benign.
Expect the best, prepare for the worst. A good rule of thumb when working with kids is you will get the behaviour you expect. If they know you expect them to be disruptive, that’s a bad start. Likewise if you expect them to be slow. You must beware of demonising or patronising any kid. You’ve got to be prepared for things to go wrong, because any teaching strategy has some risk. The first few weeks, detentions should be fairly regular. It might not be easy to give them (especially to the young ones with the cute faces) but once they get the message that your class is one of the ones they have to be good in, you’ll face fewer battles.
Show yourself. The same teacher, who I believe is very wise, also related this to me, although I had an inkling already. You have to be honest with the kids; when they see that you’re talking from your heart and you really care, they respect that. You don’t want to be a rubber teacher, who ticks all the right boxes and gets all the right results, but who the kids don’t respect. The exams aren’t the only outcome and they aren’t the most important outcome just because they can be easily measured. Learning is much wider and more significant than that.
Innovate and vary things. If you’re never excited about how you’re going to do your lesson, enthusiasm’s going to be a lot harder to convey. If you’re using everything in your power to get the topics across in a multitude of different ways, then you’ll find the time more interesting and so will your class.
Don’t believe the myth of your own greatness. A friend of mine at my school, a great French teacher, said it best: ‘You might think you are a great teacher, but there is always one kid in the corner, who your forgetting, who doesn’t get it, who’s left behind. So you can’t ever say you’re doing enough.’
from my abortive other blog teachingathome:
In cows, male/female twins most often form a shared blood supply whilst in the uterus, leading to the female becoming an infertile animal with intersex features, called a freemartin. This is due to the effect of hormones secreted from the male called androgens, primarily testosterone.
Long before the science behind the process was uncovered, some people once believed this effect also occured in human male/female twins. In fact the fusion of blood supply (forming a single chorion- the structure beneath the foetuses in the above picture) between male-female twins is extremely rare in humans, although it is sometimes seen in pigs and sheep.
This helicopter doesn’t that close to me in this pic (due to the wide-angle lens) but really it was flying very low over the river a few months ago at dusk. The noise was immense and I could feel the wash from the rotors. This is the type of helicopter it was…
Also, in case you forgot Hammersmith Bridge is beautiful.
An afternoon in the pub, at 25 times the speed.
That’s my eye, abusing those photo editing apps again. I think there are places in London where ish like this could sell for £300. But I don’t go to those places.
I wrote this ‘Animal Riddle’ poem when I was ten
It has a smooth shape.
His eyes black,
Proud grinning look,
Ready to catch at any moment.
It’s beak sharp, big and lethal
Ready to eat at any moment.
Waiting, never feeling bored
Ready to burst out
At any moment,
Annoyed he flies swiftly to a peaceful tree
His call drowns out the sound,
He spots his prey, a small bird
Like a rocket he attacks.
Talons grasp flesh
his prey is hung
On a hawthorn tree and left.
The killer just waiting for more prey.
It’s about this kind of bird, a shrike:
Yeah I know right? WTF is that B-r r-r-r-r-r-r part?
Well I think it was supposed to be the sound of a chainsaw.
Can you guess how this was made?