Monday, March 17, 2008


I find taking extras an interesting situation. I am sitting in a year 8 class right now. I don’t know any of them by name only by sight. It is an Art Class and there has been no real work left for them to do. I have them in the second period of a double. They are a little restless and I am quite grateful that they are taking the time to converse about what happened over the weekend. The only thing that I have put my foot down about is the aimless wandering of a few girls…. well it isn’t aimless. They have a mission – to spread gossip. Had to stop that. I went to an all girls’ school and I know how bitchy girls can get left to their own devices.

Actually I should quote what the sheet said. “Continue on from Period 1”. Usually ok but they had nothing to do during period 1 so I have come in to some mischief making. This will entertain me. I just roamed the room and the kids are very silly! Could be the hot weather, could be boredom. It is really hard to work out totally; there is no one answer. Then the pack mentality sets in and they nudge one another along down the road of silliness. My role in all of this is to just dampen the fun occasionally.

One boy has been demonstrating ‘magic’ tricks. He can make his ruler fall over without touching it. He is judging the speed of wind moving from the fans above. (Didn’t mean to break the magicians code of silence.) His mates are laughing and he is pretending that he believes in what he is doing.

I started my teaching career taking extras. I was employed as an emergency teacher. I would get a phone call at 7.30 in the morning and was asked “can you work today?”. If no, I would stumble back to bed, yes meant quickly getting dressed and eating and being out the door within 20 minutes. You never knew what you were going to get. Generally I got 6 periods on (the maximum number of classes in a day) and a yard duty.

My first class as a fresh faced graduate music teacher was a science class with year 9s. I had the delight of introducing the human reproductive system! Yay me! I looked over the material as I wandered into the room, took the roll (marking where they all sat – Thanks to mum for that hint!) and then we began. I introduced the topic, handed out the material and a boy raised his hand. When I acknowledged him he asked if there was a practical component to the class and would I be taking it. I took a deep breath and said no to both and that we should move on with the work set. Unfortunately the tone had been set and questions were being thrown around the room willy nilly.

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