Wednesday 16 October 2013

Scenes from the classroom #2

I have a small Y7 class this year. Two, actually, and one larger one, but it's the smallest one I had an event with last week.

We've been looking at significant journeys in history, and this lesson was about the journey of the Black Death to England and its impact. Of course, this involved talking about the symptoms of the Black Death and so on. And there's something special that happens with Y7 classes: they ALL have something to say. It begins slowly - I explain what a bubo was and what it might have felt like, so child 1 has to tell me about the time he had a spot on his arm and it burst, and then child 2 talks about their massive sponsored walk blister and how it ended up bleeding, and then child 3 has a story about bleeding.

This is a curious Y7 thing. In the past, this sort of lesson derailing has taken up a good 45 minutes of the hour. They are so keen to share their story, not even recognising that they are becoming more irrelevant, that I haven't the heart to cut them off. There's something very innocent about it. It's not like when Y9 do it and it's totally obvious they're trying to waste some time. I think I should have a conversation about it with a primary teacher at some point and find out if it's rooted in some sort of class activity in a previous phase.

Anyway. We got through children 1-7 and then child 8 told a long and quite graphic story about how, when she'd been 9, her finger had got caught in a cinema seat and had been hanging off, and they'd had to stitch it back on and then she'd had to go to court and had some money coming to her when she was 18.

Child 9 put his hand up. "What film was it you were seeing?" he wanted to know.

As I moved to cut this question off (it seems I do have limits), child 10 keeled slowly and calmly backwards off of his chair, landing on the floor and twitching. It was possibly the scariest moment of my career. Luckily he came to quite quickly; "Let's all talk about FLOWERS!" I called, with enforced jollyness, while we waited for the First Aider.

Fourteen children suddenly had a new story to tell.

Child 10 felt a lot better when first aid gave him some chocolate, and didn't even want to go home. I intend to adjust my scheme of work next year and avoid that lesson.

No comments: