Words of Wisdom

Youth is wasted on the young.

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

It's Here.......Thanks Mum!!!!!

Oooo-er, very cool eh? My Mum bought me this in Ireland after a recent trip. It arrived today. I think I'll get some wear out of it for sure. Just perfect for this chilly weather we're having. Thanks Mum!!!!!!! The BA loved her card too. :-)

Took our big, bad tempered cat to the vet today to make sure there was nothing more wrong with him than a bad case of stress and resentment of local feral cat interlopers. There wasn't. We've been given a spray to spray around the areas of the house where he normally lurks. It's supposed to calm him down. We shall see. Lately he's been hissing if you so much as look at him :-( Himself calls him The Anti-Pet.

The last few days of term are bearing down upon us. Year 10 exams have started and year 8 and 9's start on Thursday. I hate this 'revision' period. The lower ability groups have no interest in exams and no desire to revise or take any of it seriously so it turns into a recipe for challenging behaviour. The theory behind exams 'right down the grade levels' hinges on the idea that it gets them into practice for when exams really matter (year 11 and 12). The Boss gave a talk on revision practices in assembly on Monday and pointed out to the kids that efficient revision does not simply involve reading your notes through.

This is a big issue.

Do any of us remember being taught revision techiques explicity in school? I do hope it happens. My revision used to consist of retyping my lecture notes and doing old exam papers, although never for English; I just used to rely on pretty good stream of consciousness for English :-)
What about you older folk? Did anyone teach you how to revise for exams or was it just hit and miss?

One of the girls in my Care Group today told me that she had 'revised' by doing an old exam. "How did you go?" I asked. "Notsure," was her response,"I didn't finish it!" Had she got it 'correct this far', I enquired. She didn't know. She hadn't marked it and she hadn't attempted the bits she didn't know.


The Nanny State strikes again. They will not 'try to find an answer' because they believe the only way you can get support is by 'asking a teacher'. So much for independence. Lord help them on the day that there is no teacher or alternate adult standing around to answer their questions.

In other excitement, I was working up for my next career as a security guard again last Friday.

One of our young lads, with Aspergers, flew through the door of my classroom and launched himself at another pupil, putting him an incredibly effective headlock as I discovered when I tried to prise the two of them apart. The other pupil, realising I was not going to get him out of this predicament imminently, squirmed around in the other guy's arms and started laying into him in no uncertain terms! Somehow, and I don't know if I can claim credit for it, they separated and as I was sending the 'victim' to the other side of the room out of the way, the first boy spotted a 4 foot long penshelf from the whiteboard, dislodged in the scuffle, lying on the floor. Before you could say 'Bedevere's your uncle', he had scooped it up and proceeded to charge across the room wielding it, lance like, at the other pupil!!! I don't know what he would have done if I hadn't leaped on him but suffice to say a number of students scattered wildly as he approached.

I ended up cuddling him from behind and pinning his arms while I tried to encourage him to calm down. When I eventually let him go he gathered up his things and allowed me to shepherd him down to the Office. It took some time afterwards to debrief the class which I think we did successfully. There were some interesting comments amongst the predictable lack of empathy from many teenagers.

When a specific group of pupils complained that this lad shouldn't be in the school because he was 'unpredicatble' and could hurt people, another, gorgeous young kid spoke up. He has a non-English speaking background and with his 'practical' grasp of English announced to the class
"But he only attacks people who 'piss him off'." Out of the mouths of babes.

The 'specific group' who were complaining were the ones who deliberately wind this kid up, waiting for a reaction. Well, they certainly got it that day. I am happy to report that the 'victim' who of course turned out to be the perpetrator (he'd thrown something belonging to the Asperger's boy onto the top of a high locker) was also suspended until this morning.

But sheesh. I'm not sure I signed up for this gig. My next professional development course had better be assault response training!!

Best go and write an exam. Why not?


Elisa said...

Wow - you had some excitement in the class!!

I love the simple explanation that he only attacks those who piss him off. I'm sure a lot of us are like that. lol

Took me awhile to realize that "revise" means study...the things I am learning from your blog! :)
For some students in our high school - those who have had difficulty in middle school - take a class whose name varies from Note Taking to Study Skills. The students are taught to outline when taking notes and other skills that mostly teach them how to organize their material so it is in some usable form after class. Don't know that anyone actually teaches them how to study. Interesting thoughts....I'll be mulling this one over today....

Amy Jo said...

Thank the lord for people like you. God knows I would never have the amount of patience required to be a teacher. Everyone has their own place in the universe, I guess!

natalie said...

Don't you teach at a private, Christian school????

That sounded straight out of the halls of the public high schools in my community.

At least you have that charming new sweater (do you call it that?) from Ireland, so you can wrap yourself in your mother's love!

Can I come visit you?

Arizaphale said...

Elisa: We have had 'Study Skills' classes from time to time but they are only scratching the surface I find.

AmyJo: I am fast running out of patience. Ask my colleagues.

Natalie: Yes it is private and Christian but this does not seem to make much difference. Mind you Asperger's kids are different and everywhere.
You wanna come visit? Lovely!! :-)

Stacy said...

Well, first off you look lovely in the shrug/sweater?? (not sure what it is called) that your mom got you. Very nice gift!

Secondly, wow, you had an eventful school day! Love how the instigators wanted to put him out of the school. They usually are the ones that need to go to the office! Hope everything was sorted out alright.

As to the revising (aka study here ;) ), I don't remember specifically being taught to study. There was a little bit but not a ton. We did it, though! You have so much patience with these kids...I don't know how you do it.

Oh, and about Anya's song on a rock...she was making it up as she went along. It was pretty cute!

Maggie said...

I'm with amy jo -- the fuse on my patience is WAY shorter than yours.

Jill/Twipply Skwood said...

Another reason to teach preschool - the kids are always smaller than me! :-) Glad you all made it out in one piece. It's always surprising to me that even in preschool, things that look cut and dry normally have a story behind them. Sometimes you can't get the straight story and sometimes the story doesn't matter (like when I told a little boy last year, "No matter WHAT she said, you still can't hit her over the head with your lunch box!") but it always surprises me how even if you THINK you saw the entire thing with your own eyes and one person is totally guilty, there's always more to it.

I hope the spray has been working - very funny on the anti-pet!

I think by revision for exams, you mean studying for exams? If that's it then no, I don't think they taught us to study when I was in school. Then again, I went to Montessori up until I was 8 and we didn't have any tests to study for. After that I was in Arkansas public schools for three years. They were second worst in the US at that time and one of my teachers actually slept in class and allowed students to sleep in class. There were really no lessons on anything there. Probably by the time I was 12 and in school in Vermont, they expected that we already knew how to study. I just figured it out for myself.

These days my kids come home with all these "test taking strategies", stuff I wished I knew at their age. But I turned out to test well anyway I guess.

Jill/Twipply Skwood said...

Oh yeah and pretty sweater/poncho!

carrie said...

Man - it is always something at your school! I guess it keeps you (young?) on your toes??

LOVE the sweater - nice work, Mum!