Sometimes when you are a teacher, you have days that you just know no other profession would have. The last Wednesday of term was just one of those days.
Due to various technical glitches with IT hardware (and, to be brutally honest some reluctance on my part on trying to confront said problems) I found myself in the last week of term chasing my tail to try to get all the children's ICT assessments completed and/or printed off, then annotated and stuck in their assessment books. The one thing I have learnt over the last two years of teaching Infants is that, however mature they may appear to be, they are still only 7 with (for the most part) the associated short attention span. You need to keep 'em busy, or you will have a riot.
Add a slightly reluctant 15 year old work experience student who doesn't want to spend 10 days in a primary school, that you need to find jobs for, and the chance of a bit of peace and quiet to go through the children's assessments with them is likely to disappear up the Swanee.
Anyway, I digress.
That morning, we had started on our last major writing task of the year - a story about a character who was going to cause problems in some way or another. The previous day's lesson had had the children writing some lovely excerpts, with crackling dialogue and interesting sentence structures, the whole works. Apart, of course from my reluctant writer. But never mind. If I could at least get him to discuss some ideas for his story and I jotted them down, we'd have something to start from for the next session. Cue the brief outline of how two Lego robots didn't like each other, but then one had had to rebuild the other and they ended up liking each other. Not really fitting the scope of the story, but I didn't care, it was an idea.
So come Wednesday's lesson, the children were raring to go with, for the most part, ideas spilling forth. Apart from Mr Reluctant.
"What are you going to write to start your story?"
"I have no idea."
"Well, you said this robot didn't like that robot, but then he got broken and he had to be rebuilt, so they ended up getting along"
A grunt of assent.
"So how will you start your story?"
"I have no idea."
This has been the refrain all year. His writing target is to write two sentences without an adult sat next to him. Didn't look like we were going to do it today, either.
After a protracted battle of persuasion, he wrote a sentence about a completely different character. Go figure. It took the best part of the morning. Throughout it all he sighed and huffed, complaining of one ailment after another, which I parried with comments such as "N. has a headache and she's getting on with her work...", "F. has a stomach ache and he's doing his writing..." and so on. Sometimes, I am exhausted by continually smiling and not responding the way he would like.
When we got to handwriting after lunch, he slumped across his book, fixed me with a baleful stare and complained again about a stomach ache. I jollied him along with the promise of yoghurt pot telephones later in the afternoon. Needless to say, the others were nearly weeing themselves with excitement over this event and it left him totally cold. When the time came, it was his turn to go onto the PC to complete an ICT assessment, so he was pleased to avoid the whole yoghurt pot thing. Secretly, I too breathed a sigh of relief, since the only child he is prepared to work with had gone to the dentist. Does that make me a bad person?
The children gathered on the carpet in excitement, the work experience student was out of the classroom moving resources between cupboards for me and Mr Reluctant was on the PC. We tried out Mrs F.'s yoghurt pot telephone that her class had made for their assembly, but were very disappointed since it didn't work. Oh no! Right, time to reach for the Balamory annual from the book basket, and consult Archie's instructions. As I came back the the carpet, flicking through the annual, Mr Reluctant stood up and announced "I feel sick". My response to this was, as always, "If you're going to be sick, don't just stand there, GO!" Unfortunately, because of the the way my classroom is set up due a filthy great pillar stuck in the middle of it, he had to cross through the children on the carpet to get to the door. The children obligingly moved to make a path, but his spacial awareness is about as good as mine, so he couldn't easily get through. He made it to the door just as Mrs D, the classroom assistant got to the other side. He opened it, she said "Oh thank you, Mr Reluctant, how nice of you to open the door for me," and he vomited spectacularly in the doorway.
Have you ever seen The Exorcist?
Mrs D promptly took him to the boys' toilets, and I went to hold the classroom door and field off the children who were all kneeling up, meerkat-like, to see the extent of the splatter.
Believe me, that boy has range.
Mrs D came back to get his PE kit as the two children who had been on an errand outside the classroom looked at the mess in the doorway and wondered how to get back in. "It's okay boys," I said, pointing to a narrow section of clean carpet "if I hold the door open, you should be able to step round it that way. " Because my hands were full of the resources Mrs D had been bringing into the classroom at the time, I pushed the door back with my butt and lent full against it.
I'd been there about 10 seconds before I realised there was a seeping feeling around my derriere. What the...?
I told you that boy had range.
"Um, Mrs D, do you have any tissues...?"
The best part was, as I tried to reach round to assess the extent of the damp patch, one of the most delightful children I have ever taught, G (a very young Harry Potter lookalike) piped up in all innocence "Shall I help you wipe your trousers, Mrs Xxxx?"
I did manage to keep a straight face as I thanked him and politely declined...
Soundtrack: Lost Weekend - Lloyd Cole and the Commotions; Single Girl - Lush; Anchorage - Michelle Shocked; Chronic Town - REM; One and One - Robert Miles; I Don't Want A Lover - Texas; King and Country - Seth Lakeman; That's Entertainment - The Jam; In These Shoes? - Kirsty MacColl; The Colours - The Men They Couldn't Hang; The Hurting - Tears For Fears; Bad - U2;