Back in the Classroom 2012 – Deadlines and Delights

The pace of my life has increased dramatically since I returned to full time teaching.  My head knows this but the rest of me has not quite caught up.  Now in my thirties and forties I operated at that frantic pace. There was always a sense of urgency in my manor. I walked with a spring in my step and I always had my ducks in a row and made sure that I was ahead.  I know I should get back to that mindset but somehow its just not happening!  My almost sixty self is not even aware when the deadlines are and desire to meet them a week ahead is just not there!   Two weeks ago my Grade Head casually mentioned – “I did half my reports last night.”   “But we’ve only just got back to school,” I replied incredulous.   “They’re due on Monday,” she warned.    Well Monday was six days away.  My thirty year old ex-self went into panic mode but my sixty year old present self refused to get into gear!   These days reports are done online – not by hand in a report book that has to be checked and re-checked before you finally write the final version which once again has to be checked and re-checked and some possibly re-written in ink by hand.   So what was the rush?  I had six days to get it all done and no problem with the checking and re-checking they’d be a cinch to correct.   What I didn’t bargain for was problems getting onto the programme – called “Staffroom” if you don’t mind!   When I finally got it right, it was Thursday.  The nerds and supermen and women were bragging on the dashboard about how many they’d done and who’d completed first.  Mine were finally done by Sunday afternoon – and really;  did it matter that they weren’t all wrapped up well before D-Day?  Not at all but secretly I would have loved to win the race – maybe next time!

My little girls have come up tops.  I am so proud of their progress.  It is so rewarding to see how much they have learned in just one term.   We had a little competition in which every child in the school had to recite a poem, tell a joke or read a story in front of their classmates.  The teachers then chose the best of them to compete against others in the same grade and from those the best four in the grade who competed against the best in the phase – in our case that was the Foundation Phase – Grade 1 to Grade 3.   What a delight to hear each one do their piece with such confidence and weren’t the Grade One teachers proud when one of our boys came up tops when he was chosen by impartial judges to be the best Speaker in our phase:-)   He told a joke with such confidence. He held his audience, stopped to let them laugh and carried on without losing his composure.  What a star!   Each of the finalists was fabulous.  And even those who didn’t go through got the opportunity at least to perform in front of their classmates – such good training for the future.

I was kind of in dream mode at our grade planning meeting last Tuesday.  “We should do something African for our creative lesson,” I heard my grade head say.  “How about patterns in Nature”   “I could do a slide show on animals,” I say “zebra stripe, leopard spots, bird feathers – you know.”   “Fantastic,” she said and then the kids could create animal print designs.”  More discussion went on among my colleagues and it was decided that we would give them an outline of an African pot on which they would create animal print patterns.

What I failed to take in was that this lesson would be open to the public!  This only sank in the next week – yes – We’re having an “Expo Day – a creative explosion”  Oh great – and I would have the whole grade in the big classroom together for the slide show while people wandered in and out scrutinizing what we were doing.  That will teach me for not paying attention!   Well the day arrived, and I wore my zebra stripe braces with a white shirt and black pants, got a most helpful gap student to set up my digital projector and screen and did my little things on why animals have stripes, spots and other patterns.   The pots turned out magnificently and we had streams of people popping in all morning to see what we were doing.  We thought it was great and I hope the visitors did too!

There are more deadlines to meet before the term ends and more importantly more delights to be experienced.  One thing is sure – Life at my school is never boring – even if I haven’t yet caught up with the pace.

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