Some Things Are More Important

Well that’s placement done for a few weeks now. I’ll admit, I’ll miss the school I was placed in. I enjoyed it so much. All the staff were so helpful and encouraging so I made sure to thank them for that. 

I started the week in with a younger class as the teachers wanted me to experience the younger stages as they knew that my next placement is with a P1 class. Monday and Tuesday was spent with a younger group and it is certainly a far different environment than the one I had experienced for the last few weeks. It will certainly be an interesting challenge. If there are any teachers reading this who work with younger stages, I may need some help when I start my placement! 

Thursday and Friday were challenging in a positive way. The class teacher came in Thursday morning but was feeling ill so I offered to take them for the day. The class teacher was delighted I had offered and I was happy to do it. It was strange to begin with. I had come in thinking I was observing so I had only a few minutes to prepare to teach. It was great to see the class came in as normal and didn’t see it as a relaxing day because their class teacher was off. “Mr. _______ are you teaching us today?” was the only question posed! The head teacher came in and asked if I’d like for them to come in every so often to see how I was getting on. I said I was happy for them to call in but that I was fine with taking the class and I had no fears that the group would run amok. 

Thursday was the day the class were due to go down to the lower stages and teach them science so I had to assist them all to get ready for that. Thankfully that went off very successfully but I was very amused to see them all so quiet when we returned to the class with about half an hour left in the day. I asked them to put their hands up if they felt either stressed, exhausted or frustrated. Everyone put their hand up so I asked them what they found stressful, exhausting or frustrating. Here are a sample of the answers I got –

“We had to prepare so much for that hour”

“We didn’t have enough resources”

Student A -“They wouldn’t listen, it was so unfair”

Student B – “Ya, we worked really hard for them and they were just messing about”

Naturally, I found this fantastic. When everyone had vented their spleens, I said to them

“If you found that last hour frustrating, imagine how your class teacher feels when they are preparing lessons and resources for you to learn throughout the whole day AND some people then interrupt them or don’t listen because they are too busy messing!”

Silence. I’m not sure if the message sank in fully but I can tell you that Friday was probably the best I had seen them behaved. Even in music, a class they get a specialist teaching them but they traditionally spend messing, they listened intently, engaged, and ignored the pupils misbehaving from the other class. If that message DID sink in then I’d like to think it will be a very valuable lesson for them!

Leaving the school Friday was bittersweet. As I’ve said, I will miss the place and the people I was learning from. However, I leave that school with my head held high and proud of myself for working diligently and learning a lot.

I am very close to finishing my second version of my essay so I should have that done now soon. I’ll probably have to turn off the music I am playing at the minute. I don’t think I’ll concentrate sufficiently on the essay nor will the neighbours appreciate me too much  if I am singing/screeching Joe Dolan songs at the top of my lungs – “OH ME, OH MY YOU MAKE ME SIGH, YOU’RE SUCH A GOOD LOOKING WOOOMAN”.

Finally, I took a call from a friend during the week. As you do, I asked “How are you?”. They said they were fine but they didn’t convince me so I asked were they sure. The person burst in to tears and told me they weren’t in a great place. We chatted for well over an hour and I don’t think they ever really stopped crying until the last 15 minutes or so of the call. This friend admitted a lot of fears and stresses they’ve felt for the last few months and at one stage criticised themselves for being weak and admitting these things to me. I told this person, and I’d say the same thing to anyone – bottling up fears, stresses and problems is too easy to do. Talking about them is a sign of strength. It reminded me of Tony Soprano in his psychiatrist’s office ironically asking – “What ever happened to Gary Cooper…the strong silent type?”. Why should silence be a preferred option? It shouldn’t. Ever. My friend and I talked about ways to properly address the stresses and fears they had bottled up but they agreed that they already felt better for sharing how they felt with me. A problem shared is a problem halved. My friend reads this blog every week (thank you for that) but I want to tell you that I am so proud of you for making the decision to share your problems with me. To everyone else – if ever you are feeling low – talk to someone. If you know me then you would know how to contact me and I’d be happy to chat any time of day. Some things are more important.

 If I don’t know you then I’d still be happy to talk to you. I’ve just set up an email address for the blog – spellingitoutblog.gmail.com – this is set up so I’ll receive these emails to my phone. I may not ever receive an email to it but if I do, I’ll reply. 

Anyways, I’d say it’s about time to turn off Joe Dolan before I do harm to the neighbours’ ears. This essay would want to get done too.

Right so lads. G’luck!

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