What a day!
I was attempting to read a short story to a class in my Primary School library.
Now, I pride myself on my being able to bring to life any piece of literature. After all, I was given elocution lessons by the wonderful Miss Clements at school as a nine year old in the 1960s. Voice projection, timbre, tone, fluency, expression. I had it all! I never actually won a City of Sydney Eisteddfod, but I was there. On the cusp, surely!
Anyway, every time I started reading to this particular class today, two or three would start talking. Ah, yes! The vocal minority! It was as if my voice set off an automatic lingual response from them. You know, he's reading, ergo we talk. They are experts at pressing a teacher's buttons.
Please bring back the good old days.
I recall quite distinctly the days when I could enter a primary school classroom and the students would stand and greet me politely before sitting down and quietly wait for instructions.
I would briefly review what we'd done together the previous lesson, whether it be Maths or English, and teach the new stuff with lots of explanations and opportunities for questions from students.
Then would come that wonderful time where the kids would work on practice exercises, simply raising their hand when they needed help. I would actually hear the sighs of satisfaction when they'd got it right.
Finally, a smidgeon of homework to practise their new skill before starting all over again the next day!
Parents coming up at the end of term to thank me; buying me fantastic end of year gifts; kids crying when hearing they wouldn't be in my class next year...
I must be dreaming!!!
Thirty-five years on, albeit retrained as a Teacher-Librarian, I find myself in the riot control profession.
"Sit down, please!"
"Don't touch me, please!"
"I don't swear at you; don't swear at me!"
"Yes, you are expected to do this!"
"I'm really disappointed you hate me!"
"Don't run across the tables!"
"Why did you throw that book out the window?"
And it's going to be all downhill from here, because that's just kindergarten!!!
Ah, yes, it is a socio-economically disadvantaged area and many of the people who live here did not have positive school experiences, but surely that's not the point. I'm not asking these kids to come to the Library for a measles injection or to donate blood. I just want them to borrow a couple of books and then listen as I stimulate their imaginations with a short piece of literature - not 'Treasure Island' or 'Tom Sawyer' of course, but something short and tangy like Paul Jennings or Andy Griffiths.
But alas, it is too much for them.
"I hate reading!"
"Are we there, yet?"
Oh, Patron Saint of 'Getting Teachers Out of Teaching', please hear my Prayer.