You might have guessed from the last post that I am teaching teens now. No more primary schools. Just lovely teens. I like teens, they can sit at tables and hold pencils and find page numbers without help (mostly).
NB. I like teens in groups smaller than 4. Teens in herd mentality send shivers down my spine. A classroom full of 13 year olds takes me back to being thirteen myself and I seem to recall that it was a cruel age - remember I have to pretend that I can't understand what they are saying about me! Last week I fairly quickly sussed out that they had placed me in the category of "authority figure." I went home fervently hoping that I hadn't been placed in either of the subsections of "supply teacher" or "new teacher."
I came back the next week with the toughest attitude I could muster and spent the lesson being very assertive and mostly calm. The effort of remaining calm did give me bright red cheeks though so I was worried they weren't really falling for it.
When I came out my new colleague saw my flushed face and she burst out laughing and gave me the sympathy speech that new teachers get; the kids-are-just-worse-and-worse-these-days, the I-blame-the-parents-for not-teaching-them-how-to-behave one. This is perceived wisdom. But are they? From stories of my parents time at school I'm pretty sure that's not the whole picture.
Let's face it it's just a horrible age and none of us were delightful, cooperative, cheerful and stable. It's a case of collective amnesia. In three/four years time they'll be fairly pleasant again.
So anyway, I was starting to think that it would be OK and I could get them to respect me. We all put on some kind of professional persona at work and that's fine. (As long as it stays at work. A. keeps unnerving me lately by dropping phrases at the dinner table like, "Would you care to share your thoughts on the issue of the pear chutney?" and "Let's not allow ourselves to get sidetracked").
But then my boss spoke to one mother and the mother wasn't happy. The new teacher is too strict. Yes of course said my boss, it is the first lesson. "No, no," complained the mother, my son is used to strict teachers. She is way too harsh."
What's the expression? There isn't one. I was just a bit speechless.
1) I am scarier than I thought.
2) Mothers and their sons. We are in Italy after all.
As a result of all of this effort I have been inundated with teaching dreams. They are so boring and generally revolve around nightmarish students making me wake up feeling stressed. Last night though I had the dream that was probably a combination of all the dreams I should have been having last week rolled into one. It had everything: bears, lightening, making desserts with witches, hoards of cats and tower blocks. Even Freud wouldn't want to psychoanalyse a dream that complex. Made a nice change. I'd choose being chased by bears over being chased by teens any day.