And at first it’s a disaster! Constant chatting from the class (often known as “low level disruption”) causes some big problems in some very ‘wordy’ lessons. Andrew Motion the former poet laureate really struggled to be heard – he only lasted half a lesson and then decided to call the class off – something that teachers and schools speakers can’t do in real schools. You keep going until the bell goes, that’s one of the skills of teaching, pushing through until you get a breakthrough or at the very least, the bell rings!
Jamie made lots of insightful comments in this episode as the learning deepens for him too…”you have to be like an octopus” was one of my favourites, how right he is. Teaching challenging teens is the ultimate in multi-tasking.
E.g. In one of the Latin classes the young people brought a squabble into the class room with them, always an issue in schools as we don’t know what has just happened outside of class, or at home – only a few weeks ago I was in a school speaking to Year 10 and it just felt “odd” I couldn’t really put my finger on it, it wasn’t an easy day at all. Then later I found out by accident that they were due an imminent OFSTED inspection which they were only expected to ‘scrape through’, as a visitor the staff hadn’t even told me, and their stress was rubbing off on the young people, it was all very tense.
And then anger shows its face again…
“If anyone is rude to me, I’ll be angry” says Harlem the shortest tempered of the teens, she doesn’t realise that being angry and aggressive is a choice she makes! I still find that amazing. We as humans make thousands of choices everyday and getting angry is one of them. Harlem seems to think that once she gets angry then there’s no going back – the red mist rules her life. I really hope she gets some help, or she just won’t ever get a chance to work or even live a normal life 🙁
Then it all gets too much…
…the head teacher John “Dabs” gets really emotional and rightly so – teaching is a tough job, teaching is much more than a job, it’s a life choice, and you could really feel his pain in this episode. It was good to see a teacher cry on TV, it shows the rest of us why they do their job. They want to make a difference.
So, in the light of this, Jamie had a word with them all about the constant talking and disrespect that sent the Headteacher over the edge, and amazingly it seemed to work (!) the lessons got better. Even my least favourite teacher David Starkey seemed to get through to them.
One key to the difference was that the teachers started to have some one to one time with the students and it really paid off. The individual attention had a big impact on their learning. Should our teachers spend more time one to one, rather than in big classes? Challenging stuff.
Then one of the students said “I can’t write with everyone talking”, so maybe peace and quiet is a key to learning too, how do we help our young people focus? I talk about this alot in schools, focus is so important. The research shows that distractions, are, err, well, distractions!! Our young people (and us adults) must learn to switch off their phones, Facebook chat and their music and learn to study in quiet when a task needs doing. It’s not very fashionable to say it, but it works!
Anyway, I’ll leave you with Jamie’s lessons from this week…
“We had our moments, but we had our breakthroughs”
“All the teachers are learning just as much as the students”
I agree Jamie, and this is becoming a great show that everyone should watch.