'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

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Friday, 29 August 2008


Yesterday was a great day.  The sun shone almost all day, and I met a great bunch of new students.

I was not looking forward to it much, as I never know what kind of experience I'll get relieving - the kids are often fed up because their usual teacher is away, and some have a default setting that it should be used as an opportunity to lark around and goof off.  If more than about 3 in a class feel this way the day can be just a drag and babysitting, which I really dislike.  

But I came in bright, confident and breezy.  I showed them I knew a bit about a lot of things they were doing (web design).  Then I did something I've not done before - I told them a bit about me and my own kids. I usually think "well, I'm only here for the day, you probably don't care to want to know me."  It was a good move!  I immediately detected a change in the 'climate' to respect and  a positive attitude.  I was then able to get them going, and to move about the room asking each student to show me what they were working on, and engage them one at a time, something I always find gets them settled and focussed on their learning.

They were 11 and 12 year olds.  At this age a few - especially the girls - can be starting to get an affected air of blasé cynicism which I find the toughest thing to break through.  But a little selective ignoring and working one on one seems to help.  I rarely have any issues with boys - even the naughtiest ones respond to a good joke and my honest interest in them.   

The day seemed to fly by, and I was quite sorry to say goodbye to them at three o'clock.


  1. Looks like you won out that day. Well done! Relief Teacher 1 Kiwi Kiddies 0>

  2. I always said that a troublesome girl is far more difficult to deal with than a troublesome boy. Boys are more straightforward somehow.

  3. I think boys are always easier. I"m glad I only had boys of my own!

    Sounds like a good day. :)