Over the last two days, I have found myself in the interesting position of covering lessons for other teachers. Yesterday, I had to give a Drama Lesson, which wasn’t too bad as the kids were pretty much able to work out what to do for themselves. Today’s experience though was very different.
Cover work should consist of me entering a classroom carrying some worksheets prepared by the absent teacher. I then give these out to the kids and spend the rest of the time managing behaviour and ensuring that they are getting on with the tasks therein.
However, the teacher I was covering today had different ideas. He decided that anyone who took his lesson would actually teach his subject. So I found myself teaching a maths lesson, despite the fact that if I said I was poor at maths, I’d be seriously exaggerating. I positively stink at maths.
I found myself standing in front of a class having to teach Pythagoras’s Theorum, despite the fact that I haven’t looked at it since the mid 1980’s…and only then under considerable duress. I bet you’re a maths whiz aren’t you and you’re mouthing “Pythogoras’s Theorum? Why it’s child’s play!”
Well, here’s a little clue, I don’t think it is. In fact, I couldn’t even remember how it worked. Give me a spreadsheet, database, even HTML and I’m smiling. Give me the Theorum and severe nausea sets in. The kids weren’t the brightest, I’ll grant you but they knew more than I did and I can’t remember the last time I‘ve felt so humiliated.
I muddled through the lesson, managed to prove that I knew some more maths than they did (when I showed one student how to multiply two decimals) and felt deep antipathy towards the very genial teacher who caused me to be stuck me in front of a maths class teaching his subject. I know that I would never do the same to someone else but have the awful feeling that by the time I reach next September, I will probably have given lessons in every subject under the sun – whether or not I have a clue about what I’m teaching the poor kids in those classes.
I guess this means that I’m finally a “real” teacher.