Pfft. Bring it on.

Indeed, the flurry of worry was what I needed and I’ve focussed on what more I need to do, and the inspection can come along next week and I’ll be fine.  I’ve noted down what I still need to check on and will have a meeting with the head on Friday and quiz him, and also give him some robust encouragement.  I’m feeling okay.

The cup and saucer that the Sage and I both liked best went for a startlingly high sum.  The Sage bid well, but wasn’t going to pay £3,000 (plus commission and VAT on that, blimey, I make that £3,720!!!!!) for a 230-year-old cup and saucer – assuming that he wasn’t outbid at that.  He bid up to two and a half, he says. He bought a lustre jug, which we both liked, and a couple of late Lowestoft teabowls, or maybe a bowl and a coffee cup, can’t remember, both of which he has a saucer to match up with.  So, not what we’d have liked but he hasn’t spent a lot and isn’t empty handed.  He’ll be back in an hour or so … which reminds me, roast potatoes into the oven in a few minutes.

After our meeting with some Local Authority people, the Head asked if I’d be free to join him in a mock interview with a PGCE student who has an interview the day after tomorrow for her first job as a teacher.  As we discussed what to ask her – really tricky questions, we tried to cover all the bases – I reminded him of a question I’d asked him, as a supplementary in his final interview, when he was appointed.  “You still remember it, evidently it mattered,” he said resignedly.  “You didn’t quite get me either, I let you get away with it,” I said.  I had to remind him.  Ahem.

Okay.  So, this was, more or less, the question, and I’d only have asked it of someone I was seriously considering giving the job to.  It was at the final, no holds barred interview and I only asked it of him.  “If you had a clever, quiet, student, disengaged, who did the work but you didn’t feel you were really getting through to him/her, what would you do to engage him/her in all that the school had to offer?”

The best answer will win a prize if it’s worth it.  In fact, I’ve finally, and largely due to Diana’s interview this afternoon (she was really good and I hope she gets the job she wants) worked myself into the mind of the young Z.

14 comments on “Pfft. Bring it on.

  1. How do we know

    you know, i m not sure if all students need to be engaged. Some kids are just better at absorbing at their own pace. Being there and yet not being there. Detached is sometimes a good state of mind.

    But if, in this case, we needed to engage the student, i would choose a day in early fall for a longish walk, and talk.. about the things that matter to this young person, about his/er aspirations, secret hopes, and see where the school has something that matches. If the school has nothing, and if the child could still benefit from a little different perspective… maybe i would push him/her into more group activities that are fun, and let the peers do what the seniors can never do half as well – give the child a different perspective. Then leave it at that.

  2. Blue Witch

    Well, I’d want to find out what other members of staff thought/did, and see if the student behaved the same in all lessons/with all teaching approaches (and also ask support staff like TAs for their observations).

    I’d work out which member of staff had the best relationship with the student, and use them as a conduit to explore the issues (in an informal way).

    I’d be aiming to get the student to feel more in control of their own learning/future.

    I’d want to know a lot more about the student (home background, primary schooling, interests etc).

    Perhaps I’d get them to ‘mentor’ a younger disaffected pupil as part of a targeted intervention – or to pass on skills eg sports or drama or gardening to younger pupils (see research on peer tutoring for the values and unexpected spin-off benefits of this).

    Do I get the job? Or am I totally missing what you were looking for? 😉

  3. martina

    I’d meet with the student in a relaxed setting, say the library or maybe the cafeteria when other students aren’t about. Ask what they want to get out of their classes. Are there any areas of study that they think the teacher could improve upon. Any areas of interest related to the class that they wish to expand upon. You expressing an interest in this student’s life/studies without criticism will mean a lot.

  4. Christopher

    No pastoral structure? Assuming that some teacher (class, register, house, year, etc.) has some kind of responsibility for this sort of thing (which isn’t all that uncommon), aren’t parents first point of contact? And then maybe a school’s extra-curricular activities can be invoked? It can often happen that involvement in, say, a play brings out facets of a character hitherto hidden. An acting part however tiny sometimes provides a mask behind which to hide, or being part of a backstage team encourages engagement without the sometimes totally off-putting requirement to perform in public.

    Responsibility sometimes helps, too, e.g. looking after something in the library, lost property, looking after school garden/hens/stick insects, whatever. Assistant to school nurse, cricket team scorer, ‘official’ photographer, ‘Captain’s Doggy’, Stevenson’s screen monitor, etc., etc.
    I must stop or I’ll be here all day. But as How Do We Know says some kids flourish best when left to their own devices.

  5. Z

    I think you’ve all got it to an extent. HDWK’s prize is some English chocolate (which all my Indian friends want taken when I visit), BW’s is an array of Norfolk cheeses (there’s a really good hard blue goat cheese that I think she’d enjoy), Martina gets a gift of home-grown vegetables, Dave takes the biscuit for the lad I might have hung out with, although we wouldn’t have talked to each other of course, and Chris gets a jam roly-poly. With custard.

  6. Blue Witch

    Reading the last para again (on a different computer, with a different screen resolution, which didn’t split the ‘young’ from the ‘Z’), I’ve just developed a suspicion that Z was, in fact, asking us to psychoanalyse her own response to school…

  7. Z

    I might have been in one sense, but that doesn’t really describe me, actually. More painfully shy than disengaged. I didn’t know how to join in, but I did have friends. I must have been quite difficult to teach, though, because I never spoke unless I had to.

  8. Z

    I can give the parts of the answers I thought might have appealed, but to analyse the young Z might take some doing from this distance. I’m not sure if I’d be able to think back how it was to be me at that time and I’d put an interpretation on it which might be right or wrong.

  9. Mike and Ann

    And going back to your auction results- the ideal (for me) is buying one piece I want to keep (or at the least take home and play with) and three run of the mill bits with a decent (and quick) profit in them.
    Bonham’s is my favourite auction room, I think, these days. Wasn’t it a surprise when it took over Phillips?
    Or possibly the South Ken Christies – favourite that is.


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