Friday, 23 November 2007

Anti Bullying Week.

Glen (my little brother) asked me to help him with his homework tonight. Into his 2nd year at the academy, he had been given two worksheets on Anti Bullying Week for PSE and was stuck with the question:

"If you were given a million pounds, how would you use it to diminish bullying in your school?"

It wasn't just because he didn't know what 'diminish' meant or that he couldn't be bothered to answer it himself, but because he didn't really see how money could help stop bullying in our school. To be honest I had to think about it for a moment too, before we started talking about what he thought the school should do to stop bullying- with or without the million pounds.

Glen has learning difficulties due to him having epilepsy when he was a toddler which means he doesn't really understand things as instantly as what you and I would. (You've just got to explain things to him in a way he'll understand better which, apparently I can do well seeing as I've spent most of my time with him) So, his thoughts on the subject were firstly that they should take all those classed as bullies out of schools and either shoot them, or "wheck them all on a desert island." Maybe a bit too harsh Glen I said, and encouraged him away from the violent, extremist actions. Quickly.

About ten minutes into listening to him and talking with him, it soon became clear he'd been paying attention in class and had made up his own mind about what schools could do if encouraged to stop bullying, which is great. He suggested that schools make seniors into buddies to help kids who were being bullied, and bullies could take part in workshops that would make them see how wrong it was- with use of the million pounds. The fact that Glen knew what could be done meant that teaching kids through Anti Bullying Week was actually successful in raising awareness for the cause.

We both agree that bullying is a horrible thing and that its about time teachers in schools were given back the discipline and respect they had once upon a time to deal with bullies accordingly. Maybe not as severe as shooting them on desert islands but enough to prevent as much bullying in schools as possible.

I left him to write up his own answers earlier and he's just given me the sheets to check over. Halfway down one page lies the question: "Have you ever been bullied in school?" to which he has scribbled underneath, "No, my sister does enough to me at home. ;)"

Siblings. You just cant win.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Children In Need 07.

Today was Children In Need, something that comes round the same time every year. To be honest, the day was alright; or to put it another way -things could've been worse. Events included Staff V Pupils football, Bake Sales, Face Painting, Alternative Miss World, Stranraer Academy's Got Talent (don't laugh..) and a non-uniform day. Major frivolity all round, and for a good cause too.

Something that overshadowed the day for me -but also made me smile a little- was the enormous sense of time I suddenly became aware of. Everything that was going on tripped me up and took me back a year to CIN 06. I can remember everything that happened that day and it just shocked me at how quickly a year can go and what changes it can bring. Also the fact that something is always changing, nothing stays the same for long these days.

If someone had said to me back in 4th year that a year later my Art, English, Physics, CDT, PE, Computing and German teachers would all be long gone, I'd probably have laughed. But with time brings change, and change.. well its just something I've got to embrace. Even though I dislike it.

So, I've spent most of the day with my thoughts in the past, remembering all of this made me think of how many changes the school has undergone in the last 365 days. For instance: Last year, Mr Kitson won The X Factor. He was an English teacher who played the guitar well, and who often misplaced his two front teeth. The face of the English Dept changed dramatically after he left. This year, a Mrs Foreman won it. She's the newest edition to the Home Economics teachers, and she's from Jamaica.

Most all of the teachers were missing from the line up of last years concert, and most of this years I didn't know.

Strange that.

This years wasn't as good.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Parents Evening...

Ah, those two words that strike fear into every school pupils mind. It was mine tonight. I must admit, I was feeling a bit apprehensive with tonight's round of appointments as over the past few weeks I've felt my attention span wane and my focus go to pot. But as the evening progressed, the comments remained the same as they have done for the past 5 years, as did my views on them. Summarized, tonight's included:

~Art: "The first thing I remember of teaching Jemma in 4th year was when I strictly told her not to rip up her 6 months of work and start over with 2 months left. Of course, she went and did it anyway, and got an Int 2 A. That's talent coming through. She has talent, something you need to get through higher, and she will."
Uhhuh. I'm sure. My work is utter rubbish IMO. And he so made me sound mean, I wasn't, honest. I just wasn't happy with it so binned it elaborately. Its art, how can it not be coool? :D

"As you know I didn’t have Jemma before the summer, and I’ve come to terms with the fact I’ll never fill the shoes of her Total All-Time Favourite Teacher. *grin* But I think I'm sorta getting there. It was touch and go for a while, yunno like, which I can quite agree with as dear old Liz was a fantastic colleague. I mean I loved the ground she walked on, yunno so."
I've forgotten the rest of what he said as I spent too much time trying to remember what it was he was saying. There was something about all teenagers being weird and that Lara and I spoke in code. Also that he's only sent three emails in the past ten years. I think I'm doing okay though, he's a cool teacher. And Mrs O'Neill, sounds like you've got an admirer ;)

~History 1: "Other than using more Historians quotes in her essays, Jemma is very capable of getting a good pass at Higher."
The rest I forget as I was so astounded she got my name right. Despite the fact I've had her for 4 years now. And despite the fact she taught my mum when she was my age. She likes my doodling though, creative doodling is alright she says. Rock onnn.

~History 2: "Quietly efficient, but sometimes too quiet. I think Jemma you wrote it on your progress sheet that you needed to add more in class and I agree. You need to work on it."
Yes, this has been the same thing on all my teachers lips from 1st Year. I hate answering in class unless its on a subject I feel strongly about and I am sure of myself. Such a time has only happened once; in English before the summer on the subject of Daphne du Maurier, I know all there is to know so I'm okay with it. Plus the class rocked.

~Maths: "The most quietest girl in the class, *smile*, but always has been and I'm sure always will be."
Yup, too right. That's not changed in five years. Curse me stupid quietness.

So after that I'm left feeling sort of... disheartened with the whole thing. On one hand I'm capable of getting good grades in the next year. On the other hand, am I good enough, willing enough, to get them? I'm too tired to think tonight, which is probably the root problem with my unusual negativity, maybe in the morning tihngs will be looking up.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Where have all the teachers gone?

Yesterday I said goodbye to the last of my favourite teachers. Mr Bennie left the CDT Dept on Friday for a school half the size, with double the size of CDT Dept. I cant blame him for leaving, our department has been running on one teacher most of the year now and it really was unfair on him. Not only was Mr Bennie having to take on more work, but the pupils were missing out too.

Overall actually, our school is running on minimum teachers at the moment. As mentioned here almost every department is suffering due to short term and long term absences, job applications that no one turns up for... Its almost as bad as when our headteacher position went without anyone putting in for it. Surely situations like this is when blogs really can come in handy? If a teacher is going to be off for a long period of time due to illness or whatever, I'm sure they could easily access their computer and leave course notes for their pupils back in school.

Personally I think it'd be a great idea. At the moment I have no art teacher and my work rate is sufffering heavily, the class on a whole has missed its deadlines by weeks and my art study sheet lies empty. I know that if it wasnt for the fact I find writing essays on art fairly reasonable (dare I say I enjoy them?) and I'm able to research at home I would have no chance come exam time. But without a teacher, most of the class arent doing any work at all, in class or at home.

Clue blogging idea screen left. Our actual teacher whilst absent could then upload useful links, reinforce our deadlines (theres something about our cover teacher that no one can take seriously...) and generally keep teaching us over the internet. This way we wouldnt miss out too much as sites like Mikeys school's would mean we could have an "online classroom" so to speak.

Or maybe, just maybe, we could find some actual teachers?