Posted by: Mr E | 27 March 2008

What do Economics, penises, and driving lessons have in common?

Not much, as I learned today. At least not in any sort of productive sense.

Sometimes I wonder why I want to go into this profession. My class today were an absolute nightmare. Not in a “we-hate-you-and-want-to-make-your-life-a-misery” way, but in a “meh… learning?!” way. They really didn’t want to do anything. That is, other than talk; at every opportunity someone would start talking about bogeys or what they had for dinner last night or erections, and this is in a completely voluntary class! The mind truly does boggle. I do worry about the erection talk though, especially as it resulted in some sort of show-and-tell. I’d rather not elaborate, truthfully. I must confess to being roped into a discussion about driving lessons though, as I’m still in the honeymoon stage after passing my test in November. There’s never a bad time to moan about the extortionate price of insurance, I say!

I do worry though. I set them on doing a very simple 6-marker from a past exam paper and they failed to come up with any remotely convincing answers. At this rate I fear a clean sweep of Ds, though thankfully its not on my head. I would hate to see them not get the grades they deserve though. In the end a few early departures encouraged some focus, and I got through the basics of supply-side policies. Which was all well and good until some of the lads decided that molesting each other is fun. Then again when you have a class full of hormone-brimming boys you can anticipate as much (and here’s me, only 4 months older than some of them!).

When the lesson (and to my glee, the day) ended though I felt quite good about myself. It wasn’t unmanageable, and I had a bit of a laugh with one of the Economics teachers about the whole shebang. We then had a random discussion about iPods and Facebook and ‘Battys’ after that, but it was all in good humour and felt pretty welcome as a wind-down. She’s a lovely woman and is really encouraging me to come back to the school after my degree, as long as I tell everyone it was her influence that did it! Feeling part of the team was really nice, something I didn’t expect when taking on the role of Economics Revision Monkey (my official title).

I’m looking down at my last post now and noticing it says ‘sleep’ , so I think I’ll take my own advice and hit the sack. Goodnight!



  1. Hmmm how can I not comment on an entry with penises in the title? I wish I went to your school, I feel like I’d have so much more to contribute to the conversations.

    Just so that even the comment exudes my trademark pretentiousness, I’d like to point out I’m interested in “In the end a few early departures encouraged some focus”. Did you just allow the kids who didn’t want to stay, to leave? I wrote a lil manifesto back in Junior Sixth about how I would teach as a teacher. I’d adopt a Summerhill-esque model where students who don’t want to learn don’t have to, but they will be (internally-)assessed frequently to prompt them that they’re failing, and I would have perfect communication with the parents to inform them how their children are getting on in school. The hope is that the constant reminders will pressure themselves into turning up to class and learning for themselves, by choice. Any thoughts? I know it goes totally against the fashionable school of thought of “over-assessment in the UK” but I think that’s bollocks (wahey, love it when an argument goes full circle) anyway. I used to live in China.

    I got linked to this from Geoff’s entry on Bhutan – why Mr E??? You do come up with the strangest pseudonyms…

  2. Its a shame how those sorts of days are becomming more common. When I was at a school in Uganda, the kids there really did crave to be taught, the stark opposite of what schools here seem to be. And this was only a voluntary class you were dealing with…. It could of been worse though I guess, at least they didnt start trashing the classroom!

    Do you get this often when you teach? Being just a few months younger than you, perhaps they think that they can get away with more than usual?

  3. Yeah they weren’t awful, it just took an awful lot to get them to focus. They are normally quite good… perhaps the long weekend for Easter(Friday – Tuesday) had some effect on them.

    The small age difference does have some impact on the lessons. In particular I feel odd if I try to tell them off at all, as I imagine I’d get incredibly pissed off if someone 4 months older than me – who would then be my classmate – tried to give me a talking to. But they’re surprisingly respectful. We generally have a decent atmosphere in class; its jovial but not so much so that they run riot.

    I also expected to get a full turnout when the sessions started and for it to trial off, but the opposite has happened. Attendance has actually gone up! The feedback has so far been good, so I imagine the initial absentees realised they were missing out 😛

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