“Crabbit” is another great Scots word meaning grumpy. Crabbit reminds me of my sister when she’s been woken up too early (i.e. before noon) or D when he loses a mountain bike race to his brother-in-law or Gen when I tell her to slow down though she’s only driving at 40mph. Crabbit is me after a crappy day at work.
Frankly, I’ve been avoiding writing about school recently because quite a lot of my days are crappy just now. The problem is that I am really struggling with the youngest of the five classes I teach: the first years. Never ever ever have I come across such a badly behaved bunch. And, my goodness, have I had some crackers! Moreover, I have never come across such a low ability group before. Despite being 12 years old, most of the kids have a reading age below 8 years old, the lowest being 6.
It’s a chicken and egg question whether their behaviour is the source of their learning problems or whether their learning problems are the source of their bad behaviour. And even if we could answer that question, we’d still have to ask what was causing the behaviour/learning issues in the first place. Undoubtably, much of it stems from less than ideal home lives (just call me Queen Understatement). It’s a heartbreaking situation and one I (and the rest of the staff, of course) are desperate to improve.
The question that’s keeping me awake at night is how? All the strategies I usually employ with difficult classes are having absolutely no effect at the moment. Am I expecting too much too soon? It’s not even three weeks into term yet. Perhaps I am. Just got to keep on trying. My main worry is that so much of my energy is being drained thinking about and dealing with this group that my general enthusiasm for teaching is waning and, as a result, my other classes are suffering.
If you are wondering about the photo, it’s one I took last night in the garden. A dirty spider’s web nestled between a rotten wooden post and some garish blue tarpaulin. Isn’t it strange the things that can cheer you up for a while?