Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

What Keeps Me Awake at Night - I'm Checking out of Lessons in the Library: Opinion

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

What Keeps Me Awake at Night - I'm Checking out of Lessons in the Library: Opinion

Article excerpt

Last year, when I accepted a supply teaching position in a local academy, I assumed I would be teaching in a room - a classroom. This being my first experience of supply, I quickly learned that it is best not to assume anything. Supply teacher is basically a euphemism for doormat, so if one expects the worst, anything better is a bonus.

Naturally, I got the most challenging duties, which in this case involved the "open-space" classroom, also known as the library. It not only accommodated my teaching area, but also a computer suite for 30 pupils. The two areas were separated by a row of bookcases, which acted as a veil but utterly failed to reduce the noise escaping from either area.

Teaching in a library surrounded by great works of literature should be every English teacher's dream. But the dream turned into a nightmare as the lesson deteriorated into a battle of noise. Class reading amounted to either shouting over the hubbub or giving up altogether. Listening to Year 10s read Romeo and Juliet was like trying to tune into a radio station - there were glimpses of a clear voice, but the rest was just static.

Better lessons were delivered when the computer suite was empty, although pupils would then be distracted by staff wandering through the library shortcut, some of whom I am sure just wanted to gawp at the struggling supply teacher. …

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