Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Here Comes Trouble

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Here Comes Trouble

Article excerpt

"In my experience, anybody with eyes that shifty, a grin that dodgy and hair that spiky is bound to be a nasty piece of work."

I am clicking through photographs on my new school tablet and trying to commit them to memory by recalling key facial characteristics. From the other side of the marital bed, my wife sighs wearily and puts her book down. For some reason she keeps losing the plot. "Are you trying to find ex-pupils on Crimestoppers' Most Wanted again?" she asks.

"No, although I might be looking at some future candidates," I reply. She looks confused. "I'm trying to learn the kids' names and faces before the first day back."

Primary teachers meeting a new class know that knowledge is power in the battle to establish classroom authority. Nothing causes children to burst into fits of subversive giggles as effectively as their teacher telling Argon to look this way when he's already looking this way, while Jedi - who is easily mistaken for Argon - continues to pull faces at Alisha... or possibly Emily.

In days of yore, I used a detailed seating plan taped to my desk. But times move on and so do children. Class seating arrangements are more fluid than they used to be and are especially sensitive to fluctuations in curriculum area, teaching method and social dynamics. It's quite possible that the ageing process has distorted my perception of the past, but I can't help thinking that students used to be less nomadic.

It is a well-known fact that I am not always positive about the latest developments in our school's IT resources. …

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