Friday already

How can it be Friday already?  Half term is over and I’m extremely depressed!  Ok, that’s an exaggeration but this week has just flown by.  It’s been absolutely perfect with trips to London, shopping, baking, meeting friends, seeing family, getting a new bed(!), but I’m gutted it’s now at an end.

I’ll go back to Uni on Sunday then it’ll be 10 days at school, one week at Uni and then I’ll be done; PGCE year over.  Some might go so far as saying I’ll be ‘free’…..



So caught up in internet-induced angst yesterday that I forgot to post a celebratory “Yay it’s half term” post. So here it is:-


9 year olds, the Internet, and how much they access….

I genuinely didn’t realise quite how far the use of technology had spread through my year five class. I was quite close to crying by the end. First of all I asked them what a friend was; they came up with a few good things like someone who listens, someone who doesn’t walk away when others do, someone who accepts you for being weird, someone who listens – it was all very lovely but felt quite false.

Next I asked what bullying was and clearly the anti bullying week last term had worked as they could talk all about physical and verbal abuse, repetitive name calling, ignoring people, blah, blah, blah.

When I asked what cyber bullying was they suggested things like abusive emails, messages, texts, tweets, blog posts, prank calling etc. I was kind of horrified at what they already knew. Then I showed them a list I’d found on the Internet all about cyber bullying and the many forms it takes. Their faces turned from mild interest to mild horror; the list was long and their faces showed that they didn’t know all about it, there are dangers out there that they didn’t know about.

Then I got them all to shut their eyes. I told them that it was just so they felt comfortable answering my questions, they didn’t have to take part but they had to shut their eyes. I asked them:-
1. who has access to a mobile phone? The whole class put their hand up.
2. who has their own mobile phone? All the hands stayed up (bear in mind this is 31 nine year olds).
3. who has a contract phone which they can access the internet on? About 20 hands stayed up; I felt sick at this point. The children are NINE, a contract phone at that age is so unnecessary!
4. who has a pay as you go phone? 10 hands up
5. who has a Facebook profile? 18 hands – 18, almost two thirds of the class are on Facebook. You shouldn’t have Facebook under the age of 13. The children have had to lie openly about their age to be allowed to create a profile. Their parents even know that they have Facebook which means their parents have condoned lying and put them in a vulnerable position. Later one girl said that her mum knows she has Facebook but she’s only allowed to be friends with her family and cousins. All well and good but what can she see in the profiles of her cousins and family? Once you have an account in Facebook that’s it, you can access a Lot.
6. who has a personal profile online, Facebook or other? 23 hands.
7. who has a photo on their profile of either themselves or of them with a friend? 15 hands stayed up.
8. Who has received a bullying, hurtful or abusive message online? 22 hands.

Then I showed them the video (see last post). The looks on their faces was of pure horror. And I’m glad. These children are exposed to so much, so much – they mentioned things like texting, watsapp, snapchat (i mean come on), they talked about vines…..the list was endless. Now I’m not a parent, and I stressed to the children that the responsibility of how they operate online and whether they have a phone or not is none of my business, it’s up to their parents, but I really wonder if their parents know quite what they’re accessing? So I told the kids about privacy settings, the report abuse button and they knew nothing about this. Their profiles, with their photos, names, details, are public somewhere on the Internet.

I told them that :-
– bullying in school is unacceptable and we will deal with it using the anti bullying policy.
– bullying outside of school is unacceptable and they should tell an adult who will deal with it.
– cyber bullying is unacceptable and the police will deal with it and they will give criminal records to children their age if they see that they have been talking part in cyber bullying. That was the tipping point – the group of girls who’ve been causing us so much bother, half of them looked like they might be sick, one girl almost started to cry. They finally realised the serous nature of the way they’ve been treating each other. Hopefully they’ll stop now….but I’m no miracle worker and I doubt it’ll make an ounce of difference.

But you know, despite all of that, despite all of the hands up, the openness of the children, the horror on their faces, the bit that really got me was when the children started saying things like “yeah people kill themselves over stuff like that”, “I saw online about a girl, a boy, a child, who killed themselves because of stuff online”.

Every single child in that room room knew what self harm and suicide is. They are nine years old.

I asked them one final question: how do you know about self harm and suicide?

We saw it online.

Tomorrow’s another day…

Tomorrow I’m going to talk to Year Five about cyber bullying and internet safety. The video here is one of the ones I’m going to show them. It’s a pretty powerful video and I really, really, really hope the kids get the message…

Only Tuesday.

Goodness me is it not half way through the week yet?

The pain began today for our year fives in the form of the first of their mock SATs papers. Part of me felt bad for setting the reading paper but the other half of me was revelling in the hour of silence! They’ve got two papers tomorrow morning which I’m expecting is going to be very painful, I’m just hoping nobody cries…

Ho-hum, half term is approaching!

Heat and a classroom.

I expect the events of the day were exacerbated by my lack of sleep but LORD was today long!

The classroom was boiling hot and not conducive to learning or teaching. It didn’t help that we were focusing on revision techniques for the children’s mock SATs this week; it was dull as watching paint dry and I did feel mean for forcing it upon them, but when they stopped listening I almost hit the roof. Then of course there’s the girl problem – absolute nightmare!

It’s meant to be cooler tomorrow; I certainly hope so, they’ve got assessments to do!

What a day!

Well, today was always going to be an eventful one but my goodness ha today been non-stop!

We made 64 bread rolls of various shapes and flavours today which took about 1hr 45m which was quite a long time! There was flour everywhere and despite some rather dodgy weighing and measuring the bread turned out extremely well – a triumph for all.

My maths lesson ok division was next and resembled a scene from war of the worlds. The class were hyper after making bread and couldn’t divide if their little lives depended upon it!

Then there was lunch…..

One punch up, 3 bitch fights and 6 crying girls later it was time for afternoon registration (I kid you not). We then had to see a social worker, ring parents, and get the children to do some acting in preparation for literacy next week.

I think it would have been more effective to cut off my own head. They’d have learned more and might have argued left.

Hollllla Friday evening, now pass the wine!


Another season is happening in the glorious world outside and I’m stuck indoors in a sweltering classroom!

The weather is glorious, and I know I was very fortunate to experience the lovely sunshine yesterday on our school trip but today I really felt cooped up.  I had to open the blinds which are normally down just so I could at least see the sunshine outside and get some sense of freedom!  

I’m not moaning about the weather at all, I just wish I could be out in it!

The trip.

Well it didn’t rain so that was a bonus.
We didn’t lose anybody so that is also something good (apparently).
I got a free packet of whole meal flour made in the mill which was lovely.
We all survived the walk.
We’re now over halfway through the week.

On the other hand apparently you graduate to walking at the front of a line when you gain QTS status. Muggins here was left at the back on sheep dog duty. 9 year olds take a lot of encouragement when walking 4 miles!


Technology in the hands of babes.

You might think I’m a prude, but children aged between 9 and 10 years old should not have mobile phones. I worked from 8.45 until 3.05 today with no breaks because the girls in my year five class hate each other, partially because of nasty texts they’ve been sending to each other. 8 girls were crying at different points throughout the day. They don’t want to talk to each other and when they do have to communicate the classroom defends into furious shouting messages.

We’ve got to come up with a plan of action but technically anything to do with texting or social media outside of school is not an in school issue, it’s something to be sorted out between parents. However, now that it’s imposing upon school time and pervading into lessons something needs to be done.

I know how girls are to one another, I went to an all girls school, but I’m pretty sure that when I was in year five we argued about who was playing who in a game. We certainly weren’t saying that we hated one another and spreading vicious rumours. That happened in secondary school!

Kids are growing up too quickly and clearly, based on the evidence of my class alone, nine and ten year olds are too young to be responsible for the appropriate use of a contract smartphone!!