Wednesday, October 11, 2006

“Miss, can I use the ‘C’ Word?”

The Dreaming Arm is pleased to present its first contribution from a guest writer. Lorainne, a trainee teacher from North London has been a regular contributor to the comments section over the last few months. In this piece she recounts her experiences in the classroom.

If any other readers would like to submit a guest article for publication please send your contributions or ideas to They can be on any topic, but please keep them brief!

“Miss, can I use the ‘C’ Word?”

“Er… No C word and no F word. Only mild swearing allowed please.”

I am assisting the teacher in a class full of 14 year old boys. It is an English lesson and the aim is to get them to write something, anything that could be considered a creative response to J D Salinger’s novel Catcher in the Rye. The book is about an angry dysfunctional teenager and they are scripting an imaginary conversation between the main character and his friend.

“So can I say ‘bastard’ miss?”

I am training to become an English teacher of 11-18 year olds. The majority of my time is spent in a school taking classes belonging to qualified teachers. However I am officially a full time student receiving a training bursary rather than a salary, and am required to attend university now and again to remind myself of this fact.

School is something most people have experienced either for good or ill, so virtually everyone has an opinion on my career choice. I am regularly asked

“Why the hell do you want to spend most of your working day trying to inspire a love of literature in a bunch of badly behaved unwilling children?”

I sometimes reply with a question:

“Why the hell do you want to have a meaningless existence sitting in front of a computer all day helping some unscrupulous corporation make profit?”

Since graduating I have spent most of my 20’s working in publishing and in recruitment. I have enjoyed it. However I think I could be doing something more useful. I miss the intellectual challenge of being involved in education. I loved being a student. I was no angel at school myself so am prepared to deal with difficult behaviour. As an old woman of just turned 30 I actually feel much happier being around teenagers rather than in an office amongst some cynical jaded, miserable adults who are doing a job they hate.

“Teachers!! Bloody part timers. I bet you are just doing it for the long holidays and 3.30 finishes”

“Well of course not!!! Not really. Well…perhaps that was a small consideration…..”


Julia Buckley said...

Nice piece Lorainne - good luck with the teaching!

Parnell said...

Excellant Loraine, Well done.

Lorainne said...

Thanks for the encouraging comments guys!! I will be infiltrating The Dreaming Arm again in the not too distant future.....just to give Ciaran a bit of healthy competition.