Here are some quick tips for all you teachers about to embark on a glorious career in education.
- You are the boss. Before every lesson stand in front of the staff toilet mirror and say out loud, in your best teacher voice: ‘I am the one in charge.’ (Don’t say it too loudly, though, because if the kids on detention hear you, you’re finished.) Make sure you wear your mirrored sunglasses so they can’t see the fear and doubt in your eyes. Wear built up shoes and make sure your desk is positioned at the highest point in the classroom.
- Make a seating plan matrix and laminate it onto the children’s desks and tell them to memorise it. Before each lesson blindfold each of the children and get them to tell you who should be sat next to them to within a 5-chair radius. Do not begin a lesson until everyone knows where everyone else is sat. Watch out for sets of identical twins as they may try and mess with your mind and switch places. You can prevent this by having a copy of your original seating plan sewn into the lining of your cardigan and electronically tagging the siblings.
- Have a Dictaphone at hand so you can quickly record incidents of misbehaviour. This will save time and, should you find yourself in the middle of a behaviour incident where you are in peril, simply press record and let the ringleaders incriminate themselves. (Just make sure that rule number one: no funny voices or fake accents, is adhered to at all times; otherwise, trying to identify them afterwards in the Head’s office can become tricky and time-consuming.)
- All school behaviour policies were written as a laugh so older teachers could ‘punk’ you young ‘uns. It does not need to be read or enforced. In fact, if you do follow it, you are likely to suffer the forfeit of having to buy the first round in the pub on Friday.
- Avoid blinking.
- Have a compliance checklist and make sure that all 48 points are recited from memory before beginning any teaching.
- Traditionalist research shows that explanations should last no longer than 8 seconds.
- Don’t let anyone talk over you. Hammer this point by leaving out the last word of every sentence you say out loud, followed by raising your eyebrows and giving your class an expectant look that suggests you are inviting them to finish your sentence off for you. Then, when one of them does exactly that, calmly reach for your Dictaphone.
- Only ask rhetorical questions. That way you can’t be pulled up on your subject knowledge during an observation.
- Pupils know nothing. This is especially true of things that they should know. Make sure all of your lessons begin with a 65-minute preamble of prior knowledge. If any pupil attempts to tell you that they already know this information, ask a rhetorical question and reach for the Dictaphone.
- You should aim to repeat yourself at least six times per minute. The Dictaphone can play a vital role here. If you have got to the 53rd second and have only repeated yourself five times, simply put the device on ‘double speed’ and let it do the work for you.
- Remember, you are passing on information that the teacher next year will claim the pupils don’t know. It’s not about teaching. In fact, it’s not even about learning.
- Pupils do not become fully compliant until 30 weeks. Do not attempt any activities during this period as they will not work. You will need to talk them into submission. It may not be fun but it will be easier on the old Dictaphone battery budget.
- Avoid activities that require introductions that are too long or too short. If you attempt an introduction that is over twenty-seven words then you will have bored the majority of the class and your lesson will likely end in a riot. If your introduction contains fewer than four words then you will have confused the majority of the class and your lesson will likely end in a riot. If you have planned a complicated activity, such as a homemade game about the Russian Revolution that is a cross between Top Trumps, Monopoly and Kerplunk, then read out one of the 173 rules per lesson. In a year’s time you will have covered all the rules and the pupils will be ready to play.
- Despite their lack of hands, pupils can write. You should get them to write. Get them to write loads. Just endless writing. Writing, writing, writing. The three Ws of teaching: write, write, then write again. Please note you will need to ignore the school’s marking policy if you put that much writing into your lessons.
- If you have not taught something before then don’t worry, the children certainly won’t know it either.
- Pupils should always put their name on a worksheet. The last twenty minutes of the lesson must be spent circling the room to make sure they have done so. You should also cross reference their worksheets with the class list sewn into your cardigan to make sure those twins aren’t playing you for a jolly fool.
Make sure you know how to find the following:
- Your Dictaphone;
- Anything you will need;
- A spare set of anything you will need;
- An emergency set of anything you will need;
- Dictaphone batteries;
- A bag of rice (don’t ask, just trust me on this).
Make sure you know what you’ll say if:
- A pupil asks you the time;
- A pupil asks you what lesson this is;
- A pupil ‘sits down’ in a manner than could be described as inappropriate;
- A pupil agrees with you in a manner that causes suspicion;
- A pupil asks for help but doesn’t understand what it is you’re reading from your planning guide;
- A pupil tells you that recording them on a Dictaphone is an infringement on their human rights.
- Rest is for the weak. Wake up and drink some Red Bull.
- Eating is for the weak. Just substitute tea with protein shakes. You’ll be fine.
- Make sure you aren’t expecting this job to give you, or anyone who comes into contact with you, any sense of joy or satisfaction. Pupils are not there to allow you to teach effectively, they’re there to be taught a lesson.
This is a homage to an original post written by the master himself.