Is this the best education related joke ever?

Why did the tightrope do so well in its exams?

It was well taught.



It’s been a while since I had a coincidence…

used to get them all the time (have a look at posts from about a year ago), where I’d bump into old pupils or former teachers and parents from my old schools but I’d not had one for a while…until today!

During phonics, one of my old pupils was in my group!

Paul Daniels
Maybe Paul Daniels was just missing the attention.


She was a bit of a troubled child with a not particularly nice home life but she did seem happy and her dad (who I thought always looked a bit like a smack-head) apparently it being really good and helping her a lot.  When I taught her there were gaps in her knowledge and while she did do some good sounding out, her reading wasn’t great but from our 20 minutes together today, she really impressed me.

She went back to her class excited that she’d seen me.  Sometimes the co-incidences are nice.

Doing Supply When There Is No Work Left by @Juanofthefourty

Here are some thoughts I passed on to the excellent NQT advice blog Feels nice to be published by someone else. I hope the tips help some little lost supply teaching NQTs.

Starter for Five

Name: Jaun Ofthefourty
Twitter:  @Juanofthefourty
Sector:  Early Years, Primary
Position: Supply
5 Bits of Advice About: Doing supply when there is no work left

  1. Have something prepared (even just mentally) for every possible subject. It’s not fun having to improvise a day’s worth of engaging lessons.
  2. Use the walls and displays to give you ideas of what the children are learning. It will help your teaching feel relevant.
  3. Don’t plan anything that requires marking. Why add to your workload?
  4. Quizzes are brilliant. They’re easy to plan, build teamwork, test the children’s knowledge and they’re fun.
  5. Whatever you deliver, do it with confidence and conviction (faked, if necessary). Pupils are experts at reading body language and will pounce on any chink in your armor.

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Stick to what you know

I started writing a political blog post the other day, in response to recent events in Paris but deleted it before I was even half way through. Despite my lofty intentions, it came across as facetious and condescending. While anyone can hold an opinion on something, it’s never good to be shouting ill-informed and ill-researched material from the rooftops. It’s like when the World Cup comes around and suddenly people who don’t give a donkeys about the game become an expert on football and discuss it loudly on public transport.

loud rude person on cell phone on train
“Capello is mad to play the 4-4-2 formation, the 6-3-7 is far superior.”

I always feel slightly embarrassed for them (and by my own admission, I know nothing about football).

If you’re wondering, the gist of the article was comparing ISIS and the Western world to two children having a scrap in the playground and the answer, when someone hits you, is never to hit back but to talk it out. Just imagine the article as in depth and well thought out, with some thoroughly incisive observation and parallels with the playground and world politics. Have you done that? Good. It was an interesting article, wasn’t it? Alternatively, read 6 Ways to Keep Terrorists From Ruining the World from

My blog post would have would have culminated in a link to this from the Onion.

5 questions to ask your child’s primary school teacher – Part II

And part 2.

Again, interesting from both a parent and a teacher perspective.
I’m not sure I agree with the suggestion that it “is an opportunity lost if parts of our science and history lessons do not involve significant episodes of writing,” especially for kids just starting school. It’s better to give them raw, hands-on experiences that will provide them with the basic understanding of scientific processes, without the worry of letting literacy issues obstructing the child’s achievement.
Also, I like the section about “asking questions about what happened from the teacher’s perspective before deciding whether you have a genuine complaint.” That reminded me of
this delightful experience.

Filling the pail

In the first of these two posts, I suggested questions that you might wish to sensitively ask your child’s current or prospective primary school teacher about behaviour and reading. There are three more questions that I wish to propose.

3. How do you teach history and science?

Both of these subjects contain significant amounts of world knowledge and have the potential to expand your child’s vocabulary and reading comprehension. Ironically, they can be potentially displaced by a misguided effort to over-teachreading comprehension strategies, perhaps under the guise of ‘guided reading’.

If they aregiven curriculum time, science and history may be taught well or badly. I have no problem with a few papier mache models and dioramas in primary school – they are a right of passage – but science and history taught primarily through these means areimpoverished. I still remember being in primary school myself, collecting leaves in…

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5 questions to ask your child’s primary school teacher – Part I

Suggestions of what to ask at an impending parent’s evening. Interesting from a parent/teacher perspective.

Filling the pail

This post is for those of you who, like me, have children in primary school or children who are about to enter primary school. It’s worth knowing some questions to ask that will give you a better idea of the provision on offer. However, you must tread gently. If you asked your mechanic how she intended to fix your car then she would probably be delighted to explain at some length, but children are not cars, they don’t need fixing and teachers are not mechanics. It’s a messy, human affair. And decades of perceivingthat politicians and the media are against them makes many teachers defensive. So use these questions but address them sensitively.

1. What’s your behaviour policy?

This is probably worth talking about before you send your child to a school.There is no right answer other than that the school should have a policy, it should be clear and…

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