Diary of a First Year Teacher - Episode 6

Dear Diary,

Today was just one of those days. It’s pretty special, I guess, because it’s not every day that you get to embarrass yourself not only in front of your whole class (and lovely teacher aid Sonia) but also the principal.

Well, lucky me! So I was really proud of myself because I’d researched this great science experiment online and thought I was going to impress the kids. Which I did, but then promptly upstaged myself by looking like a complete fool in front of Mr Johnson. But I digress.

So we’re learning about magnets in science and the experiment that I was going to wow the class with was about turning any metal object you like into a magnet.

The first part of my presentation was a raging success. As a side note, Grade 2 children make a great audience – you can make them ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ over just about anything (remind me to never take up high school teaching). I chose a butter knife. Was it the wisest choice? In hindsight, perhaps not.

The butter knife was functioning as a magnificent magnet and I picked up several paper clips very successfully. Then I said to the kids (I think the success went to my head), “Now, class, did you know that I’m capable of all kinds of magical science, because I can also turn anything I want into a … not-magnet?” What is the word for that, when you de-magnetise something?

They all roared and I felt like teacher of the year. So I said, “All I have to do is give this a little tap,” and I lowered the knife to the table and tapped three times. As I did so, it picked up three paper clips without even breaking a sweat. Uh-oh! I thought. I’m losing a bit of my street cred.

I tried again, but nothing, so I started knocking it against the nearby table leg. It still wouldn’t work so I started banging it, and banging it…

The kids were laughing their heads off until suddenly they all went silent. I straightened up red-faced and breathless and to see the principal standing in the doorway with an interesting expression on his face.

I tried to explain myself but, needless to say, I dug myself a hole.

Would you believe it? He didn’t say a single word, just smiled the tiniest bit (or maybe I imagined it), backed out the door and kept walking down the corridor.

Sam’s Top Teaching Tip for July: Don’t bang metal objects against school furniture, especially not items that could be dubbed a ‘gateway’ weapon.



By: Lil van Wyngaard – Createl Publishing

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