Sunday 5 July 2015

Teacher Bloopers

I go to the theatre a lot and watch many movies.  Obviously, it's great when things go to plan but I absolutely love it when things go wrong - the bloopers! You'll find me waiting behind during the credits at the cinema to see if they included any funny ones and I'm never happier that when something goes wrong on stage, particularly in my favourite show, Wicked.  I've seen it too many times so I know it by heart.  I know when they forget their lines and when they are ad-libbing certain bits. For me, it adds to the experience and I love having a great theatre blooper to share.  

Now teaching really isn't that far removed from the world of movies and theatre.  There is you, part of the main cast, giving performances on your classroom stage day in, day out.  There is your audience - your pupils - who you must entertain as well as teach, this is a fully-interactive piece! You are judged by the critics and they publish their thoughts.  The directors and producers keep you in check and a backstage team ensure things run smoothly.  However, teaching is a performance of 6+ hours everyday so there are bloopers aplenty.  Here are my favourite 5 from my first few years on stage!

5 - "wrapped"
As part of our Ancient Egyptian theme at the beginning of year four, children write an explanation of mummification.  Their titles go along the lines of "How did the Ancient Egyptians mummify their dead bodies?".  We focus on past tense and first person.  To help, I made a word bank so that the difficult words were spelled correctly.  Words which featured on the list were: mummification, sarcophagus, embalming, decomposing.  One key word which didn't feature on the list was the word "wrapped".  Many children wrote this word but spelled it without the W and with only one P, totally changing it's meaning among sentences about dead bodies.  Next year, "wrapped" will definitely feature on the word bank!

4 - Lime vs Lime
We were learning about rivers, boats and bridges so I wanted to take my class to a local spring to see the water bubbling up and learn about the history of the spring.  I had diligently researched the paper factory which used to be on the site and set about explaining how the water was useful.  Sheep skin was important, as was the spring water but both were combined with lime.  I told the children that I wasn't too sure how they shipped limes over from more tropical countries in the mid-19th century but they added the limes to the water.  No one batted and eyelid, not my TA or any of the parent helpers and, although it sounded strange, I continued.  It wasn't until the next day when we were back in class that my TA suggested it could be the other lime as in limestone, of which there was plenty local to the spring. Oops! I made my apology and re-explained the paper-making process, this time with the Internet to help! 

3 - Context is everything...
In a lesson about adverbs (I believe), I learned an important lesson about providing clear contexts as I read this sentence afterwards.
Please note the correctly underlined nouns...every cloud! 

2 - Redback on the Toilet Seat
As part of our RIC reading starters, a colleague had planned an activity based on the first two verses of the song "Redback on the Toilet Seat".  I hadn't had time to read the plan so set to teaching the lesson.  The RIC involved children reading through the following poem and answering questions.

There was a redback on the toilet seat, 
When I was there last night.
I didn't see him in the dark, 
But boy I felt his bite.
I jumped up high into the air, 
And when I hit the ground.
That crafty redback spider, 
Wasn't nowhere to be found.

I rushed into the Mrs, 

Told her just where I'd been bit.
And she grabbed my cutthroat razor, 
And I nearly took a fit.
I said 'Forget what's on your mind, 

And call a doctor please.
For I've got a feeling that your cure, 
Is worse than the disease.'

When going through the answers to the questions, I noticed that the poem was quite a lot funnier than I'd first thought but tried my hardest to keep this from the children. In our next team meeting, I brought up the question of where the man had been bitten.  The rest of the team answered "his bottom" without hesitation.  I then had to explain that I didn't think he'd been bitten on his bottom...

1 - You're teaching my child...what??!
Picture this... It's the summer curriculum news. The parents of children in my class are gathered in my room a few days after Easter and I'm going over the important topics and events for the term.  I explain that in PE we will be preparing for a performance at the May Fayre.  Quickly, I move onto the next item and then notice a couple of parents grinning, a few sniggering and one man is giggling uncontrollably.  I ask them if I've said something wrong and they all just burst out laughing before one of the manages to control themselves. She informs be that I told them their children will have "weekly pole dancing lessons ready for a performance at the May Fayre".  Thankfully maypole dancing is a tradition at the school and I was swiftly forgiven but it wasn't forgotten!

We all have #TeacherBloopers - are you brave enough to share yours?

P.S. For the record, I don't drink all that much...and never near or under lamp posts!


  1. In a previous school as the Y6 Teache, I introduced Y6 v Teachers Rounders Competition. Being very competitive I wanted to play on Teachers side - but Staff (one in particular) said No. So I spat my dummy out and played for the Y6.

    After bowling the ball I caught the hit and then threw it to the 3rd base Y6 pupil - to get out the running Teacher. Unfortunately, being competitive, I threw the ball too hard and it hit the colleague on the arm - knocking her over. She broke her arm and ended up with 2 months off.

    Y6 v Staff Rounders was instantly Banned.

    ps - the Y6 did win anyway.

  2. I thought I would do a Music and art session they would paint a picture based on the music they hear I chose Danse Macabre by Saint Saen ( I decided to read the poem that they music is based and get half way down and find an inappropriate verse... needless to say I skipped that bit of it....

  3. I remember marking a maths assessment when I reached a question which read- 'Draw a pentagon. Remember to use a ruler.' Underneath this was a wonderful drawing of... a penguin. The child had remembered to use a ruler however, so every cloud...


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