I just had an hour in the classroom and I am ready for a lie down.
Here is my Personal Take in Geelong Advertiser’s gt magazine. The original article is online here.
Sibling rivalry is fabulous thing.
My younger brother has an uncanny ability to land himself in the most enviable of positions. At school I studied like a teenager possessed. This made for a messy personality and a strung out VCE. My brother however turned the legal drinking age halfway through the year and spent the rest of it enjoying that privilege.
When his results came out they were equal with mine. He studied for 15 minutes for the entire year so the competitive gene that I inherited was more than displeased. At the end of Year 12 he jaunted around Portugal and Oxfordshire whilst I measured inside trouser legs in a factory in North Melbourne.
My first job was data entry at the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development, which was even more boring than it sounds. His first job was as a writer for Lonely Planet. He flew straight to India. As you do.
When he decided to become a teacher, I knew that he was having the last laugh.
I have always been envious of the seemingly cruisy lifestyle that teachers enjoy. How fabulous is a job where your working days finish with the school bell at 3.30pm? And who wouldn’t sign up for ten weeks of holiday each year? “Me! Me!” I shout accompanied by enthusiastic hand waving.
I have visions of him singing songs and decorating student diaries with stickers and smiley faces. Every now and then he might organise an excursion or an art show or anything that requires parents to fill out another permission slip.
As a side note, I fill out every one of those forms twice because 95% of the time my kid will lose theirs somewhere between their locker and the teacher’s hands, which is about three metres.
So confident was I that I could cope with this teaching caper that I volunteered my time to help in the classroom.
Little did I appreciate that being in a confined space with 20 kids makes parenting your own children more appealing than lying under a Balinese sunset with Ryan Gosling. In the first 32 seconds of walking into the classroom, I have sharpened 47 pencils, rehomed six lunchboxes, corrected some spelling and accidentally attempted to log into the education department’s server. Then when half the class asks to go to the toilet AT THE SAME TIME I realise that multitasking and patience are required. Together.
The fact that I have not actually taught any of them a single thing is not lost on me either. Apparently stopping them from wrestling on the floor isn’t enough, as they have to learn, you know, stuff.
A parent I may be, but a teacher I ain’t.
Clearly teachers have prewired DNA for general calm that the rest of the population was not gifted. Honestly, how that staff room is not a frazzled den of winged out adults is beyond me. I reckon I’d need a Shiraz in a take away coffee cup just to get me to recess. And by lunchtime I’d be in a rocking chair talking to myself.
So then imagine my spinning head when my eldest child came home with Grade Three mathematics homework. All will remain good in my world if I can remember that a hexagonal prism has eight faces.
And in Grade One, I can tell you all about the olden days. Because, you know, according to my child I am THAT old.
So for now, I will live vicariously through my brother’s holidays. And respect his wise career decision.
For the saying should really be, “Those who can’t, don’t. Those who can, teach.”