The junior sprog is a newly qualified primary school teacher, following three years of a dozen or so zero hours jobs after completing a drama honours degree.
The drama degree has proved very useful as a direct source of income at various times since graduation, Halloween jobs working as a scare actor, for instance. Christmas jobs working as a Santa’s Elf on the East Lancashire Railway, and there have been a few short film projects, besides jobs in retail and as a photographer at visitor attractions such as Blackpool Zoo and the Pleasure Beach.
Nothing’s wasted. But none of this helps a young person to afford their own place, no planning possible, no financial forecasting from one month to the next and nor does it pay towards a pension.
The teacher training was interrupted in April by the Coronavirus crisis, and she and the rest of her cohort were not able to work their third and final school placement that makes up the PGCE course. This shortfall in experience had to be made up with additional academic work, extra dissertations and so on. And again, nothing is wasted, but it is not a substitute for experience.
After she completed the course she signed on with a supply agency, and on 1 September had her ear bent by *cough* no-one I know, warning her to have her shoes shined and her bag ready to go with zero notice at any time.
The schools went back, a phased return starting 1 September, and nothing happened, but this Tuesday 22 September she got her first call from the agency.
It came at ten to nine in the morning, with the instruction to go 30 minutes up the road to a school needing Teaching Assistant cover because the incumbent TA had to take time off, after her child showed signs of a sniffle- or could it be Covid- 19.
Junior Sprog is trained as a teacher not a Teaching Assistant. The training is different, and she had been advised she may therefore not be offered such roles but never mind, no problem.
Straight out the door.
But how would it go? Would they ask her back next again?
You can have a go at this yourself with an ordinary deck of playing cards. Shuffle while you ask your question, and then you lay out a line of five cards. It could be three or seven, the point being it is an odd number.
The story is read from left to right and the central card is the key card. I also look at the balance of the suits for my answer. How many red cards (yes) How many black suit cards, and specifically, which are they?
If you get mostly Spades, you answer is a probable no. If you get all Diamonds and Hearts, it’s a probable yes. Clubs may be a yes or no, depending on whether they are mixed with Spades or Hearts and Diamonds. You can weigh up the mix by the look and feel of the thing, even if you don’t know the meanings of the cards.
The ‘Line of Five’
So what have we here?
The Ace of Diamonds sudden news, a phone call new job or other source of money. Well, that could not be more apposite.
8 Clubs: a stable card denoting business, study or gatherings such as a meeting, a conference and in this case it describes a classroom.
4 Hearts: a happy environment. I was mightily relieved to see this card sitting centrally. Junior Sprog had a horrible time, in one of her two school placements in a school dominated, if not terrorized by a toxic headteacher. It was a shocker, and the only good thing one could say was, it did not defeat her, and she faced it down and passed the placement despite that headteacher’s expressed determination from the outset, from the very second day, that Junior Sprog would fail the placement.
7 Clubs: this is going to be hard work. This is the card of the workaholic and also house clearing and yard work; sweeping, cleaning, that kind of thing.
2 Clubs: this is the card of contracts and the number 2 indicated she would either be called in again the next day, or be called back to this school at a future date.
Junior Sprog really liked the school, though she said she was exhausted from running round after the children. ‘Big deal’ was all the sympathy she got, till she explained that the school has a big outdoor area for play time exercise. The school supplies wellies, she was helping the little ones in the reception class, and had to help pull on and remove 28 pairs of tiny wellies and waterproof trousers, on and off, on and off multiple times during the day.
The little ones were adorable but being so little, a lot of them did not yet know their left foot from their right foot. Some struggled to pull up their trousers.
She went in for a second day yesterday and then the regular Teaching Assistant returned with the Covid testing issue sorted out, and Junior Sprog completed the day in a support role.
So yes, it was two days, and I feel she may go back again if further cover is needed.
Junior Sprog is however working again today, at a different school, her second school in three days, deployed this time as a one- to- one assistant, supporting a pupil with special needs.
She says the Head is amazing at this school; she really likes this school, and this makes me happy because this was the school where she was supposed to go for her final term’s placement before the Covid-19 crisis fully kicked in and shut the schools at Easter.
She jokes that that her little charge is a ‘psycho’, and that he has been known to hit and kick people (staff) on purpose because he can’t control his temper, but that he knocked her arm accidentally earlier this morning and apologized.
Though he still had to go to the time out room at one point, where she sat with him and so did the Head teacher.
Now, depending how this goes, this could be where a young teacher’s scare acting skills could come in useful.
Till next time 🙂