(When reading this is might help if you have the voice of Tony Blackburn in your head counting down ‘Pick of the Pops’…know your demographic!)

There are many distractions that can ruin a lesson, these rarely come from something that is within the teacher’s control; some of them seem ridiculous but what you must always remember is that to a fourteen year old child ANYTHING is better than working!

  1. A fight at lunchtime.

This will render the students unable to talk about anything else for the rest of the day. If your lesson is the one that immediately follows the fight you may as well abandon all pretence of trying to conduct the lesson as planned and simply give it over to excited students describing what they saw (or more likely, what they have heard from someone else and are now exaggerating to the power of ten).

  1. A dog on school premises.

No doubt many of the students have dogs; they will all have seen a dog at some point in their lives but their reaction to a dog running past a classroom is akin to the reaction of Native Americans when the Pilgrims first disembarked from the Mayflower. They will point and laugh, scream and shriek. It will be impossible for them to concentrate because of this bizarre occurrence. The dog will become the main focus of the lesson. Any attempt to get the students back on task will only work for a nanosecond until someone (usually a girl) pipes up “I hope that dog isn’t still on the loose”…

  1. A change in weather conditions

All weather conditions can induce panic (if it is hot someone needs to go to the nurse because they are dehydrated; if it is cold there is a clamour to be allowed to keep on voluminous padded coats and huge scarves); however none induce panic in the same way as thunder and lightening. Someone in the class always has an Uncle who knows someone who was struck by lightning (cue long telling of highly unbelievable story) and the class can easily waste a lesson screaming in horror and insisting that you cover up all metal objects in case of a ‘strike’. (N.B you can get round this one by sticking on a DVD and turning the sound up to 11, this can also be used as a good repost to the SLT when they ask why you’re watching the fourth DVD of the day ‘It’s the thunder and lightning Headmaster, I’m just trying to drown it out to calm down the kids’).

  1. Police Car seen in School.

This only narrowly missed out on the number one spot and is a guaranteed lesson ruining event. If a police car is seen coming into the school gates, the rumours fly round the school as to who is the student about to be ‘lifted’. If you teach in a less than salubrious neighbourhood the potential ‘liftees’ could be endless and can lead to wholesale panic amongst the shoplifting crew in Years 10 and 11. Lessons will be filled with chatter about who has been seen sprinting away over long jump pit and who has been (allegedly) wrestled to the ground by the ‘pigs’ over a stolen Curly-Wurly.

  1. Wasp in Classroom

Number one for the fourteenth year in a row, a wasp in the classroom is nothing less than a moment of mass hysteria. If you spy a wasp before the lesson begins you must get it out at all costs. Invest in some heavy duty fly and wasp killer, now is not the time to worry about creature killing karma, you need that sucker dead, and dead fast! The buzzing of a wasp can turn students into germ warfare experts “I know someone who had an anaphylactic shock Miss”, “They go for you if you’re frightened” and my favourite one “They can carry Ebola you know Sir”. The screams that follow the realisation of ‘wasp in classroom’ would be the envy of any horror film director, hoping to provoke a terrified reaction from his audience. There is only ever one solution for ‘wasp in classroom’. Evacuate the room.

Teacher X



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