11:44 Tuesday 14th August 2018

There are two classroom skills I've never been able to aquire. Warming, and timewasting.

Warmers are short classroom activities that serve no pedagogical function, but get the students "warmed up" and "in the right frame of mind" for the lesson proper. And I can't do them. I can't invent them on the spot, and I can't perform them from a book. My pattern is just to jump in and revise the previous lesson.

Timewasting is more important. If you've got 60 minutes assigned, and you're finished at 50, the sensible thing to do is finish at 50. But the all-powerful timetable (blessed be the holy schedule) says you've got to keep going, doing <i>something</i>, for another 10 minutes. And everyone's got the pretend, to themselves and each other, that the extra 10 minutes is spent in useful drilling, practicing, revision etc.

And I'm no good at that either. It's part of a general tendency - I can't make small talk, do makework projects, or shuffle the papers on my desk pretending to be catching up on some filing.

I'm fascinated by fakery - art fraud, lies, magic tricks, propaganda, ideology, even optical illusions. And I'm repulsed by deception - pranks, bloviation, empty rhetoric. But I can't <i>do</i> any of it.


  1. I'd use the extra ten minutes to do a review with the students, kind of like, what did they like about the lesson, what was challenging, and what would they like to learn more about. Or just do some stretches. I had an 8th grade science teacher do that--yoga to end the lessons. Made it a very fun class.

  2. The ten minute review is part of the lesson. The question is what to do when the review leaves you with ten minutes to spare.

    Bore yourself and everyone else with another review. Some of my colleagues do that. They think it looks professional.