Phil Revell


How’s your classroom management? How do you cope with the real challenges – Dylan being sick in the corner perhaps, or Tracey using the art scissors to make ad hoc alterations to Charlene’s French plaits?

In summer there are new distractions; the man cutting the grass outside the window and the afternoon sun sabotaging the lesson with golden promises of picnics, beaches and holiday fun. But for real grade 1 disruption there’s nothing to beat a wasp. Experienced teachers are only too aware that as soon as the buzzer enters the room the lesson plan may as well take wings and join the striped intruder as it wanders aimlessly around the class.

Some teachers can cope with this. Icily cool, they peer over horn rimmed spectacles as Dylan is stung by the largest wasp on the planet.

“Stop that ridiculous noise,” the teacher hisses, as Dylan faints and the class briefly contemplates a rush for the exit. In the event the kids stay on task because they are far worse things than a wasp in prospect if they so much as move a muscle.

But, for most of us, a lazily buzzing prowler spells chaos. There will be squeals and screams. Boys will itch to jump on desks with rolled up worksheets. When it decides to alight in Charlene’s hair they will be a clamour of advice, ranging from ‘Look out Charlene’ to Tracey’s suspiciously solicitous ‘Let me cut it out’ as she reaches for the scissors.

Praying for the insect to find its way back to the outside world is futile. You are supposed to be in charge of this situation and the only practical solution is to abandon the lesson and organise a hunting party. Corralling the timid and the hysterical into one corner, you then select one or two from the army of volunteer bounty hunters and set them to it.

Under no circumstances attempt to deal the dreadful blow yourself, that way lies humiliation. A supervisory role allows you to criticise Tracey’s technique and thereby maintain some semblance of control. Just hope no-one decides to pop their heads around the door at this point, to witness Dylan and Tracey climbing over the furniture whilst you cower in the corner with the rest of the class.

Once the dreadful deed is done and the striped buzzer has been reduced to a sticky smear on someone’s desk - ‘Oohhh I’m not sitting there’ - you can return to the lesson.

“Now then,” you say in your brisk ‘That’s enough nonsense’ voice.

“We were talking about Reincarnation, can you explain what that means Charlene?”

© 2010 Phil Revell