Monday, 22 November 2010

Colouring-In Set To Soar As
Teachers Face Sticky Wicket

The number of difficult to complete colouring-in exercises set in schools is due to rocket as thousands of UK teachers struggle to stay awake for the Ashes Test series down under.

 With the start of The Ashes just days away the three biggest teaching unions are set to distribute thousands of 14 years + colouring-in sheets in an attempt to help teachers deliver their lessons after near sleepless nights, it was revealed yesterday.  With the majority of the five matches scheduled to be played between the hours of midnight and 7 am UK time – the time usually preferred by many teachers for sleeping  - unions hope the sheets will support their members as they struggle to stay awake at their desks.

 ‘We’ve tested the sheets and they should take ages to do’, said Jonathon Barnard, General Secretary for SNATWU.  ‘We’re urging our members to start preparing their pencils now, if the pencils are blunt, or too short, the sheets may not work.’ He added ‘Teachers should make sure they’ve got plenty of blues, you can never have too many blues.’

The first Test is due to start on November 24th with the once every four years cricketing event causing havoc to normal sleeping patterns.  Without the colouring-in sheets thousands of teachers would have no option but to block-book computer rooms and set ‘title page’ activities.  For Teaching and Learning specialist Clayton Hughes it’s a worrying time.  ’Setting title page activities so close to Christmas could prove disastrous’ he said yesterday.  ‘I’d like to see much more being done in the field of tenuously linking videos to curriculum areas.’

Last month the government issued teacher guidance on how to construct plausible excuses for not having marked pupils’ work over the six week test series, and it’s hoped that last year’s recruitment drive Teach for the Tests will see thousands of unqualified trainees taking classes while their mentors get some much needed sleep.

These measures are welcomed by John Simpson, a volunteer for UK based charity Ashes Support, but he remains cautious:    ‘You have to remember that it’s been four years since the last time England were involved in a Test series in Australia.  Anyone that’s become a teacher within the last four years will be unfamiliar with the pressures of trying to teach after a sleepless night listening to Test Match Special on Radio 4.  We’ll be working very closely with our colleagues in Australia to support UK teaching professionals through what promises to be a very difficult time.’

A spokesman for the government said yesterday:  ‘We are very keen that standards in teaching and learning are not allowed to slip during the test series.  We very much welcome the increased provision of difficult to complete colouring-in exercises and dubiously appropriate DVDs, at what is bound to be a difficult time for teachers.

James Andrews, The Bitter Root: Educating the Wayward Scholar

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