Words & phrases I have banned from my every day vocabulary.

There are words and phrases that I can no longer use in my every day vocabulary outside of school. It’s like when you say something that your mum would say, without thinking. This is what I catch myself doing on a daily basis, exempt, I’m not saying things my mother says, I’m saying things a teacher would say! And it’s really annoying. Really annoying. This needs to stop.

1. Differentiation.

‘I can only see meat dishes. Where is the differentiation? We have two vegetarians coming to the dinner party. Plus a vegan and Jenny from next door is allergic to gluten. Thank goodness OFSTED haven’t been invited here tonight.’

2. Progress.

‘Your progress is amazing. I only asked you to paint the door frame, but in the hour you’ve painted the door frame and the skirting boards. Not only did you understand the learning objective, you even had time to do the extension activity too.’ 

3. How rude.

Said in an abrupt, annoying middle class accent,  (My Yorkshire accent suddenly forgotten), to anyone and anything that doesn’t do what I want, how I want. Including my toaster. ‘You’ve burnt my toast. How rude!’.

4. EAL

‘Sorry, I don’t really understand your accent. Are you EAL?…No. Oh right, you’re from Newcastle. Lovely. That’s nice.’

5. SEN

‘I’ve explained to you 6 times now, I want to switch my energy supplier. Do you not…? Oh sorry, you must be SEN. I’m so sorry. I’ll print off some pictures for you to help with your understanding, if you still don’t understand, that’s ok, we’ll try again with a 1:1 TA.’

6. High ability.

‘Oh, yes, he’s definitely high ability, did you see how he could just remember our food order with no support? Amazing. But we must think how we can challenge him when he takes our dessert order. We don’t want him coasting.’

7. APS

We’re moving, our house has gone up in value so we can afford a bigger house.’

‘Yes, but has it really gone up in value? I mean, by how many APS points? A house of that age and ability should have gone up by at least 16 APS points. Anything under that and it’s not even an achievement.’

To speak or not to speak… that is the question.

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So tomorrow will be a week since I had ‘the talk’ with Steph. I didn’t feel like I could write an update immediately as I wanted to see how everything panned out. On Friday I would have said I had opened a can of worms and I should not have said anything.

Basically, Steph took ‘the talk’ the wrong way, got very defensive when I said I didn’t really appreciate her talking like that to me in front of other people (she said there was no one else in the room), I kept saying it wasn’t what she was saying, it was just the approach. Again, lawyer Steph came out and was twisting, turning and batting back the conversation. She did apologise (half heartedly) then flounced out of the room. I thought that was that, until she came to see me at lunch time. She said she was a little offended about our ‘meeting’ that morning and was annoyed that I had made her look stupid by talking to the headmistress about that bloody form. I was trying to diffuse the situation as I could feel the situation getting out of hand, and something was being made out of nothing. I kept saying, ‘Steph, I agree with you…You are the expert here, I’m only an NQT…’ She was going around in circles so I just said, ‘look, we spoke at 8am this morning, it’s now dinner time. We’ve had the talk, it’s over now.’ To which she replied ‘it’s far from over.’

Cue me thinking about it all weekend, regretting telling her how she had made me feel. Everyone I spoke to said I did the right thing- but I was brave, because they wouldn’t have the guts to do it (both teachers I confided in said they were intimidated by Steph). Sunday night, I felt like that school kid who is scared to see the school bully in school. I was nervous and kicking myself that I had gone the wrong thing. I love my school, get on with everyone and thought I had messed everything up. I saw her Monday as she had to go through some art plans as she took my class for art during my ppa this week. I was slightly shaking when i spoke to her and straight after I went into the staff room to find Steph and another TA. The room went quiet as soon as I walked in. Wonder what (or should I say who?) they were talking about?

Anyway, with each passing day, the tension was diluted. After avoiding each other all week, we actually sat on the same diner table in the staff room today, and we communicated- yes, we actually talked. About coleslaw. And it’s slowly getting back to normal and yes, with hindsight, I am pleased to say that speaking up this time was the right decision. I set my authority. I set my expectations of how I wanted to be treated and I am proud of my confidence.

One thing is for sure, Steph knows that I will not take her belittling me and talking down to me in public ever again, and for me, after how crap I felt after she spoke down to me last week, is only a good thing.