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2005-02-14 - 11:24 a.m.

I can't believe it. I'm going to be spending the next four weeks after half term in Joyce Grenfell Country.
I'm in a year two class in an extremely posh and rich area of Kenilworth. The children are all frighteningly clever and working a good year above themselves. The headteacher even looks a little bit like Joyful Joyce - very prominent front teeth - but best of all, the most mischievous boy in the class is called George! I couldn't keep a straight face when, in the first lesson, I heard the teacher break off and say "George - don't do that". And I don't think I'll be able to tell him off without giggling, either.
When I say the children are frighteningly clever, I mean they cheerfully write stories which are several pages long, beautifully handwritten, perfectly spelled and faultlessly punctuated, not to mention full of exciting long words and descriptive language. They're only six. Any one of them in any other school would probably be classed as Gifted and Talented. They can also swim (there's a pool in the school), dive and pick things up from the bottom. It's hard to believe that German children of the same age haven't even gone to school yet. They scare me rigid! I wonder if I'd fail the course by teaching a year four syllabus to a clas of year twos?! Comfortingly, though, a few of them aren't sure how many legs an ostrich has (when I questioned a drawing of a four-legged ostrich, having mistaken it for a giraffe, the girl added two more legs. Novel.)
They have Ofsted for the first three days of my placement, so I'm not going to get to teach properly for a while. The whole school is in a horrible flap about it and seem terribly disorganised, and I can only hope that it's down to all the extra work they've had to do. They're certainly thankful for the help - I entertained the class (improvising completely) while the teacher was out of the room for something, and when she came back, instead of taking over, she settled down and did some marking! I wasn't sure what to do - I hadn't even been told to take charge of the class!
So, watch this space after half term for accounts of the weirdest placement stories yet...


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