Monthly Archives: September 2013

It’s Not Easy Being Green


After a fairly depressing few days (weeks) of battling with teenagers, I couldn’t bring myself to blog about teaching this week.

Having said that, however, this morning I was at a really inspiring assembly about reading. Yes, really.  And it got me thinking about where my love of all things literary came from, stories particularly.  As a child, I always looked forward to bedtime stories (my love of sleep was also present from an early age), and the ones my Dad told were spectacular. He created his own stories, based around the life of a character called Freddy – a frog who lived in the pond at the bottom of our garden, had a racing driver for an uncle, and whose favourite snacks were chocolate covered flies or crispy lily pads.

Therefore, in honour of my dad – and the memory of Freddy the Frog cheering up a horrible week – here are my top ten facts about frogs.  Ribbit.

  1. Frogs can see forwards, sideways and upwards all at the same time. They never close their eyes, even when they sleep.
  2. Certain frogs can jump up to 20 times their own body length in a single leap.
  3. Frog bones form a new ring every year when the frog is hibernating, just like trees do. Scientists can count these rings to discover the age of the frog.
  4. One type of desert frog can wait as long as seven years for water by surrounding itself in a type of transparent bag that becomes its first meal once the rain comes.
  5. The golden dart frog is the most poisonous frog on earth and the skin of one frog could kill up to 1,000 people. a single touch of its skin can kill ten humans.
  6. Frogs can retract their eyes and when they do, they bulge inward in their mouths and help them swallow their food.
  7. A frog can only see moving things. It could literally starve to death with live prey in front of it if the prey never moved.
  8. The North American Wood Frog is the only species of frog found above the Arctic Circle and in winter it actually freezes, its heartbeat stops, and it thaws again in spring, coming back to life.
  9. A tadpole is also known as a polliwog (like Pokemon!)
  10. Australian Tree Frogs emit a chemical substance that heals wounds on humans.
English: A green frog on a palm frond.

English: A green frog on a palm frond. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Teaching: The first week


“Those who know, do. Those that understand, teach.” 
― Aristotle

“It would seem that you have no useful skill or talent whatsoever,” he said. “Have you thought of going into teaching?” 
― Terry Pratchett

My first two weeks as a ‘proper’ teacher have pretty much been spent with my mental state bouncing between these two quotes. I’ll teach a lesson that goes really well, and feel on top of the world, love my job. But an hour later I’ll feel like I have no idea what I’m doing, that I’m failing my students and wonder why I ever thought I could succeed as a teacher. 

On reflection, I think (hope) part of this is down to lack of experience, particularly in finding methods that work consistently with the majority of students. This, coupled with the shock of teaching back to back lessons all day every day, means that by the end of the afternoon I am often lacking in the mental capacity to walk and talk at the same time, let alone teach a Year 9 class about classical music. Teaching, I’ve learnt, is all about stamina. As an experienced colleague pointed out to me in the staffroom, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint – have a cup of tea and sit down for five minutes.” This is the adage I’m trying to bear in mind as I end my second week of teaching. There’s no point staying up all night planning super extravagant lessons if you then don’t have the energy to teach the lesson or explain the concept coherently.

On this weary Thursday afternoon as I contemplate an entire weekend of lesson planning, I am leaning more towards the Terry Pratchett end of the scale. I’ve been assured it will get easier. Fingers crossed.