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‘Sir’ is a state school English teacher in a big city in the UK. Prior to this he worked with children with a variety of Special Educational Needs, particularly those with behavioural and social problems. His teaching has been rated as ´Outstanding´ by Ofsted which means he once did a great job for 50 minutes. Save for a light dusting of fiction in order to protect the innocent (and indeed the guilty) anything recounted here is absolutely true. Otherwise, there will be some exciting political debate where everything Sir thinks is also absolutely true. Twitter: @seekingsir

17 June 2010


When you start teaching there is great maelstrom and debate about classroom body language. Interestingly, this varies enormously from teacher to teacher as each individual finds a style that works (or in some cases doesn’t) for them. Some, for instance, stand dominant at the front of class, some sit behind a desk, whilst others perch on its edge; some move around the room and ‘get down to desk level’ to help individual pupils whilst others call pupils to them at the front of the class. And so on…

Whilst we are debating the pros and cons of different approaches in good ‘student-teacher’ mode, a friend tells us that his preferred pose thus far has been to hook his thumbs through his belt loops and lean against the classroom wall. It must be like being taught literature by a notably pastier, half-Scottish Clint Eastwood. Worse still, he also concedes that he has developed a propensity to remove his tie during lessons - apparently this ‘just happens’ when his explanations are ‘heating up’ and he gets into ‘the teaching and learning zone’. In fact, as if to disgrace himself further, he actually added a ‘…man!’ to the last bit.

Obviously his school mentor was somewhat perturbed by his odd body language. Indeed, following one lesson observation, she apparently delighted in regaling the staff room with a detailed account of his unorthodox manoeuvres. She closed her account by turning to him and asking him whether he was sure that he really wanted to become a teacher or whether he’d ‘rather become a cowboy stripper’. Needless to say, the hesitation in his response did little to diminish the mockery.

* Following such a nadir, I am pleased to report that said teacher swiftly developed into a professional of outstanding quality; saloon swagger aside, his pupils are incredibly lucky to have him.

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