I will be the first to admit that the pastoral side of teaching is not always my strong point.  I see myself more as the geek than the caring kind.  As a result, form periods are always an issue for me.  There are resources provided in abundance, it’s just that they are not always appropriate.  Recently we had some time dedicated to bullying.  We had a word search on bullying.  These are intelligent sixteen year olds, so I had to admit (in a sarcastic voice) how nothing can stop bullying like a word search.  Instead I told them a story about a cat, our little cat.  She was destined to be put down due to her tendency to urinate everywhere.  This seemed a little bit harsh in my eyes and we asked the vet if we could take her home for a while to see if she got on with our own cat.  Of course she didn’t, cats tend to be grumpy with each other at the best of times.  We kept her anyway and discovered that she did not pee everywhere as expected.  In fact she was perfect, apart from a bit of anxiety.  It turns out that she used to be the bottom of the pecking order in a house full of cats.  She must have lived in permanent fear from bullying, scared to even venture anywhere even for the toilet.  From that story I swiftly moved on to the social structure of baboon groups.  The baboons took it all to a new level of geekness but eventually some sort of anti bullying message hopefully got through.

For other ideas for form periods I approached the lovely Sharon.  Being a year head, she is a little more experienced in all things pastoral.  To be honest I did not actually approach her, it was more a curiosity as to why we were going to charity shops looking for board games.  She revealed to me that they were to encourage bonding and socialising in a constructive way during form period.  Genius!

Today I tried it out with brilliant results.  We had fun, we played games.  One group discovered the ancient game of ‘Go’.  This two player game ended up with two teams of spectators seemingly engrossed in the game.  Another group threw themselves into scrabble while yet another group asked me, “what is Pictionary?”  Seriously!  Minutes later we were all shouting, “monkey?” “Cage?” “Monkey in a box?” “Monkey in a cage?”

Board games are good.  How often do we have the time to play board games, to get together with friends and be a little challenged while having fun?  I will, of course, never admit to the lovely Sharon how amazing her idea was.  Don’t worry, she does not seem to read this blog very often as apparently it is enough just to have to listen to me, but I will steal her idea and run with it.  I have drawn up my own little list of board games and will soon begin trawling the charity shops.

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