The Final Countdown Day 40

It’s the final countdown. I’ve calculated that its 40 days until I make my great escape from the classroom. There will be many things I will miss but, as I’m sure many teachers will agree, there seems to be so much more that I will be glad to see the back of.

Number Ten – Teaching Phonics

Today was the last straw. I hate English.

“OK. Let’s look at /ou/. How is this pronounced?”


“Correct but not today. What’s another way?”


“Well done. But not in today’s words. Any other ways?”


“No. That’s not…Oh hang on.. yes. It can be oo. Guess what? Not how we’re using it today. What’s the final way?”

Tumbleweed bounces across the classroom…….

“OK. It’s just ‘u’. Like in touch.”

“Hang on Miss. I thought ‘u’ could be ‘u’ or ‘oo’.”

“You’re right. But some clever arse, probably a Frenchman, decided centuries ago to make every English teacher suffer by creating an absurd phonics system. Stupid Harold Godwinson! Right, let’s look at this word.”


“Remember how /ou/ sounds today. Who wants to have a go?”

“Me! Cuttree?”

“OK. Have you ever heard that word before?”

“Yeah. It’s a tree you cut yourself on.”

“Anyone else?”

“Me! C-U-N-T-R-I. Coontrigh?”

Big sigh. “What is another way of saying ‘y’ at the end of words”


“Because I want you to be able to say the word.”

“No Miss. My answer is ‘y’.”

“Well your answer would be wrong. It’s ‘ee’.So anyone else? Maybe splitting it into syllables will help.”

Next batch of tumble week appears……


“Thank you so much Father Jack!”

Today’s blog has been brought to you by the vowel digraph /ou/.

See what made the list the other day when I lost count of where I was at The Final Countdown Day 41

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