Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Q is for Quiz Masters

Welcome to my posts for the A to Z Challenge 2016.
This year, I am posting 
Special School Stories
 tales from either my time as a teacher or teaching assistant within classrooms in the U.K. or from my own school days growing up around the country.

When I began teaching, my first class was a made up of 30 children with birthdays all between March and August making them the youngest class of Year 1 children in the school and because of this expectations of their ability was sometimes seen as rather low by other teachers in the school.  They were however some of the most inquisitive pupils I have ever had the good fortune to teach and when they asked me questions I always tried to answer so by the time the summer term came around I knew that they had a pretty good general knowledge for their age.  Which is why when it was suggested that a fun end of school activity could be a general knowledge quiz I said of of course my class would like to take part.

"Are you sure, dear?  They'll be competing against the older years' teams even Year 6 children.  I'm not sure they'll be able to answer much." I was told.

"I think we'd still like to have a go," I replied and so it was decided that each class would field a quiz team of four children and in the initial rounds we would base questions on the year groups' syllabus to make it fairer.  General knowledge questions would come into play at round five.  The two lowest scoring teams would be knocked out after each round until there was a final round between the two top teams and a final winner was found.

In my class, we decided to have a mini tournament to decide who would be chosen as our team members and those four children who scored the highest would represent our class.  Our team consisted of three boys and one girl.  The quiz would be in two weeks time and from the moment they were chosen those four children were constantly asking their fellow class mates to "quiz" them! At break-times, going to each others' houses for tea, begging to stay in at lunch so they could read quiz books, they were so determined to do well.

"You can only do your best," I would say and "Remember two of you are still only five years old and two of you have only just turned six; the other teams are all older."

To which they would reply, "It's not your age that matters it's what you know, Miss!" as if maybe I didn't really understand what a quiz meant!!

A popular TV quiz programme at the time was The Weakest Link so one of the Year 6 teachers dressed up as Anne Robinson.  The children filed into the school hall to watch the quiz with the contestant teams seated behind tables around the sides of the hall.  I gave a big thumbs up to my little team and hoped that they would be able to answer some of the questions on the syllabus.  I really needn't have worried.  They blitzed their first and second round questions and remained in play.  I saw eyebrows raised by some members of staff.  Things continued to go well and they made it through to the first general knowledge round at which point even "Anne Robinson" looked slightly worried.

"These questions can be on anything," she said directly at me, "they're just mixed up. They're not age related."

I looked at my little team now pitted against the remaining teams all from the junior side of the school.

"Do you want to have a go at these harder questions?" I asked.  Four little heads nodded vigorously and the general knowledge questions began.

It was rather wonderful, I have to admit, to see those children shine.  Of course they knew where the prime minister lived, they could tell you the first man on the moon, they knew the correct order for the colours of the rainbow, they knew what flag they were being shown - in fact as one of them said very kindly to "Anne Robinson" - "It's alright, we can do harder ones if you'd like?" and so the undisputed winners of the whole school quiz turned out to be the ones who might not have been able to have a go in the first place :)

Now it's your turn to leave a comment about any time during school when the underdog came through or maybe your time being on a quiz team or even a TV show? Maybe it was your sports team that beat the odds to win?  Did your team win the debate despite unfair opposition? Or did you watch a child win the obstacle race even though they'd fallen over at the first hurdle?  Go on, you know I'd love to know :)


  1. Good for those little ones. Just goes to show you, doesn't it?

  2. I so enjoyed this story, Pempi!

  3. I was rooting for your little kids all the way. How fun! And I bet it helped them in life - they knew to "give it a go" no matter what. You instilled confidence (plus the knowledge during the year). As for me - I was always an underdog in sports and when I played tennis, I'd surprise myself and win sometimes. Just had to persevere. Excellent Q word today

  4. Love this story! I spent 15 years teaching "at-risk" students in the US and they were always surprising me just like this. Great job giving them the opportunity!

  5. Those young ones have no fear. They give everything there all and that is why the win! Lovely post for letter Q.I scrap 2