"My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together." “When I hear people say politics and religion don't mix, I wonder what Bible they are reading.” (Archbishop Desmond Tutu)

"And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, and to love kindness and mercy, and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6.8

"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Philippians 4.19

"Work out your salvation with fear and trembling." Philippians 2.12

Thursday, March 24, 2011

It's been one of those days ....

It is a sunny day. The windows at the Knowledge College are wide open and I have had a non-contact period and have been marking. Through the window have drifted the strains of the school "choir". It occurs to me that Abba's Voulez Vouz is an unusual choice. They sing it again. Badly. And again and again. Equally badly, shouted and off key. My teeth are on edge. I am a music lover. I ponder and weigh up the likely outcome of going over to the Hall and asking if they do requests with my preferred options being
a) Shut-the-f**k-up and
b) Do you know anything with a tune?

It has been one of those days.

All we ever do is write. (said as a whine.)

So today I do something different. To consolodate learning I devise a series of word puzzles where they have to find key words and phrases on the topics we have recently completed from the notes in their books. The instructions are on my power-point on the board.

I don't get it.

The instructions are on the board.

I still don't get it.

It would help if you opened your book and looked back over your work. Having a closed book puts you at something of a disadvantage with the task.

It's too hard. Why can't we copy?

Er ... because you don't like writing.

Marcus. Show me what you've done this lesson.

Marcus reluctantly shows me his exercise book. (This act is accompanied by much sighing at the unreasonableness of my request.) An hour's worth of work consists of one badly written and misspelled paragraph of three lines and three unattempted word puzzles inexpertly stuck in.

Why aren't these done?

I couldn't do them. They were too hard.

Where were you in your head when I went over the answers with the whole class?

I was here Sir, but I may of (sic) not bin (sic) listening.

You think?

(As I type, the music practice seems to have become one long drum solo. I feel a headache coming on.)

Yesterday I gave a colleague a lift home and we got to talking about kids inevitably.

... You know that kid with the made up name. Why do parents do that? I've a friend who teaches in primary and she's got a kid in her class called Baby Ted and another called Deisel.

I went to school with a Sidney Harbour and my wife had a clent called Russel Sprout.

Do you know I had that kid today who bit the Headteacher?

A kid bit the headteacher?

Oh yes. I think he had a spell in a psychiatric hospital after but he's back now. Totally bonkers.

A kid bit the headteacher and is back in school. The lunatics are running the asylum.


  1. Chuckling here, but not quite sure how you stay sane at times. Have you tried using word searches rather than puzzles? They're rather easier to solve as most kids seem to do them from a very young age in all sorts of contexts.

  2. The answer to all of which is, repeal the child labor laws and put the little buggers to work if they don't want to learn anything. I know it sounds antediluvian, but I'm quite serious about this. Even in less-affluent families in this modern world, kids spend their whole childhood being little parasites, coddled and catered to; it is no wonder that they thus come to school with no sense of obligation or responsibility, when they have none at home.

    I've just been reading through a great many recollections of life on the British home front in the excellent BBC archive "The People's War" - and over and over again, I was struck by how many people who contributed their memories said "I left school at 14 and went to work . . . "

    True, they were doing minor tasks and not paid much - but they were contributing to society in some way and to their own upkeep. In my view, much better than wasting enormous amounts of time and taxpayer's money dawdling away their days in a schoolroom that is merely a joke to them. To say nothing of the entirely needless mental anquish - and recriminations from parents and officials - visited upon conscientious teachers.

  3. Russ: you may bring out the latent right-wing tendencies in me which I try to hide under a veneer of liberalism. Why not bring back conscription?

    Perpetua: I have an aversion to word searches. They are the last bastion of the teacher who has no imagination - and the kids I was teaching are 14 years old. Thanks for visiting.

  4. I don't know about conscription - national defense is too important to be left to lunkheads - but kids who can't or won't learn to work with their minds would be a damn sight better off learning to work with their hands and their backs. Learning to actually do something useful!

    As it is, exactly what good is all this schooling going to do them in twenty years' time?

  5. No, the headteacher is still running the asylum. Just :)