"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

Monday, March 19, 2012

Staying calm in the face of teenage idiocy

My Yr 10s had their mock exam on Friday. I have seven Yr 10 groups but I couldn't face starting the marking marathon over the weekend and so I arrived at the Knowledge College this morning with no sense of how they did. That blissful state of affairs continued until the last lesson of the day when I had a bottom set Yr. 10.

"I couldn't do most of the questions on that exam." Sam doesn't look at all bothered. "You didn't teach us half that stuff."

That's right.

Sam looks puzzled which, come to think of it, is Sam's standard look.

I've only taught you this year. Two thirds of the "stuff" on the paper was Yr 9 work and so was taught to you by Mrs. Singh or Miss Wildman.

"You didn't tell us Yr.9 stuff would be on the paper."

Do you remember that orange revision booklet I gave you to take home and work from? It had all the topics in.

"Do you mean this one?"


"I left it in my exercise book."

You don't say.

The general consensus in the class was that they didn't do well.

"I did O.K." Ade is the eternal optimist. He'll have done badly.

"Oh well' it's only a mock. It doesn't matter."

I decide not to bite. On this matter I already sound like a scratched record (a term in these days of C.Ds that no one under twenty understands any more).

You have a real exam on May 31st ...

"You mean that wasn't the real one? We have to do another?

... and this one certainly does count. You can't afford to do badly so as soon as we finish this topic we're going to start revision in class.

I take the register.

"Sir, where's Liam?"

Ah yes, Liam. Liam has some additional learning needs and so took the exam in a small nurture group. This means support staff will have seen what he was writing as he was writing it. This morning his Head of Year met with his Dad and showed him Liam's answer paper. At this point I remained in that state of blissful ignorance which I believe should be available to all teachers via medication on demand and had no idea what had happened.

Liam's in isolation.


No idea I lied. I had, in fact now been shown Liam's answer paper. Question 3b: Outine the reasons someone might give for not believing in God. Liam's answer: "Because it's all a load of bollocks." Question 6b: Outline the First Cause Argument for God's existence. Liam's answer: "What a fucking waste of time this is." And so on. I saw Liam before registration before he was picked up for isolation. He looked sheepish.

You and I are no longer friends.

He looked mortified.

Silly, silly boy. I think we should bring back transportation to the colonies.


  1. Transportation to the colonies. No, thank you new have enough of our own.

  2. Drugs for teachers on the NHS. Seems perfectly reasonable.

  3. I have just stumbled upon your blog, and I find the hilarity a beautiful reminder of what I miss about being in the classroom, but also the reason I left the classroom to take up full-time training for Stipendary Ministry.

    Keep laughing!