Thursday, June 30, 2011

Don't mess with Teacher!

Final day of school for 2010-2011 academic year! Yipee. Our year is always finished off with a Fancy Dress party. So I dressed up in the only costume that I had at home, namely a school uniform from "Our House-The Musical".
I know, I know, I should have brought it back  to the AGM last week, but I didn't get there. I'll bring it back next week, I promise, Rita!
One of my bright sparks, who is heading onto Secondary School in the autumn, dressed up in his uniform which was ripped to shreds. His sign read
Don't mess with Teacher.
And that's not maybe!
 I'm thinking of getting this photo enlarged and putting it on my classroom door. Then it will put the frighteners on my new students as they enter next year!

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I just want to point out that my classroom in in this state because it was the control centre for the school party! It was cleared out before we left!

Troubled Waters

Our colleague, who is out on maternity leave arrived into the school yesterday. Her due date is July 5th....but she brought her week old daughter Roisín with her! In fact, Roisín was born on the day that her mom was due to start her maternity leave. Thankfully her doctor had ordered her to go out three weeks early so she was at home when it all kicked in! Imagine if she had been at school! We would have been boiling make cups of tea to calm our nerves!
Another friend of mine hadn't been so lucky. She was standing in front of her class teaching away, when.....whoosh! Her waters broke!
I remember being horrified when she told me her story and asking how the class reacted.
She replied,
"Oh I teach Junior Infants. That happens every day, so no-one passed the slightest bit of remarks!"

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Hands off my handbag.

It's that time of the year again, the annual teacher bashing. Once again teachers' presents have come under fire. This year the charity group Crosscare have asked that kids do not give their teachers presents, but rather they are to donate the money to them. Now I do agree that it is a very noble and worthwhile cause. Yes, they could make much better use of the money than we do of "scented candles and soaps". It's just very ironic that this is the week it was revealed, that many executives of our cash-strapped semi-state bodies were awarded bonuses of thousands of euro.
Did Crosscare ask them to donate the appreciation of their job well done? Did they heck as like!
Today was our second-last day of the school year. I received two  presents.
The first is a lovely handbag, in a neutral colour, which will go with lots of things in my wardrobe.
I love a child who knows me so well!

And the second?
It was a bottle of white wine, which I chilled as soon as I got home. It has subsequently been cracked open and I am now sipping it as I lie back on my couch watching Wimbledon!
Roll on tomorrow and holidays. I know this is going to be a great summer. I can feel it in my water!

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Sign of the Times.

Warning signs are put up to do just that......warn us of danger and prevent an accident. I almost crashed Roxy this morning on the way to school, and all because of this sign. I couldn't believe my eyes ( which aren't great at the best of times!) After all
  • It is June, a summer season.
  • We have just passed Midsummers Day.
  • This weekend was very pleasant weather wise.
  • I am about to get holidays from school......
And this is the sign that appeared at the end of my road this morning.

Do the meteorologists know something that we don't? Is there another Ice Age on the way this week? All I can say is
Global Warming, me arse!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

New balls please!

Don't you just love Wimbledon? Well I do. Tennis is the only sport that I will watch every day, for two weeks. It's always a source of amusement to me that the two national sports of England, namely cricket and lawn tennis, are played on grass and require sunshine. It invariably spills rain! Wouldn't happen at the Dubai Open!
A group of us went there in 2003 ..... I think. As was typical of the Arabs, they organised a world class tournament, paid the top tennis players a fortune to take part, but unfortunately overlooked one little detail. The locals had no interest in tennis and the ex-pat population was very limited. It was being beamed out over the world, so it wouldn't look good for them if the stadium was empty. So one of the Sheiks bought all the tickets......and gave them out for free! Happy days. That is why we made the hour's trip from Abu Dhabi to Dubai.

Now this is what I call proper tennis weather! Are you paying attention Wimbledon?

But even with free tickets you can see how crowded it was!!!

I'm loving the lady in the front wearing the veil...and the jeans!

The top seed was of course Roger Federer. He was last onto court that evening.
Hence the grainy picture!

None of us gave his opponent much attention. After all he was just some young whippersnapper. What was his name? Oh yes....Rafael Nadal!!!
I can't believe that I didn't even take a photo of him, I had never even heard of him way back then! And now he is the main reason I watch the tennis. How we have both came on in the world over the past 8 years!!!
Can you imagine Wimbledon giving away free tickets to see a Federer-Nadal match? Nope, me neither.

I was watching Nadal on tv the other day and he whipped off his top to reveal......

A Farmer's Tan!!!
His tan only goes up to the top of his arms and then he is pasty.......ripped, but pasty!
What's that all about?
I thought as a Spaniard he would be tanned all over.
Alas, another image shattered. Sigh!

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Testing Time!

It's that time of year again.....end-of-year assessments, or the SUMMER TESTS as the kids call them. It's a time all teachers dread as
 (a) You have to write/correct the dam things!
(b) What did I actually teach this year?
(c) What did the kids actually learn?

Thankfully the majority of the little dears did very well, so I feel I earned my money! Of course there are always a few "gems" in the mix. 

1. Why is Daniel O  Connell known as "The Liberator"?
We had spent three weeks on good ol' Daniel (after first pointing out that he is not a singer from wee Donegal!). We went into great detail about how he fought hard to rid Ireland of the Penal Laws in the 1800's and how he got Catholic Emancipation for the 97% of the population that were Catholic.
Answer: He freed the Jewish people from Hitler.
Quess the kid mixed up the last two topics in history. Sob!

2. Name three people who signed the 1916 proclaimation on the steps of the G.P.O?
Ray Charles!
How would he see where he had to sign???

And in honour of the week that's in it....

3. Name the two Irish chieftains that fled from Ulster in 1607 during The Flight of the Earls?
John Mc Enroe.
You can't be serious!
The Smart-Alec who gave the last two answers is re-sitting it!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A.I.M high!

Friday saw me boarding the train for Killarney along with twenty two fellow Leixlip Musical and Variety Group'ers.
Hence forth to be known as L.M.V.G.ers.
The reason for this mass exodus? We were joining the other 800 odd musical society members from all over Ireland for the annual AIMS awards. They are the EXACT same as the Oscars (ahem), where amateur musicals are adjudicated and nominations are put forward for numerous categories. This year Leixlip's production of "Our House" had been nominated in three categories
Best Choreography
Best Stage Management....of which I was part of the team
And Best Overall Show.
Needless to say we were a tad excited.
We arrived at our hotel in one piece, having survived the Train Olympics.
No point explaining what went on, you had to be there!
I was so looking forward to a weekend away, where I could completely forget about anything to do with school.
So why am I dressed in a school uniform??

It makes perfect sense really! Friday night is Fancy Dress. So what else would we dress up in, only the costumes from "Our House" and go wandering around the pubs of Killarney. I'm raging I wasn't asked for I.D. not even once!

Saturday night was a much classier night (maybe, maybe not) where we scrubbed up fierce well!

Someone from another society commented on the fact that we were the best looking group there. Judge for yourself!

It was then onto the main business of the night, the Awards Ceremony.
We didn't win Best Choreography.......Boo!
We didn't win Best Overall Show......double boo!
But we DID win Best Stage Management.....Yipee!
Here are some of the backstage crew with our (!) trophy.

Celebrations lasted until, oh about a million o'clock. But we were up and ready to catch the train back on Sunday, looking as bright and beautiful as when we arrived. Well, maybe not!

I think I'll be recovered in time for next year!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Promises, promises!

The catechist arrived in class today. God be with the days when such a visit would strike fear in all our hearts. The kids had to know the answers to numerous questions off by heart and recount all bible stories. Nowadays its very relaxed and it's more of a chat with the kids, with a few questions thrown in, just to make such us teachers are doing our job.
He was really nice to them. Of course the topic of conversation was the Sacraments. Firstly they discussed the ones they have already received. Next up was marriage! He said to W
"You know the way you will probably fancy a girl in a few years?"
W flashed a grin and said
"I will."
"And maybe she will fancy you back."
"She will."
"Oh, you're a very confident young man!"
"I am!"
Just to let you know, W is our Justin Bieber lookalike. His confidence is due to the fact that he is already beating the girls off! So there is no "maybe" about it!
Then it was onto Holy Orders.
He was telling them all about what is involved in becoming a priest. They were very interested in the fact that he had to make three promises. There was no problem with the first two. Then he said the immortal words.
"The third vow is one of celibacy. Does anyone know what celibacy is?"
My heart stopped and I glanced up quickly from the copies I was correcting at my desk.
He can't seriously be asking them that! He has no idea what he's letting himself in for.
Half of the class (the innocent half) were trying to figure out the answer. The other half were looking at him saying to themselves
Is this a trick question? He can't seriously be asking us that!
One of the former replied
"Does it mean that you promised to work really hard?"
"No, not exactly."
Quite the opposite. It means he promises to be redundant!
"Anyone else have any idea what it means?"
S had enough at this stage and put up his hand. My heart sank
Here goes. But you did ask for it!
"Father, it means that you have to keep yourself out of trouble."

Monday, June 13, 2011

Why do you ask such hard questions first thing on a Monday morning?

We started off Monday morning by praying for all the students sitting the Junior and Leaving Cert exams. I shuddered when I heard the names of the siblings who are doing these exams, as I taught them. I'm thinking it's two years since they were in my class.....but it turns out to be five!
"Let's say a prayer for all those sitting exams this morning."
M thought for a moment and then asked
"Miss, does God always answer our prayers?"
Well that stuck me to the floor. My life seemed to flash before me.
Age 7: I prayed and prayed that I would get a Sindy doll for my birthday. I got a Barbie.
Age 14: I prayed and prayed that the boy I fancied would ask me out. ...he shifted my best friend instead!
Age 17: I prayed and prayed that I would do well in my Leaving Cert and get a place in Carysfort College.
Five years ago this month: I prayed and prayed and prayed that Dad's cancer would be treatable and he would be ok. There was nothing they could do.
One month later: I prayed and prayed and prayed some more that he wouldn't suffer unnecessarily. He was taken from us much quicker than we thought, but not in pain and with his dignity.

So as I looked at the expectant faces looking up at me I gave the most honest answer that I could.
"Yes God does always answer our prayers, but just keep in mind that sometimes that answer is"No"
Miss you Dad.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

What have U2 and a Duck-Billed Platypus got in common?

We were doing research into the freak of nature that is the duck-billed platypus. Before the lesson I was going over vocabulary that the class would need.
I wrote the word monotreme on the board and asked if anyone knew what it meant.
Blank faces. I wasn't surprised. The only reason I knew that
monotreme n : a mammal that lays eggs
was because I had a quick glance over the text beforehand!

So to help them out I broke up the word.
" Has anyone ever heard of mono- before?"
Brows were once again furrowed in exaggerated thought, as if the meaning could be squeezed out of the recesses of their brains by brute force.
But I can always count on my class comedian to break the silence.

"Eh, Miss, would that be Bono's brother?"

Bono with his dad, Bob, and his brother.......Norman.

Nah! Doesn't have the same ring to it!!!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Carlsberg don't do birthdays but if they did........

It was my niece's birthday during the week. Emma is the one that I brought on holidays to Turkey last year on the condition that when she got a job she would repay the favour to her auld aunt!
Keep that little piece of info in mind!
I was very good to her on hols. When she needed to do research or write up some of her thesis for her Master's Degree, I took myself off to the pool or to Foleys to allow her to work in peace.
I think that was very noble and self-sacrificing ! But that's me....always thinking of others!!!
With all the doom and gloom that is about regarding our economy you would sometimes think that it is impossible for anyone to get a job, never mind one that you are actually qualified for.

On her birthday Emma got the phone call. She had just landed her dream job! Copy-writer with TV3!!!
Now I have no idea what a copy-writer does, but I'm concentrating on the fact that it is in the glam world of TV.
I'm thinking Xposé here!
But it appears that I am not the only one who doesn't know what it is exactly. Emma has had to explain it to so many people over the past few days that she is in danger of turning into Chandler Bing!
So congratulations on the next step in life's journey Emma. It's nothing less than what you deserve so go Girl! I'm sooooooo envious.

And as for Turkey.......just sayin'!!!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of ......

A "For Sale" sign has gone up outside the Presbyterian Church in Mullingar. An increasing congregation has meant the need for a larger premises. It is a fabulous old building built c.1825 with a three-stage tower and wonderful round topped  windows. It is situated right in the centre of the town with acres of spaces around it. It has fantastic potential to be converted into a restaurant. Character, situation and ample parking space.......well, if you avoid the couple of graves dotted around the place!
My sister Geraldine and her two sons were discussing this very venture as they passed it the other day. Well actually Geraldine and Damien were discussing it, and Shane was walking his usual two paces ahead! The two had it bought, renovated and ready to open for business.
"We'll call it "The Church", suggested Geraldine.
"Nah. Too obvious," rejected Damien, "We need something with a bit more pzazz!"
Shane looked over his shoulder, raised a cynical eyebrow and said
"You could always call it......."The Holy Roast."
What a pun!
I have to buy the place just so I can call it that!
So I guess I better do the Lotto this weekend........and start praying really hard!

A social comment

Yesterday's blog got me thinking about different things children have said to their teachers.
A friend of mine was teaching in an inner city school in a disadvantaged area. It was tough going at times but she absolutely loved it. It was coming up to her maternity leave and she was a bit worried about how her class of six year olds would take to the fact that they would be getting a new teacher.
"Now, Class, I want to tell you that I won't be back after Easter. You will have a new teacher for a while, but she is very nice."
Wails and moans greeted her.
"Ah why Miss?"
"I'm going to have a baby."
The mood lightened and there were oohs and aahs. Then a little voice piped up.
"Dat's great Miss. Do ya know who de father is?"

I suppose the fact that it was her husband was a bonus!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The stories children tell....

Yesterday saw me out in the garden mowing the lawn, cutting the hedge and pulling weeds. It was a race against time, or should I say, against the weather.
The summer heatwave lasted all of......oh, two days!
 I gulped down a refreshing glass of water, as I had nothing else in the fridge.
"I better get to Tescos to get the shopping. There's more food in the fridge in Harvey Norman's".
I looked down at my grass stained trousers and shoes and thought
"Ah feck it. I'm too tired to change. Sure no one will see me there"
and off I sped.
I negotiated the aisles in record time and was soon back on my couch. I had met no one I knew. Phew!
Today I was on yard duty and ventured into the Infant play area.
"Miss Noeleen. I saw you in the shop yesterday", beamed a little cherub face.
My heart did a back flip.
"Really. Where?"
"In Tescos. Mammy said you must have left the garden in a fierce hurry!"
Mental note to self: No matter how far away from your school you live,you are never safe, even at the weekend.

Any parents of small children out there,  can I just warn you

I was in my first job after leaving college, teaching First class. One morning one of my little boys came in, about twenty minutes late. I had to do the big, stern teacher thing.
"You're late. What kept you til now?"
"Please Miss", he gulped, "Mammy and Daddy were playing in bed and they wouldn't let us get up til they were finished........."
"Okay, fine", I interrupted. "Go to your place."
I continued on with the class and forgot all about it, until five minutes before lunchtime. There was a knock on the door and when I answered it, who was there but the aforementioned mother with her child's lunch.
"I'm so sorry. I didn't get to make the lunches this morning. You know how things get on top of you sometimes."
I stood gawking at her for a moment, then grabbed the bag out of her hand, mumbled something incoherent and shut the door in her face before I burst out laughing into it!
I spent the next few minutes with my head in a cupboard hiding the tears that were streaming down my face.
Oh brag, brag Missus!
So what story is your little six year old going to tell Teacher tomorrow????

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Gone in 60 seconds.

The final wrap party for "Tom and Viv" was on Saturday night. I heard people commiserating with George, our director, and saying
"So sorry to hear that. Any word recently?"
I didn't know what had happened.
A new garage had just opened across the road from George's workplace. His jeep was due for a service, and admiring their bravery in taking on a new venture in these dire economic times, he decided to give them his business.
The day after they opened he had booked in for a service.
His jeep, not himself!
The place was really busy. There were several other customers milling around and a very loud man on his mobile shouting
"Do you want these four tyres or not?"
George, being the perfect gentleman that he is, could see that the receptionist was a bit harassed, so he mouthed
"I'm leaving the car for a service".
She smiled and beckoned for him to leave the keys down on the counter.
George walked across to his workplace and set about the day's tasks.
Thirty minutes later his phone rang.
The garage already. They can't be finished.
"Hello. Are you finished or is something drastically wrong with it?"
"Well eh rm", cough "It's just been stolen!"
It seems that the moment George left down his keys, Mr. Four-tyres Man, distracted the girl even further by asking for a form. When she turned back, he said into his phone
"So you don't want them now", apologised to the girl for wasting her time and left.
A few moments later the owner came into the office and said
"Why didn't George wait? I've just seen his jeep drive out. It wouldn't have taken too long to see to him".
"But he left his keys he......" GONE.

The guards were called in, as was George.  The guards were pretty sure they knew who it was. But as the CCTV cameras were due to be put in later that day, there was no evidence.
The previous week the same thing had happened in the BMW showroom in the area. They had CCTV footage. The guard took one look at it and said
"Just give me a minute"
took out his phone AND RANG THE GUY!
He was so well known to them, they had him on speed dial!!
"Listen here. We have you on CCTV stealing that BMW. You have 30 minutes to get it back here in one piece and they won't press charges."
Twenty minutes later he drove into the forecourt of the showroom, sauntered across to the office, dropped the keys on the counter in front of the opened-mouthed crew, smirked and walked out and into a waiting car.
And there was nothing they could do about it. They were just happy to get their month's takings back in one piece.
And they say crime doesn't arse!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Shouldn't be aloud!

My last blog about spelling mistakes seems to have opened a whole can of worms! It has divided the world into two distinct camps.
Teachers: "Oh I know exactly what you mean. I do the very same!
Everybody else: "Would you get a life! I'm never writing anything to you again!"
I can't help it. I find myself contemplating over the most bizarre situations. For example

Girls Aloud.

Now the minute I see their name in print my brain goes into overdrive.
A public park sign reads
No Dogs Allowed.
Therefore it should be
No Girls Allowed
or the opposite
Girls Allowed.
See, it's annoying.
This error was pointed out to Cheryl Cole recently and she didn't take it very well!
Cheryl, on hearing that the band's name has been misspellt all these years!

Text messaging is a nightmare for me!
I can't bring myself to write something like
C U 2nite?
Instead I will ponderously type out
I was wondering if there is any chance of us meeting up tonight?
By the time I'm finished it's usually too late.
One morning I got a note from a parent explaining why their child hadn't done their homework. It was written in text language on a bit of an envelope! Red rag to a bull.
I wrote underneath it in red pen, in my best up-down writing
Anyone who attended Master Brennan's class in Raharney school will know exactly what I mean!
Sorry. I can't read this. Can you try again?

I never got another note from that parent!

Thursday, June 2, 2011


The more years you spend in your job, the more certain skills get fine tuned. After ahem number of years teaching I can now spot a spelling or punctuation mistake at ten paces. I don't mean to do it, in fact I try to avoid it, but I just can't help it. It's like saying
Don't think of a purple kangaroo.
And you just did!
The harder I try to ignore written errors, the worse it gets. But things have reached crisis point and I realise that I now need help.
Today such a beautiful day I couldn't be bothered cooking, so I decided to have my tea out in a café. There are a couple in a nearby town so I took a quick peek at their displayed menus. I had a favourite in mind, but I recoiled in horror!
There, for all to see were
Main Course's
It put me right off. I'm sorry but I feel that if they are that careless writing their outdoor menu, then they might be equally careless while reading a recipe! So I went to the next café!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I predict a diet!

"And here is your free tape measure".
"What? I only came in for some hay fever tablets and a nail polish".
But I left the chemist with my complementary tape measure. It's part of a drive to get overweight/obese Irish people to get the finger out and whittle down their waists. It's a nicely coloured tape, with a large yellow portion, followed by an alarm-bell red section.
It's a bit like Weight Watching for Dummies. The instructions told me to wrap it not too tightly around my waist and if it went into the red section then.........time to close your mouth, and keep it closed.
The tape lay redundant in my bag for quiet a while. I rediscovered it the other day.
Okay. Time to bite the bullet.
I wonder how many calories in a bullet.
I wrapped it tightly around my waist, held my breath and took a glance.It was just bordering on yellow side.
Yippee! Time for a snack.
Then my bubble was burst.
Another look at the tape revealed that I had used the man's side......with quite a few extra inches on it.
Someone pass the lettuce leaves.
I thought you were supposed to leave the chemist feeling better than when you went in!