Wednesday, September 28, 2011

School of Rock

Today's story comes courtesy of a colleague who teaches a more junior class.

She was teaching about the Stone Age people and how they lived. The class were enthralled in a DVD which showed a re-enactment of their lives. It showed them going a huntin' and a gatherin'. There was footage of their caves all decorated with  paintings. The chidren were particularly fascinated with the fact that there was life before electricity, mobile phones and Wii.
How on earth did they pass the time?
One little girl was looking very perturbed!
"You know the way they had no electricity or television back then...."
"That's right."
" did they manage to video them?"

Monday, September 26, 2011

How does your garden grow....

I was having a discussion today with one of my pupils who has a slight problem with speech and vocabulary.
We were talking about gardens and I was trying to elicit the word "vegetables".
Teacher: Do you have a garden at home?
Pupil: Yes.
Teacher: And what grows in your garden?
Pupil (without a moment's hesitation): Weeds.
Hmm. Guess his garden is the same as mine!


This is Mikey Joe, who sits on my doorstep awaiting my return every day!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Always dance as if no one is looking.

What to do on a Saturday afternoon?
Well this Saturday myself and Theresa headed to Dublin to see Thriller Live, the musical based on the music of Michael Jackson.
We didn't go alone. We brought Theresa's two daughters and the nine year old daughter of another friend,.
It's not that Martina is an uncaring mother! The reason she couldn't go was because she was in Trinity  College, studying for her PhD.  A noble cause I know, but I still think our idea of how to spend a Saturday afternoon was much more fun!
On the way into the Grand Canal Theatre we broke it gently to the girls that we would be up dancing in the aisles during the show. After all we had years of practise in The Beehive disco......many, many moons ago.
There were  gasps of  horror, coupled with shrieks of
"You can't be serious. If you do that, we're walking out."
We pointed out that as they were all well under the age of being able to drive, they were stuck with us and we could do damn well what we liked!
The show started and sure enough, about fifteen minutes in, the audience were called upon to stand up and dance.
Theresa and I didn't need a second invitation. We were up and grooving with the best of them.
Hey, I've done enough panto to realise the importance of audience participation!.
The girls were cowered down in their seats, covering their faces. Then Ellie Anne uttered the immortal words.
"OMG! I am so embarrassed.....and I'm not even your child!"

Ah bless. they're still young. They will soon grow up and realise how to have real fun. How wonderful to reach the age when you don't give a toss about whether other people are looking at you or not.
Just do it!

The Girlies and I.....before they disowned me!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Stress relief

One of the little quaint things about working in a rural Irish school is that every September kids take the day off to attend the Ploughing Championships.
One of my girls, K, arrived in this morning after such an absence. In order to sweeten Teacher she had a present for me!

Anti-Stress Kit

  • A rubber to make all those mistakes go away
  • A cent so you will never be completely broke again
  • A marble for those days when you've lost your own
  • An elastic to help you stretch beyond your limits
  • A string to hold it all together when it seems to be falling apart
  • And a chocolate treat to remind yoy that someone cares about you!
I feel like framing it with the message
In case of emergency, break glass.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Kids never fail to surprise me.

Today was one of those horrible wet days, even worse when you teach in a school that has no PE hall. The kids....and me, have to stay in the classroom at breaktime. Everyone is climbing the walls come eleven o' clock.
At breaktime, the kids had "Golden Time".
A euphanism for "Keep yourself busy and don't bother me."
They were all busily playing draughts, reading library books, gluing glitter and themselves onto pieces of card. I saw three of the sixth class boys huddled around a book, totally engrossed in it.
Being the suspicious type I made my way over to them. What I encountered rooted me to the spot. I never in my wildest dreams thought that 12 year olds would be reading this.

They were spending their "Golden Time" working through........
Maths Wise: Junior Cert Maths
Yes, you've read right. Primary school kids completing secondary school work.
They looked up at me expectantly and I just said
"Excellent. Well done"
and made my escape before they asked me how to do something!

I was very good at Maths in my day! But as Jane Fonda used to advocate
"Use it or lose it".
I can add, subtract, multiply and divide at top speed, but please don't ask me trigonometry, calculus or theorems!

Thankfully the sun came out for 12.30 break and they rushed out to the playground to be kids again!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Say what you see!

  I was on yard duty today when one of the new Infants came up to me.
"Miss, that girl was nasty to me."
"Oh that's not nice. Which girl?"
"I don't know her name yet. But she is the one with the polka-dot face."

What a perfect description!
Posed by model!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

History repeats itself.

Break my heart once, shame on you.
Break my heart twice, shame on me.

Does one ever forget the pain of unrequited love? That sensation of butterflies in your stomach when you think you might get a mere glimpse of him, even if it is from a distance. The pang of pain when you realise that he doesn't even know that you exist. The nights spent sobbing into your pillow because you've heard rumours that link him with another girl.
Ah yes, Gary Barlow you have a lot to answer for. You broke my heart in the days of yore!
Mine, and those of a million other girls.

I even lost friends in the the great Gary vs Robbie debate. Okay, so he wasn't as cheeky as Robbie and was known as the chubby one of Take That, but I could see beyond that and recognise the real beauty that lay within.

But I grew up and matured. I look back on those days with a rye smile and think
"Bless. Those girlie crushes were all a part of growing up and preparing me for the real world. Falling for a guy that you only see on the telly or in a magazine is the stuff of adolescents. Thank God I've outgrown all that stuff and can differentiate between reality and fantasy."

Autumn has been heralded in with the departure of the swallows and the arrival of The X-Factor. Miles of gossip columns have been filled with the news of the replacement of Simon Cowell with my very own Gary.
I have been watching it on and off over the last couple of weekends. Today, being a lazy Sunday saw me catching up on last night's auditions. As I looked at Gary I suddenly felt those same old butterflies begin to flutter. It suddenly struck me.
Damn. That man is HOTTER than ever!
Yes, the years have been extremely kind to Mr. Barlow. Definately yummy-Daddy material.
So much for having matured over the decades. I am once again reduced to a giggly heap of hormones.

He will definately make the long cold winter nights more bearable! But it will all end in tears again, I just know it!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

My pet hates #1

Top of my list goes to
1. Smart arsed search engines.
You know what it's like. You're in a hurry and you have to google something. Okay, so maybe you're in too much of a rush and your fingers fumble over a few of the letters on the keyboard. But what pops up???

Oops! Internet Explorer could not find musshroooms.
Did you mean mushrooms?

What's with the condescending "Oops"?

What it's really saying is
"What sort of a f***ing moron are you? There are no such things as musshroooms. They're called feckin' mushrooms ya gobshite!"

Then it gets on a roll. It sneers....
"We have listed the websites for mushrooms. But if you are really thick, click on this link for musshroooms.

"But you won't get any sites there, because there are no such things as musshroooms. How many times have I to tell you, you imbecile!"

Sometimes I feel like clicking on the link, just to prove a point.
"See, you annoying machine. I really DID want musshroooms. SO THERE!"
But I don't, as the damn thing is always right.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Strictly Irish Dancing.

I love it when you're flicking through the channels and you find a little gem of a programme. Last night I stumbled across Strictly Irish Dancing! I know I know, its sounds like as much fun as sticking pins in your eyes but believe me, it was riveting stuff, honest.
I tuned in when they were discussing the costumes, fake tans and curly-wurly wigs. I just don't get it. I agree whole-heartedly with one of the interviewees. He was saying that a competitor in the World Championships would train as hard as an Olympian athlete. Yet they don these over the top costumes that make an entrant in "Tiaras and Tantrums" look like Shirley Temple. To me, they look like cartoon versions of themselves.
Ah I remember my Irish dancing days, back when it was as sexy as a slap in the face with a wet fish! I was the proud owner of an Irish dancing costume. Green, of course, with an embroidered Celtic design.

Many years later I was rushing home from college. There was a girl in front of me with a denim jacket embroidered with a similiar design. I thought it was the most beautiful item of clothing I had ever seen.
I was obviously still thinking about it 15 years later in 1999! We were in the staffroom and for some reason I mentioned my dream jacket. Angela, a colleague and great friend, replied
"I used to make Irish dancing costumes. I'll do it for you as a present seeing as you are moving to Abu Dhabi."
It was like winning the lotto!
So, three months later, as I was boarding a plane to the Middle East, I was wearing THE JACKET!

Gok, my fashion god, says you should clear out your wardrobe every so often, and get rid of anything you don't wear unless it is of sentimental value.
Well I may not wear it very often now, but this is the article of clothing I would rush back to save if the house went on fire. To me it is a work of Art. Angela embroidered it BY HAND, despite the fact that it was denim. Bless her, her fingers must have been bleeding after it.
She would have had it easier if she had been in a sweatshop!

As Mastercard would say
Denim Jacket  €50
Embroidery thread €45
The time, effort and love put into it   PRICELESS!
Thanks sooooo much Angela!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Speak no evil.

September can only mean one thing - back to school.
I have been getting in the mood for it by doing some educational reading. There is a big push on now for numberacy and literacy. One proposal for improvement in Phonics is to teach it incidentally throughout the day, rather than have an assigned lesson. So whenever a child makes a mistake in identifying the sound that goes with a letter, you correct it on the spot and in context.

In my third year in Abu Dhabi, I was the Head of the Infant school. One of my many jobs was dealing with discipline.
I was sitting at my desk in my office one day, when the door opened and in came little Mohammed.
Mohammed, although only six, was well known to me and my office!!!
However, on this particular day, he was feeling somewhat moral, and was snitching on a friend of his!
"Miss, Rasheed, he did use the F word!"
Teachers are the best actors in the world.
I put on my psuedo-horrified face and accompanying voice.
"Oh, dear. Did he really? That's very naughty of him!"
Of course, you never take anything at face value, and you have to check that what the child said, is actually what you understood it to mean.
"So Mohammed. Tell me the F word that Rasheed said."
He looked at me aghast.
"I cannot say that word. Only Christians say that word."
Hmm. May have been a little bit prejuidiced even for a six year old. But I have just attended an U12 football match, played by Christians.....and he might just have a point!
"Its okay Mohammed. Allah knows that you are just repeating what Rasheed said to me so that I can stop him from saying it again."
Mohammed thought about this for a moment. Deciding that it was too good an opportunity to get someone else in trouble,  he exclaimed.
"He said.....fagina!"
"Thank you Moh....WHAT? No I mean, don't say it again!"
Mohammed was dismissed and I collasped in tears of laughter.

But now I realise that I should have used it as a phonics lesson.
Alternative ending:
"Thank you Mohammed, but that is incorrect. Repeat after me.....
Well done.
Now, V V V Vagina.

Nah. I would have lost my job........and probably my head!