Monday, December 24, 2012

Oh Holy Night


The highlight of my Christmas (so far) has to be our school play, The Xmas Factor. I knew the kids were going to be great but I had no idea just how great!
We were working at a slight disadvantage seeing as we have no school hall. After reassuring our parish priest that
“Yes, there is religious content in there.”
we were given the use of the church. But it is a slight distance away and the kids had to be bussed there for rehearsals. Seeing as funds are low and bus trip cost 160 euro, we only had one full run in the church.
Director’s nightmare.
However on the night each and every kid was AMAZING. You’d swear they had lived on that stage/altar for the past month. We finished off with the entire 164 pupils on the altar steps singing “Oh Holy Night”. When the audience were on their feet for an ovation before we had even finished I knew it had been a rousing success.

The next day I was telling my kids how fabulous they had been. One of the girls looked a little doubtful.
“But Miss, if we were that good, why were people crying?”
I had forgotten that in a child’s mind
To make someone cry = you’ve done a bad thing

I tried to explain that in theatre circles it’s actually quite easy to make your audience laugh. It is much more difficult to make them cry. If you do, then you know it’s because you have just created something powerful and moving.
So to anyone who is reading this I wish you a very Happy Christmas, and may any tears you shed over this festive season be ones of pure joy.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

What do you mean, my shoes are impractical???

Here is my new baby.....

I can hear the cries of
"How in God's name are you going to walk in those?"
"You'll break your neck."
"You've gone too far this time my dear."

I'm not going to WALK in them. Oh no. This is what it's for....

The scary thing is, it was a present from one of my pupils. They know me so well!

Friday, December 21, 2012

The gift that keeps giving....

Once again the old chestnut of whether teachers should be given Christmas presents raises its ugly head. This present that I received is pure genius and I think should be issued by the Department of Education to each and every teacher in this country.
It is a Teacher's Survival Kit.
It contains
Marbles Spares for the ones they've helped you lose
Cotton Wool For when you can't hear yourself think
Eyes Because sometimes you need them in the back of your head
Eraser To "rub" out their mistakes
Pen To "write"their wrongs
Seeds For the seeds of knowledge you sow
Candle For when they get on your wick
Gloves For when you need a spare set of hands
A Tissue To wipe away the tears and to clean up the messes
Whistle For when you need to get everyone's attention
Coffee For a well deserved staffroom break
Crayon To always brighten your day
Rubber band To remind you to be flexible
Paperclip To help you to hold things together
Rope For when you're at the end of yours
Mint Because you're worth a mint to the parents



Thanks for the present Roxy!

You know the way that when it's your birthday you think the universe owes you a happy day?
Wrong!
The morning started off well. Some nice early morning texts to wish me a happy day of birth.
Weather was wet and miserable, so when Roxy stared to sway ever so slightly on the road, I put it down to high prevailing winds.
Wait a minute. the trees aren't swaying. It's not THAT windy.
Common sense won out and I looked for the next safe place to stop. As luck would have it, it was outside Boardsmill school. I got out and walked around my car.
Yep, there it was. My present from Roxy.
A flat feckin' tyre!
Today of all days. It's Christmas play time tonight and I still have a million things to check over.
Our school opens earlier than this one, so there was no one around yet. I tried not to be the helpless female and change it myself, but who was I kidding? I couldn't even get the nuts open!!!
I was just on the phone to my poor brother, when the principal of the school arrived. I'm sure he too had a million things to do that morning but he came to my assistance. However, the nuts still weren't budging.
I made a quick phone call to my principal to say that I would be a little late. He told me to relay this message onto the other principal.
SUCKER!
A Dad arrived on the scene. After much pushing, shoving and manly grunts Roxy was fixed!
I opened my classroom door to be met by the rousing chorus of Happy Birthday!
Things can only get better!
A pupil's viewpoint!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Shoo away!

How time flies. I couldn't believe that it was our annual Christmas night out. It only seems like a month since myself, Genevieve, Rose and Majella last met up, but no, it has been a year.

After our dinner....and a few beverages, we decided to risk going to Mantra nightclub.
But the girls were a tad concerned that I wouldn't get it. No, its not that I am barred because of some previous  antisocial behaviour. Rather it was because of my shoes!!!
Yes, I was wearing my kickass babies.
Despite my friends' reservations I sailed in past security, who never batted an eyelid.
"See? What are ye on about? They're perfectly normal footwear."

However...........
After giving it welly on the dance floor it was time to leave. As I was about to exit the front door a large muscular arm extended itself across my path, preventing my departure. I looked up into the eyes of a burly bouncer.
Gulp.
His eyes went down to my feet and he said
"Jaysus. They are some serious footwear. How did you manage to get in past us?"
I flashed him my best flirty smile and said
"Look, no one was killed or injured in the course of the night, I swear."
I managed to get out.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Costume Drama.

It's that time of year again, Christmas pageant time. Teachers all over the country are up to their tonsils in tinsel and glitter. This year we are being very ambitious and putting on The Xmas Factor starring 163 kids!
Even Les Miserables hasn't that large a cast.
But its actually not as crazy as it sounds. Each teacher is responsible for a group, namely shepherds, kings, stars or soldiers, and prepares their own class. Then we'll bring it all together, with my class providing the links such as judges and hosts. The prize for the winners is a part in the Nativity play. But of course it is scripted and they will all be winners and we will finish with a big finale of them all singing.
Well that's it in theory. I'll let you know how it's going next week when I'm tearing my hair out to the strains of "Never again!"
Parents were given a note, asking them to provide a cheap and cheerful costume for their child. One mother whose son is in the soldiers' group, went into his teacher this morning in a bit of a quandary.
"I'm just wondering what sort of a costume you want them in as a soldier?"
"We're going with the modern type army, you know, combats or army fatigues."
"Oh that's alright then," said the mother with a sigh of relief.
"I was thinking along the lines of a robe and a tea towel on his head, but he looked like a member of the Taliban!"

Monday, December 3, 2012

Hair we go again...

I had a phone call from my hairdresser.
"Noeleen, I'm setting up a Facebook page for my salon. Would you mind if I put up some photos of hairstyles that I have done for you over the years?"

Let me think.......
Seeing as the last time I was in Turkey I discovered a hairdressing flyer with my photos in it plastered over a telephone kiosk, I'm hardly one to object to an innocent Facebook page, now am I?
http://www.nols-agirlforallseasons.com/2011/08/call-girl.html

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Why don't we ever sing the full version of Jingle Bells?


It's that time of the year again.......rehearsals for the Christmas pageant. I was putting together the medley of Christmas carols to be performed at the end. In an effort to "pad it out" I googled the full version of Jingle Bells to add to our repertoire. This is what I came up with

A day or two ago
I thought I'd take a ride
And soon Miss Fanny Bright
Was seated by my side
The horse was lean and lank
Misfortune seemed his lot
We got into a drifted bank
And then we got upshot


Erm. I guess we'll stick to the one verse then, as usual!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Pick me! Pick me!


Today's vocabulary included the word "voluntary". I could see by one puzzled face that he didn't have a clue what it meant. So to help out, I asked
"Tell me_____. If I asked for a "volunteer", what would you do?"
He looked at me, thought for a moment and then replied.
"I'd stay sitting here Miss!"
Fair enough!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Photographic Memory

I was reminded of this story over the weekend.
It happened about 15 years ago. I was out of a Saturday night in a local nightclub/den of iniquity! It was back in the days of yore when men actually asked women out to dance.
Oh yes, my younger readers. There was a time when brave men ventured across a dance floor and asked the fairer sex to dance.
When I think of it now I realise how soul destroying it must have been to be rejected with the immortal words
"Ask me friend. I'm sweatin'"
I obviously had a conscience back then as well, as I never refused anyone a dance, unless they were VERY drunk.
This one particular night I espied a young fella swerving his way towards me, very clearly the worst for wear.
Ah God NO! Please don't ask me. Sometimes I wonder do I deserve the men I attract!!!
Unfortunately I was his intended victim.
"Will ya danse....?" he slurred into my face.
"Thanks very much, but I think I'll sit this one out?"
"Ah why not? It won't harm you to have one danccce." Belch
"Honestly, thanks, but no thanks."
I really had no desire to hold him up on the dance floor as he had lost most of his motor coordination by this stage.
"Give me a proper reason why ya won't dance and I'll leave ya alone," he promised.
"Well it's like this Michael...
I could never have forgotten those eyelashes, you could have hung buckets on them!
You go home and look at your First Holy Communion photo, and then look at your teacher in the background......
Realisation dawned on him
"Miss LYNAM???? Is that you?
"Yes it is Michael"
Now go away and I'll talk to you sometime when you're sober.
Moment of silence
"But will ya dance???"

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Decadence is......

Decadence is

spending Sunday morning snuggled up in bed , having a Twilight Saga catch up, before going to see Breaking Dawn Part 2 tonight.
Whoever said
Youth is wasted on the young
got it all wrong!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Art imitating life!


I do Drama classes with some younger children. We were sitting in our chairs watching an imaginary TV screen. As we "changed the channel" I called out
"Oh it's a comedy!"
"Now, it's a sad film."
"Oh no. It's a horror film."
and the kids reacted accordingly.
I called out
"It's a Love Story."
and there was the expected reactions. The girls smiled coyly at the screen while the boys pretended to gag! But one little chap was having an animated conversation with the telly, hands gesticulating in all directions. I wandered past him to hear what was going on.
"Whaddya like? She's cheating on ya! Get out fast!"
Ah bless. Romance, through the eyes of a 7 year old!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Life is your catwalk

Most mornings I fall out of bed and it's a mad rush to get ready. This morning, for some unfathomable reason I had loads of time. So I set off to school with a perfectly coordinated outfit topped off with my new black biker jacket. Hair was coiffured and I actually had make-up on.
I approached the school gate as if I was on the catwalk.
Every morning I am met by three Infants who wait to greet me. This morning as I approached I could see them looking me up and down.
This is good that I am taking my position of fashion role model seriously. Thankfully they have someone to aspire to.
The middle Infant turned to her colleagues, turned up her nose and said
"Hmm, I don't think much of that!"
and walked off.
Bubble and ego rapidly burst.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

My Alma Mater revisited.


 
This weekend saw the 150th celebration of the arrival of the Sisters of Mercy nuns in Rochfortbridge. As this included my Secondary School, I headed over to join in the festivities! It's amazing how driving over the bog road brought all the memories flooding back.
I had a very happy time in school. No horror stories of abuse or bullying to report. But I still recall vividly the sinking feeling in my stomach as I reached Cole's Cross every Sunday evening. I would be dropped at the side door of the school and in I'd go. A very daunting experience for a 13 year old to be away from home for a week.
 
 
It has been exactly 30 years since I last walked through those doors. And the first thing that struck me was the familiar smell. Some things never change.
After the mass and book launch there was the obligatory tea and buns. Myself and a few more ex-boarders snuck off  up the back stairs to our old dormitories.
Times have moved on and it is no longer a boarding school. Who in their right minds would take on the responsibility of being in charge of 70 plus teenage girls nowadays?
St.Oliver's dormitory is now a classroom. My bed used to be to the right of that window.

Who's been sleeping in my bed? 
 
It was great hearing stories and memories from past pupils. But this one I'm not so fond of!
Some of the lads were telling me that the local boyos discovered that the boarders had their showers at 9.30 every night. If they stood at Bradley's corner they could see in the upstairs bathroom windows! So they used to congregate there every night.
Eugh! We never knew that or we would have been the smelliest boarders in Ireland.
Apologies for reposting the following blog but it tells my favourite story from my secondary school days.
 
 
 



Friday, November 9, 2012

A womb with a view

This story comes courtesy of a friend who teaches Senior Infants, those adorable little five year olds!
In Science they were exploring the topic of Living Things/Non-living things. To conclude the lesson they had to draw one living thing. As Infant drawings can be a bit hard to decipher sometimes, she was going around asking each child to explain their drawing.
"It's a flower, Miss."
"That's my dog."
"A snail."
Her jaw nearly hit the floor when she saw the following diagram.......

"Em, tell me. What is that?"
Two little innocent eyes peered up at her as if she was stupid and said
"Miss, it's a TREE. Look there's the trunk and there's fruit at the end of the branches."
Phew!
I suppose that's why we use the term Fruit of my loins!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

It's showtime!

After many years lurking in the backstage shadows I have returned to centre stage. I am playing the part of Mortiana, the Sheriff of Rottingham's mother in Leixlip's Musical and Variety Group's panto Robin Hood. It is a completely new role for me
a wicked witch who terrorises young children, putting the heart crossways in them and causing them to wake up screaming with night terrors.
Oh wait a minute!
Anyway, I have started rehearsing already.........

........for my Oscar nomination that is already in the bag!


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

It's a boy!

I have been inundated with queries about my friend Sinead, who came out to dinner with us on Saturday night, despite being in the early stages of labour. Well it seems the hospital was right and she had LOADS of time because baby has just arrived....on Wednesday!
Huge congratulations to Sinead and Karl on the birth of their 9lb 1oz baby son.
No name announced as yet but I'm thinking.......Goliath!

A truely scary Hallowe'en story

Today was one of those days.
I was in Mullingar at the ungodly hour of 8.45 as Roxy was having her timing belt changed.
I think I could do with that myself!
I then had a few hours to myself until she was ready. As I walked down the street I passed my beauty salon and thought
Ah ha! I could do with getting my legs waxed! That would pass a bit of time.
As luck would have it they could fit me in, within the hour.
In passing I told my beautician that I was killing time while my car was in the garage, She started to laugh and said that it was amazing the number of frantic calls she got from clients looking for an emergency massage or facial while their car was next door! Unfortunately they were never from men!
I suggested that herself and the garage should go into partnership  and have a two-for-one deal on all services!
Wax on, wax off!
When I came out I saw that I had a missed call from an unknown number. I rang back.
"Hello?"
"Hello", replied an unfamiliar Northern accent.
" I have a missed call from this number."
"Oh yes. I am the courier from DHL. I have a package for you from Next and I was looking for directions to your house. Unfortunately that was an hour ago. I am no longer in Raharney."
"Sorry about that. I am in Mullingar."
"Really. Where abouts?"
"Eh, outside Benetton!"
"Jaysus. Look at McDonald's across the street."
I did, and OMG! There was the DHL guy in his little yellow and red suit, waving across at me! He leaned into his van, took out a parcel, raced across the busy street and handed it to me.He then turned on his heels and raced back. I stood there open-mouthed.
What are the chances of that happening?
It was just plain FREAKY, even for Hallowe'en.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Guess who's coming to dinner....

Last night Fiona, Clare and I headed out for dinner.

After the main course Fiona's phone beeped.
"That's Sinéad. She's going to join us for dessert."
"But isn't her baby due around now??? Should she be coming out?"
"She's bored stiff sitting around waiting for something to happen. She won't stay long."
Sinéad promptly arrived, looking radiant. After the first few opening queries about her health, she dropped the bombshell.
"Technically speaking, I'm in labour at the moment."
"WHATTTTTTFFFFF?"
"Don't panic. I'm only having the odd contraction and I'm only 2cm dilated. The hospital told me it can take days yet."
I've seen enough episodes of Home and Away to know that's NOT how it happens. Someone's waters break and the next minute, after a short bout of screaming and writhing, the baby is born. Right?
We looked at her, opened mouthed for a moment. But she seemed perfectly calm, so we figured there was no point in us panicking! We did, however, contemplate telling the staff to get some towels  and boiling water ready, just in case. After all, if the baby did decide to suddenly appear, we'd all need a cup of tea, wouldn't we?
Clare was very helpful and channelled the baby's energy through Reiki.
Personally speaking, I'd be more like...

Fuck that Reiki. GIVE ME AN EPIDURAL......NOW!

I bet the staff were glad to see the back of us!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

You've got mail!

I was feeling a little intimidated as I had to attend a meeting with doctors, nurses, psychologists and suchlike. They were running a little late when I arrived at the clinic and invited me into the kitchen for some lunch. I thanked them but explained that I had just finished my lunch in school before I set out. There was a knock on the window and suddenly plates of salad, meat and freshly baked bread rolls appeared in from next door! It seems that this is the way they get their lunch every day.
Novel, to say the least.
Needless to say, I changed my mind and joined them. Well, it would have been rude not to!
Oh please God. Don't let them have an intellectual conversation over lunch. I can't cope!
I needn't have worried. Lunchtime banter started.
One of the doctors was recounting a story told to to him by a colleague.
It seems his mother, who was in her 70's had decided that it was time she entered the technological age. She purchased a laptop and was learning to send e-mails and google. Her son had set up a
Hot mail account for her.
One day he received a distraught phone call.
"GET HERE QUICK! Get these things off my computer." Wail.
"What's wrong mother? What happened?"
It seems that she got slightly confused about what to do and had typed "Hotmail" into google to open her account. Only spelling wasn't her strong point and she had in fact typed in
hotmale!!!
The photos that were downloaded were...em, interesting to say the least.
I hope this really happened but in my version, she actually knew full well what she was typing in!
Ah yes, 50 shades of Grey has a lot to answer for!

Monday, October 15, 2012

I'm freefalling.

Today we were discussing Fearless Felix's freefall from 24.5 miles above the Earth. We were looking at various reports on the event. One piece of information given was
"A tiny error could have resulted in his blood boiling and his brain exploding."
There was a collective intake of breath, followed by the comment...
"Well, I wouldn't call that a tiny error!"
And come to think of it......neither would I!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

I love Beatrice!

After the weeks of debauchery in Turkey I returned home somewhat more rotund than I left. It was time for the "Cop yourself on" diet plan. However, no matter how I tried I couldn't get myself into the zone.
Then one of my friends told me about a personal trainer that she had gone to and had worked miracles on her.
"I could do with a miracle. Give me her number....quick!"
So that is how I met up with Beatrice. I was weighed and measured. My targets were recorded.
What? I haven't been that since I was 15!
An exercise programme was written up for me and with my diet sheet in my sweaty little hand I set off for home.
Daily exercises followed and each week I returned to be reweighed and measured. I felt like one of my pupils standing in front of her, knowing that she would soon realise whether I had done my work or not. Beatrice believes in tough love.
"  Well done on that weight loss.......but I feel you could do better. Let's increase the number of boxers, twist jumps, alternative knee lifts etc etc etc that you are doing."
Is it worth it?
This is a photo of me taken five weeks ago.

And this is me now.

Same dress, but many many inches smaller and a dress size down.
Oh Beatrice, how I love you!!!!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Cinderella, eat your heart out!

In the 1970's Tupperware parties were all the rage. Women of all ages came to a friend's house and drooled over plastic containers for salad, freezing dinners and other inexplicable uses. I was never at one myself but I still remember the excitement in our house when Mammy came home from one with....ice-lolly moulds!
Oh the euphoria over filling them with diluted Miwadi, placing them in the freezer and sitting waiting from them to be ready.
Ah, those were simple times!
Times have moved on and now, us women go to....
Shoe and Handbag parties!!!!
Yipee!
My niece Lauren held one last night. I was a bit late going, as usual, but the minute I went in, I espied my babies. Everyone else had passed them by and said
"Oh wait til Noeleeen gets here. She'll love them."
They know me so well.
 
And yes, those are real spikes! I have no idea where I will actually wear them but they would come in fierce handy at a crush at the bar. Bet I'd get served first!


Monday, October 1, 2012

Going to pot

Monday morning in class usually begins with Newstime. One of the lads was telling us all about a girl who won the Lotto in America last year but has died of a drugs overdose. This led to a little pep talk on the fact that money doesn't always buy happiness, and also on the dangers of drugs.
Next girl announced
"My granny won 150 euro at Bingo on Saturday night!"
There was silence for a moment and then the pearls of wisdom.....
"Make sure she doesn't start on de drugs!"
Ah, it nearly makes Monday morning bearable!


Thursday, September 27, 2012

#1 Things I wish I could use

I wish I could use this.......
as my screen saver on the interactive whiteboard in my classroom.
It would just make it so much easier getting the message across to my new class every year. Instead of which, each September it takes them about three weeks to discover it for themselves!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Love is......

In religion class today we were discussing Love.
"If aliens arrived on Earth from outer space, how would you explain the word "Love" to them?"
Silence...and then some words of wisdom.
"It means to really , REALLY like something."
"I think it means to be affectionate."
"If you love something, you think you will die if you don't get it." That one floored me!

But of course there is always one in every audience.
" Love means no score in tennis."
Far too sceptical for a twelve year old!


"As the 2008 Wimbledon fortnight played itself out, the event offered all of its traditional trappings — immaculately mown grass, clean yellow tennis balls, breakfasts of strawberries and cream and well-dressed faceless alien androids."

Monday, September 24, 2012

Baby fashionista

Anyone who has opened a glossy magazine in the past year is fully aware of the importance of the latest accessory, namely a co-ordinating baby!
Well, my grandniece Megan and I can give Harper and Victoria a run for their money anyday. Here we are in our totally matching navy and biscuit outfits yesterday.

But even better are our accessories.

Giraffe skin is SOOOOO this season!

Friday, September 14, 2012

A ripping good time

There is a beauty salon in the town near to my school. They have some up with a great client-attracting scheme called "Waxy Wednesday". This means that you can get half price waxing on......you've guessed it, Wednesday! Now in these recessionary times, anything that saves some of my ever shrinking mulah is very welcome.
But get this.......the things a teacher has to take into consideration.
Firstly I had to to go on a reconnaissance mission to find out who worked there. Can you imagine the scenario if I just walked in, only to be greeted by one of my past-pupils?
At the very least, it would be soooo embarrassing. But horror of horrors, imagine if it was a disgruntled ex-pupil.
Oh there's that bitch who gave me extra homework to do back in 1992. Payback time!
"Now just lie back and relax. This won't hurt a bit."
Hot wax applied and........RIPPPPPP.
It brings a tear to my eye just to even think about it!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Technology bites back

My previous blog was a slight satire on modern technology and about the way that sometimes the old ways are the best.
I TAKE IT ALL BACK!
As if to prove a point, a potential disater was averted by the mere push of a button....or two.
My nephew Niall headed up to a Debs in the big smoke of Dublin!
Not only that, it was also his 19th birthday.

I called into his Dad and Mum's house later that evening, to find them in a bit of a dither! Niall had just texted to say that he hadn't brought his ID as he didn't think he'd need it at a debs.
Mistake? Big mistake!
He wasn't being let in.
Now in ye olden days his parents would have had to go back up, to either
a) bring him his ID
b) bring him home by the hasp of the arse for not bringing it in the first place.

I sprung into my MacGyver mode. I whipped out my iphone, took a picture of the relevant page  of his passport and sent it on to him. He received it and showed it to the bouncer who had stopped him from going in.
A few seconds later my phone beeped.
"I'm IN!!! Tnks a mill Noeleen."

What did we do before mobile phones?
Isn't modern technology brilliant..... and this time I'm not being sarcastic!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Saorview.....me arse!

SAORVIEW is Ireland’s first free digital television service received by aerial. It brings you all your favourite Irish channels, crystal clear pictures, better quality sound, on-screen programme menus and digital teletext all free-to-air.

There is a major drive on at the moment making sure that every TV in the country is ready for the big change over in October. Ah, isn't modern technology great!
On Sunday my sister Jacqueline invited all the family up to her house for dinner. Never ones to pass up a free feed that is handed to us, we all duly arrived on time. The weather was promised fine and 22 degrees, one of the best days this year after our washout of a summer, so hubby Michael was good enough to put up the gazebo at the front of the house for our convenience.
It's just a big tent, Michael!
Actually looking at the photo, it reminds me a bit of  My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding!!!

The was one major  dilemma. The All Ireland Football Semi-Final was on between Dublin and Mayo. How were the sports fanatics supposed to see it?
Well, Michael being the technological sort of guy that he is, brought out a TV and set it up for our perusal.
"Eh, Michael. Why is the picture so fuzzy?"
"I think it must be snowing in Croke Park!"
"Isn't that gas, seeing that it's so sunny here, and we only down the road!"
"Ha ha very funny," retorted Michael as he twiddled and twisted cables in an effort to get a better reception.
Not one to be defeated, he eventually got a perfect picture. And what piece of modern technology did he use to achieve this? None other than........
A FECKIN' CLOTHES HANGER!!!
Ah yes, isn't it great being part of the 21st century.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

First Day back at school.

All good things must come to an end.
Never in the history of the State has there been a more contentious issue that that of teachers' holidays.
TD's holidays, which are waaay longer rarely get a mention.
I make NO apologies for mine.
Every time someone opens their mouth, after discovering what I do for a living, hell bent on berating me about my summers off, I immediately cut them off at the pass by saying
"Yeah, yeah, you're dead right. Why work when you can teach?"
Now, I don't believe that for a minute but I find that it usually knocks the wind out of any argument that they had formed in their minds, and shuts them up!
Recent years have seen more than their fair share of unpleasantries. My wages have been culled, my pension is in serious doubt, pupil-teacher ratio is on the rise and essential services needed for the effective running of a classroom have been swiped from under my feet.
Have I rioted or gone on strike?
Hell no.
I have grumbled but I do believe that, despite the fact that I didn't cause it, this little ole country of ours is in shite and we all have to knuckle down and take our punishment.
HOWEVER.....
lay one finger on my holidays and this worm will turn! In the words of Dr. Bruce Banner aka The Incredible Hulk
"Don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry."

I am entitled to......nay I DESERVE, every single cocktail I sipped as the sun went down in Turkey this summer.
This week saw the reopening of my school. Teachers were in on Thursday. I had the best day ever in school, organising my schemes
which I wrote over the holidays, just sayin'!
backing all my notice boards with nicely coloured paper and generally getting the place in order.
Then the kids were in on Friday.........
Despite the fact that I have been teaching for over twenty years I still toss and turn the dreaded night before school starts. All sorts of things run through my head
"What will the kids be like?"
"Will they respond to my style of teaching?"
"Will our school be getting a Whole School Evaluation bringing the dreaded cigire this year?" Feck!
And the most important question of all....
"What sort of parents am I getting?"

Friday morning saw me standing in front of 31 eager but slightly worried faces. It's strange the little things that reignite my enthusiasm for teaching. For the past few years I have had a majority of boys in my class. Last year there were 20 of them as opposed to only 8 girls. No matter how I tried to prevent it, I did find myself leaning more towards testosterone-friendly topics. This year the girls are in a 2:1 majority.
Yippee! I hope this means I can teach some One Direction songs and have an indept discussion upon the release of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2!!!

I always feel an added pressure being responsible for Sixth class. It is a huge year in their lives. There are post-primary schools to be chosen, entrance exams to be taken despite the fact that they are condoned by the Department and of course Confirmation preparation - and all this at a time when their hormones are released and causing havoc with their bodies and their emotions. On second thoughts, I am not so sure about the merits of having all those girls in my charge! Ah well, my hormones have had much more practise at getting their own way than theirs!
So I start a new school year invigorated and ready to take on all the challenges and shite that will be thrown at me this year. And why is this?
BECAUSE MY BATTERIES/ENERGY LEVELS HAVE BEEN RECHARGED WHILE LYING BY A POOL IN TURKEY.
Case closed.

The Law of the Universe states that for every action there is an equal an opposite reaction. That means that for my state of sadness at the finishing of a wonderful holiday, there was someone experiencing an equally strong sense of euphoria.
 And I think I found her......


To all teachers heading back to the coalface of education, let me say
May the odds be ever in your favour.
Let the Games begin..........


Monday, August 20, 2012

Arty Farty.

Congratulations to my nephew Niall for getting his place in Art college in Limerick.  Maybe now he'll learn to draw properly!!!


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Generation Game

Recently I was clearing out my drawers in the classroom
I mean my cupboards, tut tut
I found a  book that had the following message scrawled on the front page in a childish scribble
Belongs to Mary Smith*. If found please return to owner.
* obviously not her real name!!!
Without batting an eyelid I turned and handed the book to one of my current pupils and said
"John, would you mind giving that to your mother and telling her that I'm sorry I kept it so long!"

Yes, I was teaching the son of a girl I had taught many years ago. I started teaching in Baconstown about twenty ahem years ago. I haven't been there all that time. I worked abroad for several years and I was out and about doing drama inservice courses with teachers for other years. Like a boomerang I keep returning and until I find a better school with nicer kids and colleagues, there I will stay!
People look at me incredulously when I tell them I am into my second generation of pupils.
"But you look far too young and pretty to be doing that!" they retort.
OK, I may have put my own slant on that comment!
I explain that I was, in fact a child prodigy, and started my teaching career at an impossibly young age. Some of them have raised a quizzical eyebrow in doubt.
So I have searched through my drawers again, but in my house this time and found a photo of me on my first day teaching. Honest!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Reality bites

After arriving home early yesterday morning on the red-eye flight I managed to last until 9.30pm. Then I collapsed into bed in my new purple-themed bedroom. I slept like a baby.
Hold on a minute, does that not mean I would have woken up every two hours screaming for food?
What I mean is that I never budged in the bed until 10 this morning.
I awoke fresh and rested with a......
Brand new mosquito bite!!!
Honestly, there is one of those ugly red ones filled with pus on my leg. It definitely wasn't there yesterday. Some evil little f***** stowed away in my luggage, managed to survive the long flight, 12 hours in the Irish climate and then with its last gasping breath sunk its fangs into my juicy leg.
Oh wait, maybe I'm mixing a mosquito up with a vampire!
Lauren, any chance you could get me a lilac mosquito net, just to be on the safe side!

Monday, August 13, 2012

It's curtain time!

As the plane descended into Dublin, I looked down on the patchwork of fields that lay beneath me.
40 Shades of Green.
When I got out of the airport I looked up at the overcast sky.
50 Shades of Grey.
Ah yes, I was well and truly home. I was warding off the post-holiday blues by thinking about all the things I have to look forward to in the coming weeks. The one thing that was getting to me was my curtains, or rather the lack of them.
Before I skedaddled off to Turkey for a month I had undertaken a DIY project, namely redecorating my bedroom. I had painted the walls, steamed the carpet and rearranged the furniture.

 I had bought new duvet and cushions. I had also bought new curtains but I hadn't gotten round to sending them off to get black-out lining. I can't sleep if there is as much as a glimmer of light. I was also thinking about how I was going to get the old curtains off the curtain pole. Dad had done all that for me the last time. He had welded the pole together and I couldn't remove it.
It just would have been so much nicer to spend my first night home in my newly decorated bedroom instead of trying to clamber into the guest room among the bags and cases.
With a slightly heavy heart I dragged my cases in behind me into my house.
"Hi Honey I'm home!"
No answer. Oh drat, that's right. I'm single!
I opened my bedroom door......and did a double take. There, proudly hanging in place were my now fully lined curtains.

Not only that, but there were several matching accessories that I hadn't purchased.

I will be honest. I sat on the bed and cried. Not because I was so depressed to be home but because someone had gone to huge effort to surprise me on my return.
A few phone calls later I discovered who was responsible.
My niece, Lauren. She had brought away my curtains to be lined, did a bit of shopping and broken into my house to sort things out.
All the stories mention the kindness and good deeds of Fairy Godmothers but I have my very own Fairy God Daughter.
As I looked around I thought
OK, so this isn't Turkey but do you know what, it's........