Friday, May 31, 2013

Things a teacher in an urban school will never have to say....

Yesterday was a beautiful day, which luckily coincided with PE day. Before we started I had to say to my class.
"If the ball goes over the hedge and into the field you are NOT to go after it.
Farmer Flynn has just put out the bull and he's wicked".
"Miss! I'm telling Farmer Flynn what you said about him!"

Thursday, May 30, 2013

And you wonder why I hate birds!!!

I told you a while ago about the problem I had with a pair of love birds that were trying to build a nest in my extractor pipe leading into my oven.
Well the drama didn't finish there. I went off for a hen weekend the following Saturday. It must have been windy back home in Raharney because when I returned, the wind had blown away the glove...and the little feckers had moved in.
Now I know the meaning of the saying "They'd build a nest in your ear".
As they had begun nesting, I didn't have the heart to evict them. So every morning I put up with the sound of chirping that rang out of my kitchen cupboards. It was so loud that I was afraid to open them even though I knew there was no way they could get through the wall. It made my stomach turn in fear so I used to grab my Weetabix and retire to the sitting room to have my breakfast.
Then came the lucky morning that there was no sound from them.
Great. They've flown the nest.
I replaced the broken cover leading into the pipe  so that they, or their friends could not return.
A few mornings later I went into the kitchen.
"Phew. What's that smell?"
I searched around and put out the rubbish bag and any other offending items. Off I went to school.
When I returned that evening it was like entering a murder scene from CSI. The smell was nauseating. It suddenly dawned on me. The little buggers hadn't flown away...they had died and were now
Ghostbusters, in the form of my brother-in-law were called.
Firstly he nearly fainted with the stench when he went to examine the pipe.
They hadn't build their nest in the pipe, but rather right down in the cavity of the wall. He could only manage to remove some of the nest. The rest was too far down to reach. I had to wait for nature to take its course.
It was only this morning, several days later, that my house is completely odour free.
My phobia now takes second place to my absolute hatred of anything feathered.
I will show no mercy to any of them that dare come near my house again.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Be careful what you ask just might get it.

There was pandemonium in my classroom before the catechist's visit.
For those for you not in the know, it is a person who comes to all schools to check on how the religion programme is being taught.
In the olden days, and I am referring to when I started teaching, it was a very strict examination, but now its more like a chat with the kids. Never the less, I was busy pinning up a few pictures and posters this morning.
"Everyone, this is our "Sacred Space", I announced as I pointed to a beautifully decorated notice board.
" When did that appear?", asked one observant pupil.
"What do you mean?" I asked in mock horror. "That's been there all year!"
"Oh right Miss," he replied, with a big wink.
My kids are very quick on the uptake!
A very nice lady arrived in, and my class performed accordingly. Before she left she addressed the class.
"Now has anyone any question about our religion that they would like to ask me?"
I groaned inwardly as I sat at my desk.
"Ah God love her. She has no idea what she has just let herself in for!"
The first few questions were tame enough, and then they got in their stride.
Please bear in mind, these were genuine things they wanted to know, and not them being smart and trying to catch her out.
"Do you think was Joseph annoyed when Mary told him she was going to have a baby for someone else, seeing as they were engaged?"
She looked at me as if to say "Help me out here!" I just thought "Well you did ask. You're on your own!"
But it was the next one that had her running for the door.
"Seeing as the Bible says that God made us, how come all the old paintings Of Adam and Eve show them with belly buttons, which are made from umbilical chords?"
There were skid marks as she left.
All I can say is....
Welcome to my world.
I hope we've passed!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Shoe Heaven

I went to the removal of my sister-in-law's father. As is the custom, the family are seated around the coffin and the mourners go and sympathise with each of them.
Near the end of the seating were two elderly ladies that I didn't know, obviously from the other branch of the family.
"Sorry for your loss", I said to the first lady, as I shook her hand.
"Sorry for your loss", I said to the second one.
She grasped my arm, leaned in and whispered
"I love your shoes!"
Ah yes, you can never underestimate the appeal of a wicked pair of shoes.

And Jimmy would have really enjoyed that.
Rest in Peace.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Sweaty Betty

I got a Facebook message from one of the lads that I know in Turkey. It read
Hello Sweaty :)

I am presuming that it was a typo and he meant
Hello Sweetie :)

Although seeing as it was amost 40 degrees last Summer while I was there....maybe not!

Friday, May 17, 2013

A little angel

The sound of the school phone ringing can often cause a shiver of fear to run down a teacher's spine.
Oh God. Who is this? What have we done wrong now?
Yesterday an elderly lady rang our school looking for the principal regarding one of our pupils.
She had been walking down the street of Enfield the previous afternoon, lugging two large bags of shopping with her. A car passed her, slowed down and stopped. It contained one of our 3rd Class girls being driven by her mother.
The little girl had espied the women struggling with her shopping, and made her mother stop to give her a lift home
"As it wasn't fair that a little old lady should have to carry such heavy bags".
The lady recognised her school uniform as belonging to our school and had to ring to compliment the little girl for her kindness.
It made me think. If I had been driving through Enfield yesterday afternoon, I probably wouldn't even have noticed her, never mind recognise her predicament.
Thank God our pupils live by the motto
"Do as I say, and not as I do."
I am totally humbled.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Great expectations

Is it just me, or does anyone else think that the remake of The Great Gatsby had actually been released last year? I just thought that with all the hype and trailer releases that have been around for ages that I somehow managed to miss it. But no, it's to be released next week....and I can't wait.
Well, I've waited long enough for it already.
This film will always hold a place dear to my heart as it's what I went to see
on my first date!!!
I was in First year in secondary school. One day my friend Majella gave me a note had had been given to her, for me by HIS friend.
Ah yes, this was in the pre-text days.

Dear Noeleen,
They are showing "The Great Gatsby"* in the school hall on Thursday evening. Will you come with me?
I love you,
* By the way, he didn't really put in the inverted commas, that's just me, as a teacher being unable to resist putting them in now!

I wasn't even sure who he was as he was in a different class, but Majella made me agree! So I wrote a note, gave it to Majella to give to his best friend who passed it on to him, agreeing to meet him.
All that week I was sick with worry.
What will I say to him?
What if he tried to kiss me? Help!
There was also the added pressure of being a boarder in school. Once there was any sort of a social event in the pipeline we had to be mini Mother Theresas or our punishment was not being allowed to go. And if any one person was particularly misbehaved, then EVERYONE was stopped.
So it was with huge sighs of relief that our spotless little souls were dismissed from the study hall in time for the film.
There was no question of wondering what to wear on your first date. As we were boarders we had to wear our uniforms, while all the day pupils arrived in sporting the latest fashion......a checked shirt and cord jeans!
Boy, were we jealous!
Majella and I sat down, with me in a ball of sweat. My wing woman scanned the room and whispered
"They're sitting a few rows back. Wait til it starts and I'll swap places with him."
I couldn't answer as my mouth was so dry.
Just to really make me feel really old, I have to reveal that the film was shown on those reel things projected onto a big sheet on the wall! It took Mr Bennett ages to get it started. It chugged and skipped and eventually spluttered into life.
The lights were dimmed! Gulp
Majella slid out of her seat and ducked her way back to the other seat. A few seconds later HE slid into the seat beside me. I was sure the sound of my heart was drowning out the whirring of the machine.
"Hi", he whispered.
"Hi", I managed to croak back.
And that was it. I honestly think they are the only words we spoke to each other all night.
I sat, eyes fixated on the screen, but I honestly haven't a clue was happened in it! Every little movement HE made, made me jump.
Oh my God, is he going to put his arm around me?
If he goes in for a kiss here in the middle of everyone, I'll clock him!
I think we may have actually held hands for the last quarter of it. Then the lights went up and we all jumped to our feet.
 Sr. Geraldine and Sr. Pius were standing at the hall door waiting to frog march all of us boarders back to our dormitories.
"Goodnight. I had a great time." WTF!
"Me too, see you tomorrow." and off I skedaddled.
And that was that!
But now, even the mention of "The Great Gatbsy" makes me smile at the remembrance of an age of innocence.
And I am so looking forward to actually being able to concentrate on it this time around!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Quote of the day

Swimming day today...yipee. Off we headed on the bus to the local pool. I was having a great chat with the bus driver. A lovely man who was telling me all about his holiday plans. It seems he loves to travel but his wife won't, as she can't spend a few hours on a plane without a cigarette.
"Oh," I enquired, "Does she smoke much?"
"SMOKE?", he retorted. "She'd smoke a cock of hay!"
I never heard that one before!