August 14, 2006

A woman's place…

Many proverbs are wise and thought–provoking. However on scanning through the appendix of my dictionary (as you do) I came upon some real gems. Not least:

If you cannot ride two horses at once you should not be in the circus

Which seems like perfectly good advice, or:

If you would be happy for a week take a wife; if you would be happy for a month kill a pig; but if you would be happy all your life plant a garden

Then there are the incredibly un–PC phrases, like:

One Englishman can beat three Frenchmen

Surely not at football, or:

A woman, a dog and a walnut tree, the more you beat them the better they be

And of course there are the Yorkshire ones:

Hear all, see all, say nowt, tak' all, keep all, gie nowt, and if tha ever does owt for nowt do it for thysen

To finish with here is the weather forecast:

If Candlemas day be sunny a bright, winter will have another flight; if Candlemas day be cloudy with rain, winter is gone, and won't come again

August 05, 2006

Am I Binging? Alcohol is bad for you shocker

In shocking news reports this week it turns out that alcohol is bad for you. This has long been a view held by readers of the Daily Mail, however the rest of the population was in ignorance until a paper was published on the topic.

Dr. Mary Beer headed up the research team who spent many hours sitting in pubs drinking beer and eating crisps. Their findings were that Binge Drinking, the latest craze sweeping the nation, can result in being 'quite drunk'. Research also suggested that sobriety/drunkeness is a binary state – you're either drunk or not. This contradicts previous thinking that a person would get gradually more and more drunk as they polished of increasing numbersof alcoholic beverages. This means that you can feel fine one minute but the next you could be dressed like rambo and singing Dolly Parton on the karaoke machine.

Alarmingly, many people don't know what constitutes a binge. Responses to a survey caried out at B&Q varied from 'one pint of beer and a packet of peanuts' to 'a hammer, five nails and a plank of wood'. Accepted wisdom has it that four pints is a binge for a man whereas three is enough for a woman. In truth it is much more complicated than this with factors such as the amount the person has eaten, whether or not it is a full moon and the proximity of the individual to Salisbury cathedral all playing and important role. Indeed the lack of knowledge about bingeing is such that you could yourself be on a binge right now and not even know it.

Alcohol effects different people in different ways, some become friendly and outgoing whereas others become violent or develop an irrational attraction to the barmaid. More recently there have been numerous cases of people spontaneously turning into Tom Cruise – no explanation has yet been provided for this. Also kebabs become a desirable food–stuff. Recently a man from Bury tried eating a kebab whilst sober and was immediately rushed to hospital where he remains in intensive care.

As a counterpoint there are still scientists who maintain that a glass of wine a day is good for you, unfortunately this is only if you use it as shampoo. To stay safe from binge drinking the News of the World will be publishing pictures of pubs in your area so you don't accidentally walk into one.

July 26, 2006

Why Warwick isn't the worst university in the world ever

Sometimes you may feel frustrated with the University of Warwick plc ltd inc. But after completing my teacher training at another university (nee poly) I can assure you that there are worse places to go.

When I got sent a letter in June inviting me for an interview on the 21st April I should have known something was up, but I ploughed on regardless. Alarm bells really started to ring when after being offered a place on the course it took about four hundred and fifty six phone calls – four hundred and fifty five too many in my view – to confirm that, yes, I would be taking it up.

And this set the tone for the rest fo the year. Being sent on placement to a school that had a completely different name to the one they told me – and yes, it was the right one. Trying to hand in an assignment and finding that there was no one in the building to collect it. No one visting me on placements and no explanation being offered for this, leading to severe abandonment issues.

So it was appropriate enough that yesterday I received a letter from the university saying that they hoped to send out my results within the next couple of weeks. These being the same results I got two weeks ago. Even when they get it right they get it wrong.

April 13, 2006

Is the Earth's Oxygen Supply Running Short?

I got this in an email the other day. I'm not sure if this is a fake or not so I'd better send it on and spam my friends just in case!

Hey it is Bill and Bob the directors of Hot-Air, sorry for the interruption but the Earthís oxygen supply is closing down. This is because too many inconsiderate people are taking up all the air (eg. doing lots of exercise and breathing more); we only have 578 molecules left. If you would like to disconnect your lungs do not send this message on. If you would like to keep breathing, then piss off all your friends by sending it to everyone on your contacts list. This is no joke; we will be shutting down the supplies. Send it on, thanks.

If you donít send this message then you will no longer be able to breathe, or it will cost you £10.00 a month to do so.

Now you know what to do. Please donít just forward this or reply. Copy it in to a new email to avoid having loads of arrows in the text. Because that would be annoying.

March 27, 2006

Cross Sexual Area

Due to a slight speech impediment I have a rather inconvenient inability to pronounce the words 'cross-sectional' without saying 'cross-sexshunal'. As a future teacher of mathematics I can see I slight problem forming here.

During a rather fraught year 8 lesson (more to follow) I found myself stood at the board trying my best to get the pronunciation right, but the more I thought about it the worse it became – like some kind of nightmarish self-fulfilling prophecy.

Curiously the speech-therapy I had a child never picked up on this and was more focused on my lack of aptitude with the word Skwoo-el (Squirrel) or my tendency to say dis and dat. How frustrating.

March 24, 2006


As a teacher you ask plenty of questions:

  • What is 7×8?
  • How do we work out the area of a triangle?
  • Is that gum?
  • Why are you swinging form the light fittings?

But the pupils ask plenty of questions too. If they ever say 'Can I ask a question – it's not about maths', then run away very fast (unless you're an English Teacher in which case you'd probably be wondering why they felt the need to offer clarification that their forthcoming line of enquiry doesn't involve any mathematics).

For instance:

  • What would you do if I punched you in the face? (Let's not try to find out)
  • Is there really such thing as an hermaphrodite? (Yes, there is)
  • How old are you? You look about twelve. (I'm older than you)
  • Can I tell you a joke? (No!)
  • Are you a proper teacher? (Are you a proper pupil?)
  • Do you love me? (Stop asking silly questions and get on with your work)

March 11, 2006

Taking over

'Teaching is more than just a job – it's a way of life.'

I scoffed when I first heard these words, but after completing six months of a PGCE I think my cynicism may have been premature. I now finding myself wanting to shush people talking too loudly in pubs, asking my friends if they have any questions when we arrange to meet up, and last night at a gig I was sorely tempted to tell the bassist of the support act to spit out the gum he was chewing. If only there'd been a bin handy.

There's no escaping it, I'm becoming a teacher. All that's left is to start moaning about marking and calling children 'oiks'.

March 07, 2006

The Perfect Class

After trying to teach a class of year sevens about the joys of algebra, co-ordinates and such forth at my previous placement with about as much success as the British Winter Olympics team going skiing with both legs tied together, I have now found the perfect class.

My current bunch of year sevens seem unusual in the sense that they want to learn. You put work on the board… and they do it. Very quickly. You turn round for a second and they've finished everything instead of making a paper aeroplane/running around the room/killing each other (delete as applicable).

Today was a typical example of their perfectness. After struggling to figure out where I as supposed to be teaching them (it isn't as simple as looking at the timetable, no really) I turned up several minutes late expecting a riot. However with this class there was no problem and they just got on with everything. Astonishing.

Either they really are perfect or the pressure is getting to me and I'm hallucinating.

March 06, 2006

The story so far…

After graduating from Warwick last summer I started out on a foray into the world of teaching. Boldly going where so many have gone before (but not so many that they don't pay you £7000 just to train), meeting friends and oiks, driving away from school bashing my head against the steering wheel after hearing the words 'I don't get it sir' for the hundredth time inside five minutes.

My first placement was filled with adventure: students turning up drunk, telling me to 'Just Leave!', alliterating my surname with another word with which it shares five letters (not walked), blowing kisses at me, pretending to have Tourette's Syndrome, feigning punches and generally being little sxxxts.

Now, however I find myself at a successful Catholic School. After not having been to church since longer than, oh being at school, prayers have become part of the routine, the mundane, not something crazy people do on Sundays. And even though they're that bit politer the kids are still kids.

And so the adventures continue.

December 11, 2005

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Many people are derided for believing Rudolph to not be truely one of Santa's original reindeer. There is a school of thought saying that this is a common error made by cretins, morons and seven year olds. However the true error is made by those who deride the supposed cretins, morons and seven year olds.

Rudolph was a an umcommmon breed of red nosed reindeer. Witnesses have declared that he has a very shiny nose. Many that have seen him have even said that it glows. However this is erroneous – the glow is merely a reflection from the brash and tasteless Christmas decorations disgracing the towns and cities of Great Britain

In a documentary filmed for ITV73483, "I'm a celebrity Reindeer get me some carrots!", the only surviving original reindeer Dasher admits that he and all the other reindeer "used to laugh and call him [Rudolph] names", in the documentary it comes out that the reason that he does not appear among the original reindeer is because they wouldn't let poor Rudolph join in any reindeer games.

However one foggy Christmas Eve during the seventies Santa was in a pickle and is quoted as going to Rudolph and saying "Rudolph with your nose so bright, won't you guide my sleigh tonight?" This is a lie. According to Dasher what Santa actually said was: "Get your fxxxing arse out here you lazy son of a doe, its freezing and we've got 730 million presents to deliver. Bloody useless Reindeer, I can't wait for everyone to start shopping on t'internet."

Then all the reindeer loved him (but not in a gay way) as they shouted out with glee, "Rudolph the red nosed Reindeer you'll go down in history!" Indeed they were correct as it later transpired that Rudolph got to the moon in 1967, two years before Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, invented the lightbulb and built St Paul's Cathedral.

The documentary airs on the 22nd of December and is a tribute to the deceased reindeer. The program conveniently glosses over their habit of cross dressing by putting on fake antlers when theirs had fallen off for the winter.

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