All entries for June 2005

June 25, 2005

Guide to being a good–for–nothing–lay–about–student

  1. Turn the difficulty of your subject into a bidding war:
    "I have 16 hours of lectures a week."
    "Well I have 16 hours and four of those are nine o clocks!"
    "I'm a lazy arts student who doesn't have to do anything but I'm going whinge about reading even though we get a whole week to catch up anyway."
    "I have to go to all my lectures standing on my head because the lecturer is a bat."

  2. Be crazy possessive of the food you have in the fridge:
    "Hey you f&%£ing w$!^er, get off my cubic centimetre sized piece of f&"%ing ch&$se! F%&$ing pikey!"

  3. Pretend to be an alcoholic:
    "Hey I was sooo wasted last night. I'm such an alcoholic!"
    "Why? Are you completely dependent upon alcohol to function? Would you find going anywhere impossible without a drink. Is your name Larry? Do you sleep on a park bench every night?"

  4. Turn having bad taste in music into a competition:
    "I love cheesy music me."
    "Yeah well I love Living on a Prayer so much I can accurately make the waa-waa noises in my sleep."
    "I like Girls Aloud… for their music!"
    "I'm stalking the Proclaimers."
    "I am one of the Proclaimers."

  5. If something really interesting is on television stare out of the window. In there's nothing interesting on television watch it.
    "Hey there's a programme on about how someone in Colombia has found conclusive evidence of alien life… Oh wow look at that squirrel!"
    "Hey there's a reality TV show on about people feeding squirrels. Let's watch it."

  6. Brag about how useless you are with the opposite sex:
    "I've only pulled twice since getting to uni."
    "I've never pulled."
    "I'm so useless I've now pulled less in my entire life since coming to uni than when I started."

  7. Whinge about everything:
    "£1.80 for a pint? What a rip off!"
    "Our cooker takes a whole minute longer to heat up than the one we have at home."
    "I have to get up at 10am tomorrow."
    "I have four hours of lectures today. No one in the world has it worse than me!

June 24, 2005

My Results

UN365 Being Drunk and Stupid in the Union: 57 I could've done better. (Expected Mark: (edit) Mark E. Smith of the Fall)
UN321 Getting Union Gunk on my shoes during nights out: 72 Wearing white baseball boots helped here. (Expected Mark: Mark Blundell – ex F1 driver)
UN372 Making a Prat of Myself with Women in the Union: 96 Wow! My forte. (Expected Mark: Mark Owen form Take That)
UN264 Singing Along to Songs played in the Union and pissing off the people around me: 68 I understood half the course really well but other bits I didn't get at all. (Expected Mark: Mark Durden Smith – that TV guy who's the son of somebody else)
HR375 Use of Earplugs: 62 I really struggled with this at first. I owe my 2:1 here to my neighbour for watching TV loud late at night. Thank you so much! (Expected Mark: Mark Radcliffe – Radio 2 DJ)
HR399 Being Pissed of With people stealing stuff from the Fridge: 63 Reasonable, I tried so hard here! (Expected Mark: Mark from Channel 4's "Peep Show")
LT331 Falling Asleep in lectures: 34 Eek! I wasn't very good at this module. (Expected Mark: Mark Bright – ex-super-striker)
BL392 Blogging too much: 58 I've tried really hard but only understood it all quite late on. (Expected Mark: Mark-et Research)

Overall with my first two years taken into account I got 67. I'm sort of happy with a 2:1 but I'd have loved a first, three marks is quite close. If only I'd worked a bit harder!


Friday

Follow-up to Thursday from Bloggle

Another week over and a second consecutive slightly unhappy day. Ho hum! The trouble today wasn't from the kids it was more general exasperation. I really don't know if I can shout at kids, so may be I'll never be able to manage behaviour properly. It's a bit of a worry, my mentor in school keeps encouraging me to raise my voice more and be more authoritative, I don't know if I can and more than that I'm not sure I want to. But then, if given an aptitude test, who when asked "I like to yell at kids" would tick anything other than "strongly disagree"? I certainly wouldn't want to meet anyone who enjoys yelling at people half their size.

It's frustrating because I'm good at the other stuff. I get on well with the pupils (surely that's a necessity, why would you become a teacher if you don't even like kids?) and I can explain the maths really well. In the lesson my partner in school, Kar, was teaching one of the pupils said to me "Mr Walker. How come you're so much better at explaining things than Miss Low?" Seeing how I didn't want sound offensive about Kar I sort of muttered something about Kar having to try and manage the class whereas I didn't have to worry about that part and sort of trailed off. Inside I was beaming of course, that really made my day. This comment was followed up by a number of pupils asking hopefully if I'd be teaching them at some point. So at least someone thinks I'm doing a good job!


June 23, 2005

Thursday

Follow-up to Wednesday from Bloggle

The main event today was helping out in an ICT room with some year tens using spreadheets to analyse their coursework with graphs and such gubbins. I did thiss for two lessons, the second class were what I'd come to expect from the kids at George Eliot; polite, friendly and generally pleasant. Unfortunately the first class were absolute horrors!

There was one kid who upon entering the classroom started jumping up and down. Clearly he was very enthusiastic about his coursework or has ADHD. I think he's in the habit of calling everyone cockers so decided that I should be renamed appropriately. His attempts to get my attention from then on consisted of shouting "cockers" across the room. My response was to ignore him until he called me "sir" or "Mr Walker". That might sound kind of arsey but it's no good the pupils thinking they can call me what they like. And you know what? It worked! He cracked and resorted to calling me sir, okay so he followed it up swiftly with "cockers" but I think that was a point to me.

To be fair to the guy he wasn't aggressive or nasty, he just had too much energy and in his own way was probably trying to be friendly. One of the other kids though was the nasty little sneery kind, you know the sort. He just asked rude (and rather stupid) questions to try and embarrass me ("Do you know what a heterosexual is?" "Do you like males or females" etc…). It didn't work. I just answered straightly (haha) as if he were asking what the weather was like. I guess the way to deal with it would be to shout "HOW DARE YOU ASK ME THAT YOU LITTLE SHIT!" (well maybe minus the "little shit" bit) but I'm not quite there yet in terms of volcanic-esque explosions, so managing to not let him get to me was probably a decent enough outcome for the time being.

The next thing I had to deal with was a load of trick questions from the first kid, for instance "how many months have 28 days", the obvious answer being one – February, but all the months have 28 days when you think about it. I managed to get the correct answer, I couldn't tell whether the kid was impressed that I was smart enoguh to figure it out (I knew doing stupid online quizzes would pay off one day!) or disappointed to not have had his pound of flesh.

Some of the other nonsense was the "guess his age game", someone suggested I might be twelve, I just sarcastically replied "Yeah I'm twelve", which in other circumstances would be a quite rude response because sarcasm implies the person asking the question is a bit dumb, but I think it worked as a get out because his mates laughed at him.

I suppose it's inevitable, some teenagers when they see a student teacher get blurred vision and confuse them for easy meat but I survived intact. Admittedly my responses weren't great as teacher responses but as a human being I think I did okay. The best piece of advice I've received since going into school is to not take anything a kid says to you personally. Remembering that today was a massive help otherwise I might have crumbled.

Waiting in reception for my taxi home a pupil started asking me if I were a student teacher (I say "yes" because to explain that I'm just on a scheme to get some experience before starting teacher training would be too complicated). The thing was that he was really polite and friendly but he was saying that he was to be excluded. Often these kids only get in trouble because of problems at home. It made me a little sad, because like I said he was really polite, yet gets the same treatment as the horrors I'd put up with in the morning.

After a rather less than happy day I had a real highlight still in reception. The fax machine sounded very much like the T.A.R.D.I.S. Superb! The Doctor saves the day again.


June 22, 2005

Wednesday

Follow-up to Tuesday from Bloggle

The taxi this morning was another Mercedes. I could get used to that sort of thing. I think I'm an anomoly amongst students because the taxi driver said that he'd been told he could go early to pick me up because I'd be there waiting, rather than the usual ten minutes late scenario. It would never occur to me to be late for anything, I get twitchy if I'm not on time.

The morning was fairly dull, I was planning the lesson I would be teaching in the afternoon and did a huge batch of photocopying, mind numbingly dull but it was nice to do something useful for the school, they should at least get something out of me as compensation for my miseducating of their pupils.

The lesson I taught was frantic. It's so hard trying to get them all to pay attention, I'm still not entirely comfortable with raising my voice though it was necessary in places today. I'm much better at the explanations and generally getting on with the kids. The whole nasty shouting bit seems a mystery to me thus far. Foolishly I made some question sheets for them to do. I say foolishly because now I have to mark them.


June 21, 2005

Tuesday

Follow-up to Monday from Bloggle

I actually taught a class today. Beforehand I had magical visions of everything I planned fitting perfectly into the exact amount of time I'd expected it would and all the kids sitting listening to me with big smiles on their faces desperately waiting to hear the next mathematical gem I would tell them.

Naturally the reality wasn't quite so film-esque but it was fun anyway. It's quite overwheliming asking questions and half a dozen hands shooting up, each attached to a twelve year old who looks like they may explode if they don't shout out the answer within three seconds.

I think I manage to do more or less okay, though I'm still not sure I can imagine myself as an authority figure. The trouble I have at the moment is that I'm too worried about getting along okay with the kids so I'm too easy going. I'm sort of in limbo between being a pupil and a teacher, it's not such a bad place to be I guess but it can't last.

Tomorrow I have to do it all over again. Well not exactly I don't think I shoudl teach the same class the same thing twice, though seeing how there were a great deal of confused looking children leaving the room at the end maybe it's not such a bad idea.


June 20, 2005

Monday

Follow-up to Friday from Bloggle

It's come around really quickly to Monday and off to school again. I invigilated yet another exam this morning. I'm getting really bored of them – possibly more so than of my own exams. This time it was a mental maths test, so my function was to press play and stop on a tape player. You need a highly trained operative for that, I don't think just anyone could manage it.

Later in the morning me and my partner in school, Kar, were helping with some Year Seven thing which for some reason I can't remember the name of. It was all about feelings and how to cope with them, not really the terrain of a mathematician. I had no idea how to really do anything, but it was okay. I think I even learned some useful stuff myself! Part of the activities was the pupils making a poster. It was fairly anarchic. One of the interesting things was that the girls took control and bossed the boys around. I suppose some things are the same whatever age you are.

In the afternoon we were doing the same but for some reason the kids got on with the work better. I think the sun had drained their energy, if this is true perhaps schools ought to consider boiling the children into submission before each lesson. Or perhaps not. The bizzarest thing today was someone asking me – in all seriousness – if I was French. I checked me head for a beret but didn't find one so I have no idea where that came from.

I've had a number of exchanges with pupils along the lines of:
"What's your name sir?"
"Mr Walker"
"Do you support Leicester?"
It was cute at first but now it's getting tired and dull. The whole crisps connection is especially boring. I suppose they're only kids so can be forgiven, but isn't it annoying when people say things about someone's name they must have heard hundreds of times as if it were some brilliant insight? Though it is always tempting to be one of those people.

Tomorrow sees me teaching a class for a whole lesson for the first time. It could be crazy but I'm well prepared, I just hope they don't ask any quetions I can't figure out how to explain.


June 19, 2005

F411 Championship: Round 9 – US Grand Farce

I want to check something. That actually happened, yeah? It's pretty dire. What amazed me most was that Bernie Ecclestone wasn't able to somehow magically make the race happen. I'm not sure how he would have done that but he's little over five foot tall with a stunner (by convention) of a wife so he can make most things come about if he really wants.

I imagine everyone watching felt the same when the cars pitted after the warm up lap. You knew it was about to happen, but somehow you couldn't believe your eyes.

Here's what I'd have done. I've have locked the team principals in a room together, give it an hour or so and then the last one alive would get to choose how to solve the problem, no matter how crazy. Here are some of my own suggestions:

  • Get the drivers to race Porsche supercup cars. I'd love to see the F1 grid racing each other in a one make race. It'd be fascinating to see who'd come out on top.
  • Wheelbarrow race. The drivers have to complete two laps with their teammates, taking it in turns as the wheelbarrow.
  • Unicycle racing.
  • A watching paint dry competition for all the F1 powerbrokers. See how they like it.
  • Put Bernie and Max and Jean Todt (ie. the FIA *chortle, chortle*) and anyone else you care to mention in the stocks.

It almost felt like ITV were on our side for a bit, what with Martin going on about his 8 million mates back in Britain. Cheers Mr Brundle Sir! But then James Allen blew it with his comment about the first people F1 having to please being the sponsors and the manufacturers. Forgetting anyone James? Should we just switch off then? I laughed so hard at that comment, it was probably the highlight of the race.

Oh well, even if F1 couldn't organise a motorrace at the motorracing capital (sic) of the world F411 isn't going to give up. The show must go on!

10pts Second bottle collector guy: I think he had a really good technique. The first guy did okay but he wasn't so precise. The second guy was straight in, a nice turn and out again. It was very impressive. If I ever need to pick up bottles in a professional capacity I'm going to model my approach on his.

8pts Cute Checkout Girl: I was buying my pizza for eating whilst the Grand Prix was on and the checkout girl in Tesco was really pretty. It's scraping the barrel I know, but like I say she was really pretty.

6pts Oddyseus: Gotta give points to someone, and seeing as I'm currently reading the Oddysey it makes sense. Have you ever defeated a cyclops? No? I rest my case. Though seeing how it took him so long to get home I don't think he'd be much good in a race situation. The new Jarno Trulli?

5pts The aforementioned Pizza: It was rather scrummy. It was the Meat Feast if you're interested.

4pts Tom Kristensen: For winning le Mans for the seventh time. Impressive stuff, he actually had to race other cars too.

3pts Richard Hammond's Mum: For indicating on the Top Gear test track when taking a corner. Very funny.

2pts David Coulthard: Maybe the other drivers felt the same way, but good on DC for wanting to race. And he was talking alot of sense (as usual) when Ted Kravitz interviewed him before the race.

1pt Tiago Monteiro: Poor bastard, he gets on the podium and there's noone there to spray champagne on. He was like a little boy sat all on his own with a big cake at his birthday party. He was really determined to make the most of it though. Bless his little cotton socks.

-1 Googolplex pts Michelin: This whole mess could have been avoided if they'd brought suitable tyres.


June 18, 2005

Neurosis

It's coming up to the end of the academic year. If you're neurotic like me this means you have to use up every last bit of food and all disposable items. The result is some interesting meals and perculiar behaviour…

Mike on food

"Gravy on pizza? Why not?"

"Cheese and tomato usually go well together, so cheese mixed with spaghetti hoops must work."

"I've always wondered what it would be like to eat 1/5 of a jar of oregano."

"I think there's some toast underneath this butter somewhere."

"Tomato Puree on waffles, mmmm"

Mike on drinks

"Damn! I accidentally forgot that I made a cup of tea fifteen minutes ago and now it's gone cold. Oh well, better make another."

"Surely milk can be used as a mixer."

"Whoops! I appear to have spilt my drink, again. I am clumsy tonight. Better get the kitchen towel out."

Mike on soap

"My hands might be bleeding but I wanted to be sure that they were clean."

…I have no idea why I don't just take the stuff home with me.


June 17, 2005

Friday

Follow-up to Thursday from Bloggle

Today kicked off in the Staff Room listening to the bi-weekly staff briefing. The main topic was a game some of the Year 9s are currently playing which has been dubbed "killer". The idea is to go around choking each other until they go blue in the face and pass out. No kidding. I think some neolithics at my school had some kind of wrestling equivalent – nothing to do with me, a prerequisite for taking part was having an IQ of 50 or less – but this is in a whole other league of stupidity.

I wasn't in a classroom much today, mostly it was spent between talking to various membeers of staff about their roles in school and lesson planning. I do seem to have spent a long time planning the lessons I'll be teaching next week, so hopefully they should be reasonably good – I'm dreading turning up and having run out of ideas after five minutes, I have absolutely no idea how long each thing I have planned will take.

I invigilated another exam today, which was kind of dull seeing as the novelty value had worn off from the first time. I felt sorry for the kids sitting the test, they were only Year 7s and it was boiling. I could hardly concentrate on invigilating – ie. standing around a bit – it must have been really tough sitting what for them was probably a really hard exam. The most funny thing was being asked for that technically named piece of mathematical equipment, the "angle measurey thing".

Again I waited ages for my taxi to show, fortunately this time it did. And it was worth the wait, they sent a Mercedes of all things! Talk about luxury, I stepped in from sweltering heat to the nice cool air-conditioned interior of Stuttgart's finest. Very pleasant indeed, today the taxi stopped to pick up some other people on the same scheme from schools in Coventry. It was nice to chat and exchange experiences.

Next week as I mentioned I'm actually going to be teaching a class. I've come across them before and they seem a nice bunch of kids, I hope they don't turn into horrors especially for me. The normal teacher will be there anyway so I don't reckon I'll end up skinned alive and I'm quite looking forward to it.


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