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Classic one liners………. 4

I was in the car yesterday, listening to Test Match Special and  at one point between overs the chit chat between Jonathan Agnew and Geoffrey Boycott centred on being to sea. It was a bit of a random conversation, but at one point Agnew paused and mused

“You can’t swim, can you Geoffrey?”

“No, but fish can’t bat so we’re even aren’t we,” came the reply

A great comeback that caused a few chuckles in the commentary box.

Caption Competition.

Next goal wins laaaaaaads!

2013-06-08T103240Z_1707123003_GM1E9681F2Q01_RTRMADP_3_CRICKET-CHAMPIONS

Great photo from REUTERS/Philip Brown of two blokes who could play a bit in their time, but now just enjoying the day at Edgbaston yesterday.

But what were they saying?

My guess is that Warne was saying to Vaughan.

“Hey, I reckon that the Aussies could bat for a day and a half in an extended game over here this Summer.”

To which the ex-England skipper replies, “Yeah right, maybe against Scotland!”

Any other suggestions?

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Bad Manners still going!

“GET WELL SOON BUSTER!”

[CLICK]

was a post written 2 years ago when Buster Bloodvessel was laid up in hospital in Italy. At the time it did not look good. It was even reported in the NME that the  front man from Bad Manners was in a bad way and obituary writers were being summoned in readiness.

However all is well with the big man, which puts a smile on my face. As in my recent trawl of various ticket agency web sites to see which forthcoming The Hives gig  was nearest to me I saw the list of bands due to play at the Reading festival next month. There they wereBad Manners, and with a future Christmas count down tour lined up too. I might even go to the Fleece on December 15th and see them for myself! It has been a while.

Anyway Buster looks the picture of health to me – here he is playing Mighty Sounds festival in the Czech Republic in June. Good news I say.

bbv2

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday Alan Border! The former Australian cricket captain, who is 58 today was quoted in the week as saying about the current team’s batting in the Ashes series so far :

“Our major concern right now is the performance of the top six. I could honestly say the nine, ten and jack [No 11 batsman] looked more competent than our one, two and three. If that was me in the top three, I’d be embarrassed.”

Chin up mate and enjoy your special day!

I was thinking about how times have changed so looked back at this

Next goal wins laaaaaaads!

I started my professional career in teaching on 8th July 1991 at a West London comprehensive school and I was thinking….

 

 

When I started teaching:

  • Kids stood up in the Hall when the Head walked in to start an assembly.
  • The Headteacher in my first school always taught a GCSE class, turned up to department meetings, wrote reports etc. Just to keep his toe in the water.
  • Some staff would go down the pub at lunch every day, without fail. The Clay Pigeon used to take a copy of the TES on a Friday from the news agent as so many staff went there at lunchtime on that day
  • Every parents evening you were served a hot meal before the appointments started or alternatively you could claim travel expenses for a return journey to and from home.
  • Wine was always served at all INSET day lunches.
  • Reports were…

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Those were the days Part 28

clipboardThis tale concerns a girl I shall call Kelly. I first taught Kelly in 8BR – a form that was a truly homogeneous mix of abilities and needs. Full of characters (and Kelly was one of them) this class was a true product of comprehensive education. The form group went into ability groups for their GCSE courses, and due to the fact that I always had a couple of GCSE “foundation” classes every year it worked out that I still had the pleasure of Kelly’s company for the last two years of her science studies.

Now Kelly and I had a love hate relationship, which improved over the years. I was starting out in the profession and wanted to make my mark, she could not really cope with life I suppose. Looking back now I understand why she did what she did. Kelly’s home life was a car wreck and consequently she did not enjoy living within the rules of the school at times. This did not always sit well with her science teacher, who was trying to assert authority, and often failing in the attempt.

I think she was the first student to walk out of one of my lessons and we did have some ding dongs at times. This is way before the time when students were issued with “time out” cards as they had “issues”.  I like to think she learnt some science through the years and she did get a score of some merit in her GCSE. Whilst following the parallel path that our science careers took for a while, we both got to know the limits as to how far we could go in terms of pushing each other’s buttons. I would know when she had “a cob on”, so would ease off, but could chivy her along in most lessons when she was happier. As a result she made what I suppose is called “progression” these days.

Also it was encouraging to know that although she could be a real pain in the neck at times, Kelly had enough respect not to destroy my lessons. Kelly did however wreak havoc in other classes on a regular basis and she was often the topic of conversation in the staff room. She basically had no fear and a lot of anger inside her, so when in the mood for a bit of aggravation she would pick on any teacher and just cause carnage.

Now you need good personal skills in the teaching game and some people find it rather difficult to realise that if you fail to listen to your students and do not manage to get in tune with them, you often are making a rod for your own back. This rang true during one of Kelly’s science lessons that happened to be visited by a Borough Advisor. Advisors were the closest people then to the current day OFSTED inspectors

The advisor meant well, but lacked the finesse and awareness required to deal with the likes of Kelly. As the lesson progressed he wandered around the lab, armed with a clipboard, asking the students questions about their work. Now despite getting mainly monosyllabic answers to most of his questions, the advisor continued mingling and probing as the group plodded on with the practical I had set. Students always did try and give their best whenever there was an inspector/formal observer present in my lessons. I was lucky in the fact that they wanted to show what they could do, which was great for me – but being observed can still be a stressful process for both teacher and students being put under the spotlight.

You could sense that Kelly was having a bad day and suddenly after being asked another question about her work by the advisor, she put her pen on the desk, pushed her stool back, and got up and stepped past the man still clutching his clipboard, not giving him an answer. The tension in her face was clear to see.

People were still packing up the practical, so it did not look out of place to see Kelly walking in the classroom. Heck she did it when she was not even meant to in other lessons! It only took a moment for Kelly to come over to my desk and look me straight in the eye with a dead pan face and say, “Can you tell that bloke to stop bugging me, ‘cos if he asks me one more question I will f**king punch him, swear down….”

She was good like that sometimes.

Those were the days Part 25

Old School Science

There used to be a position in the teaching profession that had a very basic job title – “senior teacher”. As opposed to the modern terms such as “assistant vice principal” or “associate head teacher”, the position of senior teacher was a post that was simple and easy to get to grips with. The position could be quantified by the fact that it merited an “E allowance” on the old pay scale.
You were experienced, respected, and on the ball if you were a senior teacher. They knew what they were doing. Some were gun slingers (do we call them behaviour managers now?), some were planners and organisers (suppose these folks are now SIMS/curriculum/timetable coordinators today), but one thing that they had in common was they were all superb classroom practitioners and had a bit of presence about them (were they old school ASTs?) All I know is I do not see them around these days – dinosaurs I suppose, killed off by the “fast trackers” and well-dressed office types.
Jim Chinnor was a senior teacher who remained in the same school long enough to teach the kids of the kids he had taught a generation before.  Physics was his specialism. He was a legend.

Jim was a pure magician when it came to holding a class’ attention.  The way he held most groups’ interest was through his anecdotes and stories that related to the science theories that he was teaching and he also loved a good practical – as most kids do.

He had a special way of demonstrating to students the principle of heat conduction in a metal bar. The bog standard way is to stick drawing pins onto a copper bar using wax or petroleum jelly. (See video below) When the bar is heated with a Bunsen at one end, the conducted heat travels down the bar and melts wax so the pins drop one by one as the heat is conducted along the bar.

Now Jim Chinnor loved the spectacular, so he adapted the method above by using white phosphorus rather than relying on waxed pins. White phosphorus burns almost spontaneously in air; it has to be stored away in a sealed container in a locker or chemical bin outside of any building.  Phosphorus was used by the RAF in the incendiary bombs dropped on German cities towards the end of World War II. It is nasty stuff and has to be treated with respect.

The brainwave that Jim had was to put small pieces of white phosphorus on the copper bar which would catch alight in turn as the warmth from the bar became enough to start the reaction of phosphorus with air. Jim made two mistakes when doing this demonstration for his students, firstly he did not set out the equipment in a fume cupboard and secondly he forgot about the stock bottle of white phosphorus and left the lid off it.

Jim was chirping away to his group when suddenly he realised that the stock bottle of phosphorus had been left open too long and the air had got to the volatile chemical. The whole bottle caught fire belching out loads of noxious fumes and because the bottle had not been put in the fume cupboard the room quickly filled with smoke. By now the bottle was too hot to pick up and put in the fume cupboard or taken outside, so a rapid evacuation took place. All the kids got out without any mishaps, but the bottle continued to burn and fumes spread up through the ceiling into the room above the lab, leading to mass panic in a German class. The fire was eventually put out, but not early enough to stop the chemical mess from spreading around the lab and the room above. The building got condemned by a HSE inspector and it was a week before the whole place got cleaned up!

Today you would not see such a practical attempted, but an “interactive” visual aid would be shown to the class instead, ie another POWERPOINT©

But watching the video below you can see why Jim tried to jazz up the demonstration a bit!