Can you believe it? Another six week summer holiday has come to an end and teachers, students and associated hangers-on find themselves back in the business of nurturing young minds/ having their young minds nurtured or taking advantage of increasing governmental bureaucracy in our education system. With this in mind, I thought I would play the teacher for once and have a back to school themed roundup. Now I appreciate some of you will not have been near a school for sometime, so here is a picture of what children look like just to remind you, courtesy of Lady Macleod.
I face a class full of beaming faces, eager to start a new year at the Blogpower School for the Gifted and Talented, based this week in Birmingham. As the name suggests, the school has a lot of very talented bloggers who do not always get the exposure they deserve. Part of this is because they are lazy.
“So I hope you have all remembered to do the homework I set you at the end of last term” I ask expectantly, waiting for some interesting responses.
Some blank faces stare back at me.
“You know, the one where you nominate posts you have read from blogs in Blogpower?”
More blank expressions meet my gaze.
“You know, Blogpower, a community of bloggers that supports each other by reading and commenting on each others blogs”
Again silence. I get that sinking feeling again.
“Surely you are not expecting me to do all the work of researching and reading these blogs for you all on my own?”
What a stupid question.
“Very well”, I say resigned to losing the rest of my weekend and maybe more, “I will research and write a roundup for you of the best posts in Blogpower this week, but the very least you can do is spend some time reading it. There really are some very good posts.”
Sometimes I wonder why I bother.
We start the day with an extended form period discussing what we all did over the summer. Guthrum has just got back from holiday and spends his time moaning about what has happened when he was away. Not a great start to the day but at least he is here. Both Tuscan Tony and A Tory have taken their breaks during term time. No doubt I will get the blame if they fail their exams.
Chervil shows me some wonderful photos from her Dad’s garden, while JMB recounts a dinner she had with her wonderful twin. Ellee Seymour tries to convince me she received a cheque from a politician for a good cause, something I find hard to believe until I am assured the politician did not stump up the money. Two Wolves finds it hard to pay attention and starts reading some cartoons. Detention! You can do that in your own time!
Not everyone has had a good holiday however. The Morningstar tells us he has been diagnosed with having diabetes and is very critical of the (lack of) help and advice he is being given over it. This starts Calum Carr of on a rather justified rant of how badly one of his family members had been treated. One of Matt Wardman alter-egos interrupts and lets us know what the actual problems with the NHS are and how we could solve them. He speaks a lot of sense that boy, it is a pity such people never actually get to be health secretary.
We then start a discussion about the Olympics that continues until break. Miss Wagstaff may be Welsh, but she has no problem congratulating Team GB. Tin Drummer uses the opportunity to have a go at Alex Salmond. No Clue cringes at Boris and Britain’s part in the closing ceremony, which start me off on a characteristic moan about the prospect of having the Olympics in London. Calum Carr is particularly worried about the prospect of a GB United team, and its impact on Scotland’s sovereignty in the beautiful game. I tell him not to worry; it’s not as if the Scots are ever going to win anything, is it?
History brings break to a close, and the brilliant Gracchi enthuses us with his thoughts on the English enlightenment. Not everyone is so gifted in this subject however, and Colin Campbell has trouble remembering events in his lifetime. Bob Piper picks up on the theme of the Whigs mentioned by Gracchi and brings us to modern day politics. Suddenly, everyone is a lot more interested.
The Thunderdragon is unhappy with the modern electoral system and suggests some sensible amendments. The move onto politics has clearly upset me, but two students cheer me up by arguing some excellent ideas that are close to my heart. Firstly Ordovicus explains why socialism and decentralisation are not mutually exclusive. The Cornubrian follows this with some thoughts about why Welsh, Scottish, Cornish (and Brummie) nationalists should be republicans. The Thunderdragon, bemused by all this talk of nationalism, blames the idiots who want to define Britishness for helping to get us into this mess. Kizzie is more concerned about the similarities between her native Sudan and Pakistan. Such a clever girl, she has been interviewed twice by the media this week, once by the Arab Press Network and once by the BBC.
This does not move the argument away from politics however and Mike Ion starts to give Gordon Brown some advice on how he can fight back in the autumn. Oh, dear. The unholy trinity start a three-pronged attack on the government. Pub Philosopher believes Darling has lost it. Nick Drew of the Capitalists at Work collective wonders whether Labour is in the pockets of the insurance industry. MJW is more bothered about the state of the roads, and economic incentives to minimise disruption.
Class clown Bob Piper decides this is the point to resurrect a new version of an old joke that has been doing the rounds for quite a few years. The only type of economics Mutley is interested in is Home Economics, but we should remember that is astonishingly advanced for a dog.
The bell rings for lunchtime and I go to the staff room to meet up with some of my colleagues. Mr Starling is wearing his rose-tinted specs today and harking back to a time when the August Bank Holiday was something you could enjoy, unlike this year. Special needs teacher Mr Sackerson seems more concerned with the potential for house price falls. I tell him not to worry and ask him how his class is performing. Very well apparently; Deejay is now up to F in the alphabet, but Café Grendel is having concerns with a different kind of ABC, one involved in childcare. Another student having problems with childcare is Ruthie Zaftig, who has discovered undergraduates can get support but postgraduates cannot. Meanwhile, Crushed decided he does not like happy endings and has rewritten Rapunzel for a modern audience. Such a realist, that boy.
After lunch, I have an RE lesson with the class. As usual, on the first day someone has thrown up and I start by thanking Liz for her act of kindness. Sally in Norfolk pipes up and points out that Liz is not the only one who has performed an act of kindness this week. Welschcakes Limoncello voices her opinion that acts of kindness can be more commonplace and more subtle.
What is that I see? Jeremy Jacobs and Theo Spark looking at girly pictures? In an RE lesson as well? Give me a reason please, boys, why I should not put you in detention straightaway? Mr Jacobs remains silent, but young (bright) Spark claims it is actually a picture of the Republican Vice-Presidential nominee. Don’t be so ridiculous, I say, that is an attractive biker chick and everyone knows that conservatives are old fuddy-duddies. Surprisingly, Fake Consultant, our American exchange student, backs him up and starts dishing the dirt on the Republican VP nominee. He clashes with Andrew Allison, who claims that this decision ensures there will be a Republican in the White House next year. Such an imaginative child! However, this appears to be an argument that Question That has some time for, and he reminds me that unlike Florida in 2000, this election in not necessarily a done deal. Matt M remains unimpressed with the position of Vice-President, and brings the discussion back to the part of the anatomy that triggered off the discussion, but suggests using the other function of this important part instead.
Heather Yaxley uses the opportunity to think about what might lower the virility, and possibly the libido, of these lusty young men. Tom Paine moves the discussion from sex onto paedophilia, and gives some very mature views on the subject not normally seen in adults let alone children.
We finish the RE lesson with Matt M exploring the question of the existence and divinity of Jesus. Jams O’Donnell uses his Poor Mouth to tell us that the Dead Sea Scrolls may soon be making an appearance online. Then something really surprising happens. Can you believe it? The bell goes for the end of the day and the children clear off as quickly as possibly, leaving a messy, empty classroom and one exhausted teacher.
So there you go. Obviously as a teacher, albeit only one day, and therefore obviously a leftist socialist loon, I have been incredibly equitable and picked at least one post from everyone who posted in the last week, except for this one by Paulie, which I simply did not know where to put. Everyone’s a winner!
Now bugger off, children. Teacher has a lot of important government forms to fill in.