Tuesday, 15 December 2009


So many questions, so few answers.

Why am I writing lovely lesson plans for a class of six-year-olds who can only think about Santa Claus at the moment and don't give a flying toss that I'd like them to learn about spelling?

Why are my own children so nuts at bedtime lately that I need to come upstairs six or seven times to hound them back into bed?

Why are BA staff choosing such a crap time of year to strike when some of us haven't seen our Mums and Dads in six months and will cry buckets if their plane is cancelled?

Why are there no bayonet light bulbs in Hungary? And why has this bizarre phenomenon only just come to light (!!) in the Nobby household? I didn't realise we'd had so many spares that we'd never actually shopped for replacements in the last 18months, only now to find that the bayonet bulb does not exist this end of Europe.

Why am I drivelling on on my Blog when I am so tired I could fall asleep over my keyboard, and in fact I was in my PJs by seven o'clock this evening?

Gotta go. Answers on a postcard please. x

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

What a day

I just overheard Poppet and Pickle engaged in some game or other, during which Pickle piped up with some wild statement and Poppet replied 'That's an opinion.'

'What's an opinion?' asks Pickle.

And Poppet proceeded to tell him, in full teacher stylee. She was absolutely spot-on as well.
'It's like me saying that January is the best month. We don't know if January really is the best month [it has her birthday in it so I guess it probably is for her!] but it's what I think so it's my opinion.'

I am so proud, maybe my new career is rubbing off on her.

How I wish I could be so succinct in the classroom, faced with the fresh-faced little darlings who inevitably have more opinions on the brand new material I am trying to teach them than I have grey hairs on my head.

Some days teaching is like trying to put toothpaste back into the tube.

... such as my beautifully planned Social Studies lesson earlier. We have been looking at Christianity as a lead up to explaining more about Christmas without too much reference to Toys R Us and I have just got round to introducing the Bible. Yesterday we went over how it is a book in two parts, the old and the new testaments, and how Jesus' friends wrote books about his life called the Gospels. Today we started by going back over yesterday's learning.

Me: So how many parts are there to the bible?
Little Boy: [staring at the little girl next to him] Hmmm?
Little Girl: Two!
Me: Well done! And what are they called? Old and ...
Little Boy: [staring out the window] Errrrr...?
Little Girl: New!
Me: Very good! And who wrote the stories about Jesus?
Little Boy: [finally noticing he is still in school] Two!
Little Girl: The Three Wise Men?

Oh dear.
We then proceeded to 'study' the meanings in the parables and how they are like the moralistic stories, such as The Boy Who Cried Wolf, we mothers have been ramming down their throats ever since they were old enough to realise that if you scream like your leg's been chopped off then Mummy will come running and may even fetch you a biscuit if you act suitably cute when she sees there's nothing wrong.

We started with The Prodigal Son, all about forgiveness and saying sorry, which turned out to be pretty relevent given what two of these kids were involved in during playtime which left one of them in tears and the other one in front of the Principal. However, we somehow got bogged down in wondering why the younger son was so hungry when he had spent all his money and was working as a pig farmer.

Little Girl: Why didn't he just eat a pig?
Little Boy: Maybe he didn't eat pork.
Me: The pigs didn't belong to him.
Little Girl: Why didn't he eat the pig food?
Me: The pig food didn't belong to him.
Little Boy: He could wait until the pig owner went away and then eat one.
Me: The pigs didn't belong to him.
Little Girl: Did he die?
Me: No, he decided to go home and say sorry to his father.
Little Boy: Did he take the pigs with him?
Me: The pigs didn't belong to him.
Little Girl: Was his father dead?

Seriously, when someone says to you 'Never work with children and animals' they are NOT talking about showbiz. Trust me.

I rounded off my day with a Science lesson which was observed and evaluated by the school Principal as evidence to help me pass the practical part of my teaching course. It was all going swimmingly, they were all excited about the idea of creating a pop-up Christmas card as an example of forces in action, and I whipped out the lovely prototype I had knocked up during my lunch break so they had something to work towards. Then I made the mistake of mentioning the jingle bells I had drawn on the inside, at which most of the class burst into a rendition of Jingle Bells at full volume. Curse school Christmas production rehearsals! You can't so much as mention 'the jolly fat man in red' without getting three verses of 'Santa Claus Is Coming To Town' and all currency lessons are off the agenda since 'Money, Money', Money' made it into the school play about Scrooge.

It all ended well though, and the Principal seemed suitably convinced that I am doing a good job; luckily the bell went before we got into the sticky backed plastic and glitter as Science met Blue Peter. I'm saving that one for the continuation on Friday.

Anyway, other news: we are all over our germs; touch wood the boys haven't come down with anything to date. Pickle won a silver medal in his chess tournament and the teacher told me she was extremely proud of his performance. She said he was concentrating so hard he almost had steam coming out of his ears. Poppet has the electric keyboard back in her bedroom again in order to practice 'We Wish You A Merry Christmas' for the piano recital next week. Nobby went to Poland for a night, meanwhile I blithely volunteered to take on Boy-Next-Door's puppy for ten days at Christmas... Can't wait to see what Nobby says to that.
But I like to live dangerously - after all, I am a teacher now.

Friday, 4 December 2009

In Praise of Nobby

Now, it wasn't the nicest way to stay up all night - there I was, one o'clock in the morning, holding my daughter's hair back while she vomits into her rubbish bin... Yes, the lurgy has landed chez Nobby and Me and no mistake. I had it last weekend and now Poppet is down with fever, puking and other unmentionables. Yuk.

But of course then we faced the dilemma that has been plaguing other working families for decades - who should take the day off work to look after the sick child? How typical that the one child who so rarely gets sick decides to do it during my first foray back into working life for nine years. Yes, ok, I know the work is voluntary; hang on, let's get this straight a minute, actually I am paying them for the privelege of being taken to pieces and put in my place by a dozen six-year-olds five days a week. (Its clear I need a lot more practice at this teaching malarky after watching several little faces glaze over during my explanation of subtraction yesterday. One little boy took it a step further and crawled away from the whiteboard grumbling 'this is boooooring'. Oh bugger.)

Anyway, long story short, the morning after the mid-night visit from Cardinal Chunder I was due to have my teaching skills observed and assessed by my mentor. And bless him, Nobby, who comes in for some serious stick here from time to time (ok, all the time) got up early, raced to the office and back before school-run time, set up his computer and files on the dining room table and volunteered to work from home and guard the invalid while the missus went to work.

My hero.