Saturday, June 28, 2003

I spent much of this afternoon doing a credible impression of a nagging old bag in an attempt to get the kids sorted, packed and ready for the end of term. This evening, however, has sailed by in a whirl of drinks, food, speeches, presents and discussion disguised as general social chit-chat. There were numerous moments of hilarity, not least the description of this organ as the bastion of internetness and the expression on some boys' faces as I failed to become girlie-scared of a frog that they put on my shoulder.

Slightly less hilarious, though, is the fact that I leave for D of E in under 9 hours' time, and I still haven't packed. Ah. Will not be online for a few days; until Tuesday, over and out....

[P.S. Tom J - the gubbins you wanted is here]

Friday, June 27, 2003

Am slightly squinty-eyed and weary this morning, but have made it so far without serious mishap. Unfortunately, tonight sees the end-of-term dinner and party, so it's another "posh frock, late night" affair... no early night for me! Chances of a mid-afternoon snooze are looking slender too - I've still got to pack for D of E before tonight's out. Sometimes I long for a normal job!

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Have laughed so much this evening my head hurts. It's been the leavers' BBQ for the House, and it's all been very cool - a few burgers, a few more beers and lots of memories, smiles and tears.

Cheers, Si, for the advice about which version of blogger to use - am off to try it now (blogging whilst drunk - dontcha love it?! At least I'm not flexing my plastic in the direction of Amazon!)

New blogger, new problems. How do I get out of the LoFi version? I can do it at work but not here at home. If only I weren't a luddite...

Things from last night that made me chortle, giggle or otherwise smirk...

* Parking a minibus (with 'Repton School' emblazened down its side) in a carpark opposite two of Birmingham's most popular gay bars.

* One of our most studious pupils saying to me, "Are you actually a proper teacher?" On replying in the affirmative, she said, "Oh well - I just wasn't sure because of the whole pints and jeans thing!" Mua-ha-ha - my disguise is working!

There were other things too, but I can't remember them. I have, however, just taught a magnificent end-of-term lesson about Critical Path Analysis (which is like glorified flow charts, for those lucky enough not to have encountered them before!). I got the kids to work in pairs to plan their preparations for a night out on the lash and to calculate at what time they should start getting ready if the taxi leaves at 8.00pm. I haven't laughed so much in ages!

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Am off to be cultured this evening. Well, semi-cultured - we're taking the upper sixth to watch Miss Saigon in Brum, so am freshly scrubbed up (in a dress, no less!) and trying to look smart... have even had to abandon the beloved docs in favour of heels :-) Enjoy yourselves...

Woke this morning with a manky cold. I know exactly who's to blame. I'm sending Harry Potter style curses and jinxes in his direction as I type. Bleurgh!

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Paj's brain obviously helped with the music round, as I managed to con them into a false sense of security with the first couple of tunes (they all sang along - bless!) but then I did the nasty deed and threw in some really familiar but obscure choons to catch 'em all out - Royksopp left them all going, "I know this but I don't know who it's by!" The job's a good 'un!

Am trying to write a music round for this evening's junior pub quiz, but am struggling to find music in my CD collection that they a) might have heard of, and b) won't be rude about. I therefore appreciate this, which arrived in relation to my previous post...

Here, use mine: I'm not using it! --paj

Ta muchly!

My brain cell hurts.

Monday, June 23, 2003

You can tell the deadline for reports is approaching fast because of the number of teachers gathered in/near the staff room at 9.00pm on a Monday evening, frantically trying to find the list of pupils in need of duplicate reports and chuntering that the school's database is not up-to-date. This time, however, I have spurned technology, and instead I've written my reports using my bestest handwriting, with the tip of my tongue stuck out the corner of my mouth to aid concentration. This has worked very well except now I have an aching arm and a large dent in my finger. Bah.

Someone (not sure who, but obviously someone with taste!) writes:

Yes you should be *very* sorry for that one

referring, I think, to my own inimitable style of song-writing! :-)

This morning's bloggage comes with apologies to The Mamas and The Papas:

Monday, Monday, so good to me
Monday mornin', it was all I hoped it would be
On Monday mornin', kids were yawning, just like me
Thank goodness this term ends on Fri-dee!!

Sunday, June 22, 2003

Burger overload. Whoops.

Have been a tad busy this weekend, both getting out-and-about and staying in. I've been doing a bit of reading - 766 pages in fact, which nicely occupied my Sunday afternoon. Off for another BBQ now.

Friday, June 20, 2003

Today's good things...
...the sun, a jacket potato with prawn mayo, canoeing with Guides, a party.

Things to look forward to this weekend...
...seeing friends, a curry, a BBQ, the arrival of the next Harry Potter book.

Sadly this weekend will also play host to report writing, which is a bit of a blow, but as I finish for the summer in 7 days' time (mua-ha-ha!!) I couldn't really care less!!

(Apologies are offered to those who do not start their holiday in the next week, but do not fret - I'm back in work in... oh... a couple of months' time! Bdoing!!)

Thursday, June 19, 2003

This evening has been the usual cornucopia of events, ranging from "posh frock and champagne" to "pint in the pub", meandering via "TV with the juniors" and "reassuring a parent in teacher-on-duty-stylee": Repton in a microcosm. Had hoped to speak to a couple of people tonight, but - also typical for an evening in Repton - there just wasn't the time or opportunity. Maybe tomorrow?

Trying to get my head round that simultaneously equal ops and old fashioned sexist notion. That child should go far. - Si

Yup - he's quite typical of my pupils: vaguely aware but slightly confused! (The state of the education system today - I blame the teacher myself!)

He lives!!!

You might be somewhat pink (15th of June) - try being totally pink! Love Pinky

Welcome back, old bean!

The fun and games of exam marking continues apace, with the following classics being gently revealed to the sunlight:

"The company could then do some interviews with the people they are interested in. How beautiful these people are is very important as they have to work on flights as cabin crew."
"The gender [of the applicants] is not of big importance except for the pilot. I would recommend him to be a man because if the woman gets pregnant thousands of pounds will be lost as she gets a long holiday."

We've got a little explaining to do next lesson, methinks!

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Am marking A-block exams to the accompaniment of Shirley Bassey, the goddess of big hair and big voices. The exam scripts are full of the subtleties which are an intrinsic part being a 14 or 15 year old: "if people come for interview and you don't like them you just say goodbye; you can dismiss them on their spelling and gramma (sic); you can interview them to check their punctuation" (although I think he meant "punctuality"!). It's a good job that I have such classic choons playing in the background to keep me sane. Unfortunately I'm also singing along (in typical Mad style, which is neither shy nor retiring by any stretch of the imagination) so poor Fatso is cowering in the corner with his paws over his ears. Just be thankful that this isn't an audio-blog!! :-)

Which brings me neatly to my next comment

Mad, are you in your prime? Miss Jean Broady certainly is!

It depends how one defines prime, I suspect; some of my pupils would assert that I am well past it.

Sage advice arrives:

add more milk then

Would that I were so blessed with common sense.

It's raining and my tea is too hot to drink.

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Another evening has drifted past, trailing a haze of fine wine and good food behind it. Although not on the same scale as last week's pudding party, tonight's gathering has also been food-focused: this time featuring a collation of starters and nibbles. I am, therefore, feeling a tad full but very relaxed; in the laid-back stakes I'd be verging on the horizontal.

This suggestion arrived with reference (I think!) to my earlier post,

Do you not have any brothers or sisters to oblige?

Mua-ha-ha! You've obviously not met my brother!!

Monday, June 16, 2003

My eyes are crying even though my heart is smiling and I potted a beautiful blue in tonight's snooker match. Have got to wander the House now doing lock-up and will look like a real freak. Gah!


Mad I'll do your dirty work although you may have to wait a while, anyhow whats wrong with you having your own kids, your perfect with kids, just on your level...

No. No. No. And again, No. There will be no ickle K's for you to Auntie. Find someone else to do your dirty work!

That's me told, then!

Sunday, June 15, 2003

You know in children's paintings the ground is a green stripe along the bottom of the page, while the sky is a blue stripe at the top of the page? Well, what's the white gap in between? Easy - that's space.

Logic, child style. Am considering regressing: life would be a lot simpler.

Things I realised this weekend:

1. I am somewhat pink. Actually, that's an understatement: I am BLOOMIN' PINK. I'm continuously rubbing moisturiser into my shoulders/arms, which is making typing sticky and somewhat difficult, but that's the price you have to pay if you forget to pack suncream when you go away for a sunny weekend. Hey ho.

2. I am getting old. Once upon a time, I'd turn up to Scout camp with a four-pack/eight-pack/twelve-pack of bitter (depending whether I was just visiting for an hour or actually stopping over night). When I started going to SSAGO rallies I met the charming K, who introduced me to the delights of port drank stright from the bottle. Now, however, the beverage of choice is wine, which suggests that I'm far too growed up for my own good. Better get that sorted before this summer's round of residential events gets underway! (Mind you, I'm not old yet enough to keep a corkscrew in the car, so it's a good job that there were other, even more mature people on camp too!)

3. I'm quite fond of children. I know that this should be a bit obvious, being a teacher and Guide leader and all, but at times this weekend I felt vaguely clucky and maternal. Out of this weekend's revelations, this is possibly the most scary. After all, I will go brown very quickly (provided I keep up the applications of gunk-stuff) and can easily swap back from wine to bitter, but this whole kid mallarky is tad too close for comfort. So here's a plea for any of you couples out there: please have children quickly so I can satisfy my cluckiness being Auntie Mad, otherwise my mother's gonna be very shocked when I turn up for Christmas wearing much bigger clothes than usual.

Saturday, June 14, 2003

Challenge of the day: packing 4 season sleeping bag into stuff sack and deciding whether to wear trousers or shorts. Am off to a service weekend on a campsite up near Manchester, the sun is shining, the birds are singing and it's all looking kinda peachy.

Friday, June 13, 2003

Spooky, eh?! Doo-de-doo-dooooo!!* Am counting the days 'til number 5 arrives.

* The theme from the Twilight Zone, in case you didn't recognise it.

Happy? The sun's shining, music's drifting gently out of the speakers and a I've got a big pile of paperwork to do. Well - two out of three's not bad.

Thursday, June 12, 2003

This term Madeleine has shown a lack of concern about her progress, too often choosing to leave work until the last possible moment. This means that tasks are often completed under pressure, leading to sloppy mistakes that could be avoided by simple forethought and time management. Her lack of personal organisation also manifests itself in mislaid papers, keys, wallets and anything else important. She will never be successful in life unless she learns to master day-to-day organisation.

Yaargh! Too many reports!! Too much tea!!! And as for the number of exclamation marks....!!!!!!!!

All done now though... my bed's calling.

Time spent teaching - 2 lessons
Time spent faffing - 3 lessons
Time spent writing reports - none. Whoops.

Today I shall be mostly writing reports.

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Smiles all round for the following reasons:
1. The new CDs are great (the ones that I've listened to!)
2. I dropped into Brownies and they were having a great time.
3. There's a big slice of pavlova left in the fridge with my name on it.

Amazon delivers, Mad smiles and turns up the stereo. 'Sgoing OK so far...

As a direct result of last night, I can firmly state the following:

If I were an essential food group, I'd be lipids.

If I were an album, I'd be The Fat of the Land.

If I were a fish, I'd be a bloater.

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Tonight I played host to a pudding party. Puddings on offer included a baked cheesecake, Eton mess, a roly pavlova, a fresh fruit salad, fresh strawberries, sticky toffee pudding, ginger biscuits, mini-muffins and chocolate cake, accompanied by single cream, double cream and natural yoghurt. Understandably I'm feeling a tad stuffed, but on the positive side I will be able to roll to work tomorrow rather than having to walk.

Yesterday's advice to a sixth form girl regarding university prompts responses, both from her ("Miss, I've had a great day, Grey was great and the city was fab and the cathedral was just fantastic" - that's another convert to the joys of the north east then...!) and from Mal:

Grey College in "sound" reputation shocker! Just make sure the lass doesn't fall into the Grey habit of not getting out enough - I never did see the inside of Castle! Or Cuth's. Or Chad's. But then, they were full of rahs. :) ...Mal (also now wallowing in nostalgia) :)

The other thought from Planet Mad that provoked response was the dodgy quiz (initially found on Helm's Deeper):

Don't believe Caz! She's got a little sister, and she claims she's NEVER punched anybody? Yeah, right. Tom

Which speaks for itself, really, as does this:

While I'm on, here's my score: Years in prison: 13 Potential fine: 7000. Woohoo! Porridge, here we come. - Mal. :)

Which is impressive as no-one else has broken through the £2000 fine barrier; not even me, in all my depravity.

Monday, June 09, 2003

One of the most important issues for the majority of sixth formers is university, and they are full of questions about it. One of the hardest things that teachers have to do is answer those questions. I, like many others, look back on my undergraduate days with a certain nostalgia, with an enthusiasm that's probably verging on the fanatic; to have to take one step back and advise others objectively becomes very difficult. It's even worse when faced with questions about Durham in particular, because it's not just questions about the university but also about colleges. After all, my opinons are prejudiced by my educational background, by the attitudes of my friends at Durham and by my abhorrance of rahs with too much money and not enough sense. Many's the time that I've started the sentence "Well - Hatfield's just full of public school kids with lots of money..." and then realised that I'm talking to - yup, you guessed it - public school kids with lots of money. You can see the flaw in THAT argument.

Anyhow, one of my lower sixth is going to Durham for the day tomorrow for a visit to the modern languages department and an informal tour round Grey College (recommended to her as "sound" based on my experience!!) and she came round to ask me for a map. I got into cartographer mode and was a tad carried away with detail, marking my sketch map with shops, pubs, cafes and the occasional landmark (there are, after all, one or two knocking about the place). As she left, she said, "I can see that I'm going to fall in love with Durham," and it made me realise how much influence I'd exerted without even meaning to. I'm not sure I can handle such responsibilty: what happens if she hates it?

Caz writes:

On the dodgy test I have 0 years in prison and 0 fine ....always good to know!

and Amy's not doing much better:

Years in prison: 5 Potential fine: £2000

I'd better not reveal the length of my prison sentence in the light of these results...

Am very bemused: the Laundry Fairy must have visited during the night, for I discovered a load of clean clothes flopping gently round the tumble-drier this morning that I wasn't even aware of having washed. Have to admit, though, that bemusement is not to be mistaken for disapproval... maybe this might be a good Monday after all!

On another note: try this and let me know how you got on.

Sunday, June 08, 2003

It's been a remarkably laid-back weekend, helped along by good company, nice food and some decent pints. I spent last night with Charlotte and Dave (from SSAGO) on their canal boat, then pootled back this morning, lounged this afternoon and am now contemplating curling up with my phone and a good book. Hot damn, my life really is thrill-a-minute!

Real excitement, however, comes on the hamster front. The original Fatso (who was uber-cute but died last summer after a tragic hit'n'run accident with a chest of drawers) used to create hours of entertainment by hanging upside down from the bars of his cage, in SAS-hamster stylee. Try as I might, I could never persuade Fatso #2 (the current mini-kiev-in-training) that he should do the same thing; no matter how much food I "accidentally" left on the top of the cage he would never swing himself up to liberate it. Now, however, he has seen the error of his ways and is - as I write - doing a credible "sloth on speed" impression. It's at times like this that I wish I had a web-cam and broadband to send real-time pictures from the HamsterCam. Instead, you'll just have to imagine it, but I assure you, it's bloody funny.

Friday, June 06, 2003

Fantastic discoveries of my day (part the third and final)
Roast potates, crunchy on the outside but meltingly soft and squidgy on the inside.

Fantastic discoveries of my day (part the second)
A copy of a Simpsons video lurking at the back of a drawer in my desk, which was duly watched and appreciated by one of my economics sets (suffering from a 3 hour economics exam in the morning then a double economics lesson in the afternoon... sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. And of economics, of course)

Fantastic discoveries of my day (part the first, in order of importance)

  • Croissants and pan au chocolat for breakfast (well - it made *me* happy!)
  • The school's web-filter-thingamy-annoying-whatsit does not seem to be switched on. Or, at least, it's not being used today here in the school's spod centre. I have an evil urge to search for lots of porn, just because I can. That said, it's probably monitoring what I'm typing and will be automatically linking to the Bursar's office to deliver a P45 to my pigeon-hole by the end of break time.
  • Squinting at myself in the mirror revealled that I didn't need to do anything to my hair this morning. Sadly, opening my eyes properly revealled the need for wax. C'est la vie.

As you can see, life here on Planet Mad is a tad slow. Besides, it's the Economics AS exam today, and they're all there scribbling away with a glazed look of fear in their eyes and curses on their lips, and I need something to distract me from the thought that their curses are aimed at me.

Thursday, June 05, 2003

Ooooh noooo!!! Late night internet shopping strikes again and my postman will once again be complaining of a hernia in a few days' time. Off to re-arrange the CD collection to make space for the new arrivals...

"Mad," said Kate, "You're not fat at all, you've just got very large breasts." Well, that's MY secret let out to the world (although not literally, you'll be relieved to hear!)

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

The end of term approaches slowly, bobbing away on the horizon over there, and the end of term means reports. For every child. Normally, reports are written at 2am the night before the deadline, fuelled by chocolate ginger nuts and copious quantities of tea. This time, however, I decided that I'd try being organised instead. Admittedly, I missed the upper sixth deadline, but as I only teach 4 upper sixth I wasn't too distressed about that. The next deadline is Monday coming for O Block reports (which is year 11 in real speak, or 5th year in old money!) and I am very concerned for the simple reason that I've written them. All. I have a reputation to keep up, folks, and it's just been blown clean out of the water. How am I going to persuade people that I'm ineffective and unreliable now? Pah!

(It has to be said, though, that I feel good about it, and far less stressed than I usually do when writing reports, so perhaps it's no bad thing. Hmmm.)

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

This evening's good bits: spoke to Hugh, who phoned from Sweden; wrote some reports that aren't due in for simply AGES; played some very credible snooker; am now sitting blogging and eating Nutella out of the jar (grim I know, but one of my little pecadillos - sorry). Maybe the Good Luck Fairy is smiling down on Planet Mad. I'm sure the Bad Luck Chicken is lurking round the corner though, so don't feel too jealous.


I saw your double in town at lunchtime and IT FREAKED ME OUT!

'Twasn't me, honest. I do, however, sincerely apologise for any inconvenience or trauma caused. The thought of some poor innocent stranger having to look like me is more than I can bear... I'm off for a nap. Or perhaps to write some reports. Difficult decisions of our time #375.

Monday, June 02, 2003

The exam was OK - just one economics paper and 2 GCSE exams to go, then I can put the valium aside for another year!

In response to my amazingly poor performance in the Geek test earlier this week, this lil' thought drifted in from the ether...

Just remember this... geek = chic, nerd = turd :)

Thanks for that useful little maxim for life; it may help to get me through many a sleepless night.

I was presented with my district commissioner badge at the Guide AGM tonight: obviously my arse has reached the required size for such a responsible position. Next thing you know it'll be navy-blue granny pants, jogging bottoms you could use to hide a small elephant and "hello" to a house/car full of Guiding junk. Ah. I've got that last one already. Maybe I'm closer to being a county commssioner than I realised!!

After that somewhat stream of consciousness blog, I'm off. Tarra!

AS Business Studies exam today: am very nervous, even though I'm not sitting it. In fact, I'd be less nervous if I was sitting it, because then at least I could have controlled how much revision took place. Even worse, I have to invigilate the exam later on, which means that I have to sit and watch them all slaving away without being able to help. Exam term is a tough time of year for all involved.

Sunday, June 01, 2003

Repton has seen its share of water fights this weekend. They looked like they were a lot of fun. I am sorely upset that I've not been able to join in. Such are the pains, trials and tribulations of being all growed up and responsible. No, don't look disbelieving - I *am*. Or at least, I had to be this weekend. Now, however, I'm back to being an irresponsible, care-free lil' young thing.

If only.