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Bad hair day? Apparently.

Greetings, reader(s)!

So. I have moved to London. It's cold. Indescribably cold. Due to this, I decided to purchase gloves today. I'd definitely recommend them to anyone choosing to come here.

Anyway. In order to make this thrilling purchase, I had to catch the tube to Bond Street. Now, no one tells you this before you come to London, but if you stand still for more than a nanosecond when ... well, anywhere outside, but especially at tube stations ... you'll be accosted by people.

So, I got to Bond Street Station and made the fatal mistake of standing still for all of about 7 seconds whilst I was looking around to see what things were there. Spotting a possible prey, this... guy..  came up to me, from a hairdressing/products stand, and conversation ran thusly:

Him: Hey, do you have a minute!
Me: Um... sure.
Him: How do you style your hair!
Me: I don't.
Him: Well, can we show you a styling trick? It's absolutely free! Only takes a minute. Less than a minute!
Me: Uh... no thanks. Anything you show me will be irrelevant.
Him: Oh! Why's that?
Me: Because I'm... fine with my hair as it is.
Him: -pauses- Oh, okay then.
Me: -blank stare-. -walks off-.

Now. I can surmise only two possible reasons for this discussion. Either he looked at my hair and thought I was in desperate need of styling advice, or... worse.. looked at my hair and thought I was the sort of person who was going to be interested in styling advice.

Whichever way, I wasn't impressed.


His Own Way.

This is very much meant to be a 'spoken poem', so a great deal of the humour/emphasis is lost in merely written form. Still.


I arrive at the school at a quarter to eight
And turn off my ipod as I walk through the front gate.
I smile and nod at a student I pass
And in return, all I hear is - hrmphphgr.

I pause, then I shrug, and enter the office,
I'm alone and there's peace, well, to a degree at least
While I turn on the computers and flick a light switch,
And marvel that for an hour or so no one will think - what a b... witch.

But before I know it, 9am strikes a chord,
So I walk to my class, where I'm somewhat reassured
In the presence of students who've bothered to show,
That this may indicate they want to know... something.

This hope is crushed when the first thing I hear,
Is "Miss, when can I get sent outta here?!"
"Never," I say, and with a swish and a click,
Unlock the class door and with it the students slump, I admit.

There's an audible groan when we enter, which I choose to ignore,
As already we have greater problems - namely, the floor.
"Get in a chair," I insist with a smile
And the student, well, he just reclines on the spot for a while,
Until lazily he bothers to stand, and with a casual wave of his hand
Informs me "It's a bit early to be getting so mad."

I don't rise to the bait, I instead contemplate
The complete audacity and wish he had the same capacity
For applying his mind to, say, Shakespeare.

Then I decide to head to the front of the class,
And as I walk past
Every seated student I hear "Can I take the absence sheet down?"
And I fear
I am getting bored by the question.

Non-committal, I shrug at each one, and decide that now
Some competition could be quite fun.

"I'm afraid it's quite tricky to make this decision
But perhaps with some small amount of precision, you can help
With supplying choice-making vision.
Explain the meaning of verb, or of noun, or of clause,
Tell me how come in a poem we pause... for emphasis?
Who can give the meaning of rhetorical,
Or demonstrate the hypothetical?
Who knows why we consider context,
When we move from one topic to the next?
Why do I make you spell out DEFINITE every week,
When it's blatantly obvious these tests put you to sleep?"

Thirty faces stare blankly, and inwardly I sigh,
Before one outspoken student begins to reply.

"Miss we don't care,
You're too old and too square,
To recall what it's like
To care less about spelling,
Than how far you can jump on your bike.
Jump is a verb, and bike is a noun,
Cats come with claws, any moron knows that,
And we'd care more about pauses if you allowed us to rap.
But as it is... (and here he pauses)
Well you see, we just don't give a cr-"

I stop him right there, with a determined, fixed stare,
And clearing my throat, speak up before he can gloat,
"You. You can take the absences down."
But this, I make sure, is said with a frown.

He takes it out of my hand with a flourish and bow,
And his classmates all think it's an absolute howl.
As for me, really I'm thrilled, what can I say?
One student has shown that he's learnt something prior to today,
Even if... it was in his own way.


Top 10 Phrases Used In The Classroom.

Greetings, dear readers.

So, it's been a while.

I doubt any readers of old still frequent this blog, and if you do... well, I'm a little concerned quite frankly. Really. StumbleUpon is your friend. Use it.


This year was my first year of teaching... which I have absolutely no written records of, much to my moderate disappointment now the year is over. I'd quite like to be able to look back at my early days, see what I was thinking, reminisce on just how little I knew. That sort of thing.

Next year I'm going to move to England, to try and teach there, which I will endeavour to write more about.

For the purpose of this entry, I'm going to keep it short and sweet. So, for my own personal records (and fairly public records), I present to myself (and the public) the top 10 phrases I used this year.

1. Hand it over.  This was used 99% of the time in the classroom, and once in the school yard when a student had unauthorised control of a spanner. Most often it was uttered when students were using their phones, ipods, sling-shots, or putting on makeup. This was immediately followed by the outraged demand of whether the student would get the item back after class. Which leads neatly into...

2. Yes, you'll get it back at the end of the session. I don't want to keep your phone/eyeliner/slime.

3. Sit. Down. This is fairly self-explanatory, although the reasons behind the instruction were many and varied. Sometimes students were insatiably seized with the wanderlust... sometimes they just thought the air was fresher outside of the window.

4. Listen up... listening.. silence!  I can count on one hand the number of times I had absolute silence in class. Happy minutes.

5. Alright, who can tell me - no, not just anything. You have to wait until I've finished asking the question.

6. What? This was most commonly used in response to the student assaulting me with the query of "Guess what Miss!" To which their enthusiastic response would vary from telling me how they were, to telling me they'd just returned from being suspended.

7. Lining up thanks... straight lines... I said lines, this is a huddle... have any of you even seen a line? Ask your maths teacher.  Students were required to line up before each class. We operated on vastly different understandings of what a 'line' was.

8. For the third time... get your books out.

9. Pick that up thanks. This was almost always responded to with either 'Why? We have cleaners.' or 'Yeah, in a minute.' For any students reading this: Neither of these are the Right Reply.

10. Well done. That's a really great effort. Keep up the good work. It's difficult to tell in text, but this was almost always stated in a sincere tone.

I'm missing it already.  :D

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