Sunday, 19 June 2011

Movies: To do list...

Whenever I go to the cinema, I watch the trailers and think, I want to go and see that. Then, I don't go to see it at all. So, I am going to write a list of the movies I want to see this summer and I am going make sure I do, even if I go by myself in the middle of the week, in the middle of the day. And if the weather at the moment is anything to go by, the six weeks off will not be better spent!

Captain America: the first avenger
Transformers: dark of the moon
Harry Potter and the deathly hallows - part 2
Brighton Rock
Friends with Benefits
30 minutes or less
The Smurfs (sad but true)
Horrible Bosses

And also, movies that will have been and gone at the cinema by the time I get around to going.
Pirates of the Caribbean: on stranger tides
X men: first class
Ayrton Senna: the movie

Will try to make an effort to see the first three before they disappear from the cinema.

Next 'to do list' for the summer will be books...

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Let's see how long this lasts...

I was thinking about how long I thought I would be in teaching for. The thinking was mainly taking place during a union meeting at lunchtime yesterday, when I should really have been paying more attention to what was being said about striking on June 30th. The talk of pensions and pay made me drift off slighty into my own little world.

I started to think about whether I could hack this job for another thirty odd years or if I would change career at any point. I can't say that the thought of teaching for thirty more years filled me with joy. More so, fear.

But, I began to consider my career options, and do you know what, I actually couldn't think of anything else I would rather do. Everything else seemed a bit boring. So instead of moaning about my job all the time, I am going to try and look at it more positively! Not sure quite how long the positiveness will last... maybe just until 9am on Monday, but we shall see.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Project work

I had a very amusing lesson with year 8 today.
They were given the freedom to choose an area within science they want to do a project on. So, they set to work, in pairs, planning and discussing and were all very excited and enthusiastic! As I walked around the room, I listed the topic each pair had decided to focus on. This, in itself, was a source of great amusement.

Here are a few...
Death: the afterlife

Now, I could probably incorporate science into every one of those ideas, but, I got the feeling that my class were forgetting this was a science project. So, with some prompting, they all managed to come up with something a little more tangible than death: the afterlife.

Anyway, the lesson was progressing well, ideas were being shared, resources were being sort, questions were being asked.

One young man in particular, was the source of my amusement. He was asking lots of questions about his project on space and space travel, which was fantastic. There was however a theory followed by an example to back this theory up along with actions.

Student: You know when you go up? Like up. Like straight up. (accompanied by a jerking of the head upwards and standing more and more upright every time the word up was used.
Teacher: Yes, I understand what up means
Student: Well, when you go up, you just come back to the start again, don't you?
Teacher: Are you talking about gravity?
Student: No, it's like when you go in through your leg and come out through your eye, then back in through your eye and out of your leg.
Teacher: I'm sorry, could you explain that again?
Student: When you go through portholes in space you get back to the start.

So, by now I'm starting to realise that PS3's and XBoxes have a lot to answer for, but, what concerned me most and amused me greatly was the very strange example of going in through your leg and out through your eye.

Is there a game that allows one to to do this? Have EA Sports made this a possibility?

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Packed lunches

I don't often visit the school canteen, but if I do, it is usually out of desperation for food, or to seek out an elusive student.

Today, was out of desperation for food.

As I was fighting my way through the queue to hand over my ID and pay for the cheese and pickle sandwich I had selected (it was either that or egg mayonnaise!), I clocked one of my year group flicking pieces of potato across the canteen, and, she clocked me, clocking her! Brilliant! Try to argue that one then!

So, whilst I was waiting for the student to follow my request to 'now go and pick up that piece of food you have just catapulted on to the floor' and give her the lecture about starving children and 'would you do that at home?' I began to notice what the other, much amused, students were eating, in particular, those with packed lunches.

The average packed lunch, apparently, no longer consists of a sandwich, crisps and an apple. Oh no! Packed lunches these days are far more interesting! Cheese strings, peperami, sausage rolls, apple slices with a toffee dip, haribo, yogurt covered raisins, sushi, hummus and pitta bread, sundried tomatoes and feta cheese, strawberry trifle, white chocolate mousse. I was astonished and, to be honest, a little envious.

Moments before my trip to the canteen, I had been thinking about childhood memories, mainly due to a conversation (if you can describe communication via text as a conversation) with a friend. I do not remember my packed lunch being as interesting, exciting or varied. And I don't think any of my friends were particularly enthusiastic about their packed lunches either.

Egg curry is the reason I refused to eat school dinners throughout Primary School. I can see, smell and taste it still to this day. A long silver metal tray with a handle at each end and a metal spoon half covered with this brown sludge with lumps. Hard boiled eggs, sliced in half, decorated this brown sludge. I cannot describe the smell, because, there are no words to describe it! The taste was horrific. I am gagging slightly at the memory. So I and three of my friends, which all happened to endure this experience, had a packed lunch for nearly four years, every day, from then on in.

 Although the egg curry incident was not something, that 26 years later, I thought I would still remember, it was the foundation for fonder memories. My mum bought me a red lunchbox. No pattern, no pictures, no fancy system to open and close it, no compartments. I loved it!! I decorated it in stickers of rabbits, puppies, kittens and flowers. It saw me through 4 years of Primary school.

Every evening my mum would ask me and my sister what we wanted in our sandwiches for lunch the next day. Every evening my reply was cheese & marmite and my sisters was peanut butter. 9 times out of 10, I would get cheese & marmite sandwiches and my sister would get peanut butter.

At least three times a week, my mum would add slices of cucumber or tomato into my perfect cheese & marmite sandwich, making it soggy. And of course I just removed it and left it in my lunchbox. My sister was not as lucky as me. My mum couldn't try to disguise cucumber and tomato in a peanut butter sandwich. My sister just got a completely different sandwich altogether, much to my amusement. We also got the most random of sandwiches occassionally. Grated carrot and grated cheese. What was that all about??

Anyway, apart from sandwiches, I had a packet of crisps, a yogurt (resulting in many an argument between my sister and I over who got the strawberry one) and an apple, or a couple of dried apricots, or a box of rasins. If we were lucky, a chocolate chip tracker bar or harvest crunch bar. This was pretty much the standard packed lunch to every child in the school, although some lucky children got a real funsize chocolate bar or a chocolate mousse.

This is most definitely not the case these days... the exotic packed lunches that I witnessed being gobbled up in the canteen today would never have entered my mind. And although I am slightly envious, packed lunches are a fond childhood memory and even fonder are the memories of my mum, making our packed lunches without fail, every evening. Making sure we were well fed and healthy.

If she was still around today, I am pretty certain she would not be happy with my packet of mixed nuts and cranberries which I chuck down my throat if I have time and the occassional trip to the canteen to grab a sandwich. What I wouldn't give, to be able to open the fridge in the morning, have a red lunchbox waiting for me, with cheese & marmite sandwiches, hedgehog crisps (yes, hedgehog crisps) and strawberry yogurt and a box of raisins....

However, I would probably forget to look in the fridge and leave it at home.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Is it the end of term yet?

How soon can one put challenging behaviour down to 'end of term' or even 'end of year'?
I'm thinking that with still at least six weeks to go, it may well be a touch too early.

That internal switch inside every student seems to have flicked much too early this year! Surely it would be impossible for the current status quo to remain for another six weeks? Surely!?
My internal switch, which is currently on 'just about holding it together' may well flick far too soon to 'absolute insanity' with such velocity that sparks will fly!

Year 11 seem to be bounding around with an almost arrogant swagger to their step, indicating that they believe themselves to be above and beyond the schools control now.
Year 10 have seemingly slipped in to replace the dwindling year 11 cohort, with a puffing out of the chest and a display of vivid feathers to make sure the impressionable youngsters are aware that they now 'run the school'.
Year 9 are stepping gingerly around the newly declared 'leaders' of the school yet relishing the chance of being deputies to their seniors.
Year 8 perservere with the apathetic, lackadaisical attitude that they seem to have shown all year.
Year 7 are now so well and really consumed by secondary school life and have been well trained by veterans at evading consequences and deflecting blame, that they are ready to ascend to higher ranks.

It is a fascinating adventure to observe.