Wednesday, 28 July 2010


Towards the end of the year when an exam clashes with one of your classes a teacher might be asked to invigilate in the exam hall. I'm sure all of you educated types can remember being in exams and might be mildly aware of having had invigilators in there.

The role basically involves pacing up and down the rows of students with a serious look on your face handing out the occasional rubber or pencil, answering painfully obvious questions, not answering actual exam questions and dishing out tissues to snotty noses.

It's quite often a relief near the end of term to have an hour of (sort of) non contact time. However get too many in a week and it gets very old very quickly. Another more experienced teacher inducted me into a game to take away some of the boredom. Best played in pairs.

Step 1: Wait till the students are deep into the exam and writing away furiously.
Step 2: Pace (with a serious look on your face) to the back of the hall then turn round. If in pairs your partner will be at the front of the hall facing backwards towards you.
Step 3: Now all of the students backs will be facing you. Aim yourself down the narrow row between the desks. Close your eyes.Step 4: Pace slowly (with a serious look on your face AND your eyes closed) down the aisle.
Step 5: Keep your nerve for as long as you can and see who can make it furthest down the hall without smashing into a table and falling over sending exam papers cascading everywhere.

Oh how we laughed.

On the flipside of this whimsical pastime I had the misfortune to be present in an exam to witness the negative side of teachers who have taken up the position to do nothing but bully people younger and smaller than themselves. Thankfully I haven't seen too much of this but it clearly happens. Wankers.

Anyway I was asked to invigilate a maths exam and at the start of it the demonic maths teacher in charge barked out complicated instructions and orders to the terrified year eights.

"If you do not have a calculator with you we WILL NOT provide you with one.
If you do not have a pencil we WILL NOT provide you with one
If you do not have a protractor we WILL NOT provide you with one.

blah blah blah. I understand that the students need to take responsibility for themselves but the manner of telling them was just disgusting. Anyway he informed all staff to also obey his rules and not hand any out.

I happened to be near one student who put his hand up and explained to the teacher that he had brought a calculator with him but it had broken in his bag.


The boy cowered in his seat and started the exam.
At this point I picked up a calculator (from the pile of about 100 that were on the front table in the exam room) and put it in my pocket. I waited till the teacher had moved away to intimidate some other 13 year old and moved to the kid and slipped him the calculator and made a shhh gesture with my finger.

I felt like Oskar Schindler.

Team name

I did a quiz in class this year about the health and safety considerations in the Textiles room.

Name two safety precautions to take when using an iron?

I know. Exciting or what?

It's the sort of lesson that makes you glad to be alive.

Anyway one of the team names was:

"Toxic Vomit!!!!!!!"


I'm not sure why I post this sort of thing as it's more depressing than anything but GCSE level students exam paper shown above.


Top of a students workbook.

"March 2010 Monday Friday soon come"


Pupils asked to create a profile of a target market for a new bottled water:

age: 8 and younger
profession: shcool
Hobbies: drinking water
location: school
income: 50p

Monday, 17 May 2010

Flexible friend

We have a project for the year eights called the flexible toy project. It's pretty cool. In fact i think I have written a previous post about it. Oh yes I did. I posted a pic of a poo ages ago.

Anyway the students have to come up with a range of ideas for their flexible toy. Something interesting that will look good as it flexes and wobbles. It used to be called the flexi-fish project but I always try to make them come up with other stuff other than loads of fish. It makes it harder to control, but it's more interesting for me and it makes them be more creative.

Fish, hearts, stars, sharks, snakes, pencils, hotdogs, knives, guns, rulers, names, dolphins, you name it we have had most things so far.

One boy in my current crop of year eights managed to come up with a new one though.

He showed me the drawing in his book but I couldn't really tell what it was and so I had to ask.

"It's a potato sir" he said.

What a banker

In registration once a week my form are meant to read a book for the 25 mins. They very rarely do. One morning recently I asked them all to get out their books or reading materials and then I heard one boy in the class have a conversation with his friend.

As a back story this boy wants to be a city trader and is already dressing in a slick business way with gelled hair and what have you.

Anyway he said to his friend:

"I only read contracts man!"


Bird brain

A bird flew into my classroom one afternoon last term.

Imagine if you will the scene. The bird flew in (it was a Starling I think).

The kids went utterly, utterly mental.

I mean properly bonkers.

The bird flew smack into a window at the far end of the room. Then it did a loop of the room to more bedlam from the kids.

It hit the other window even harder. Louder screams.

I had to make them all leave five mins before the end of the lesson as the poor bird was petrified by their screaming.

Now I know that I am a teacher and they are students and that this should make it clear to me that I am no longer 14. But I don't think one single incident at school has highlighted just how far I have come since I was their age.

It made me kind of nostalgic for the olden days.

I can remember a bird flying into our class when I was young and it was the best and most hilarious thing that had happened all year.

Times have changed.

Incidentally despite my fears the bird was fine and I managed to put it out the window where it flew away on it's own.

Game designer vacancy please apply within.

This one is pretty self explanatory except to say that "wasteman" is a derogatory term used frequently in most situations to describe a person who is doing nothing with their lives or going nowhere. It's a catch all insult.

On the banks of lake you name it

So I keep this blog anonymous and don't post correct student names and stuff. So I probably shouldn't post up some of the guff that they write but in this circumstance I feel I must. It's not very ethical really but hey ho.

This peach of an example of total cluelessness had me laughing and almost crying at the same time. It clearly reflects badly on me. Their teacher.

However I blame the tories.

So to set the scene the students are to design an emergency floodkit but they must come up with the target market for the product based on their own research and justify it. Universally poorly done by my class it really highlighted just how naive they are. Fair enough really. They are young and at school. I'm a smug old bastard who points and laughs from the Ivory Tower of 30 odd years of experience and a masters degree.

Again I blame the tories for my poor behaviour.

So here it is in full.

"Target market:
The type of customer I have chosen is someone, who thinks there money will get them out of the situation they are in, but when it comes down to an emergency they cannot do anything about it, because they do not have any gear, for a arguments sake the kit will be aimed at someone who is in a scenario where they have no food and they are at shore, lake you name it. Most places in China are surrounded by water."

Pythagorean bus stop

So as an adult and pillar of the community as a teacher I should certainly have grown out of certain things but sadly it seems this isn't the case.

I recently grabbed a bit of paper from a desk somewhere in the school. I wrote a note on it and put it in my folder. Later when I read the note I realised that there was a maths quiz on the other side. The artwork contained on it is reminiscent of some of the great works through the ages. A lineage that I certainly contributed to during my youth.

Many a bus stop has been graced with similar touches of genius. However I particularly like the creative use of the Hypotenuse in this example:


Bloody hell. My last post was at Christmas!

Times flies when you

...what's the opposite of fun?

I admit it. I have been very remiss when it comes to this blog.

Occasionally I have found something that would kind of twitch the corner of my mouth into something nearing a grin. A sort of pseudo grin. But not enough to make me type anything. Instead I have some e-mails that I have sent to myself as reminders of incidents for me to type up later. One word e-mails that say helpful things like "potato".

Great. Thanks for that "Me in the past". Good effort.

Let me explain my lack of writing.

The first few months of the year are hell for a teacher in this country. I mean it's hell being in this country in winter anyway, but at school the light at the end of the tunnel hasn't even got out of it's bed yet or thought about getting down to the end of the tunnel.

Easter is the big turning point. After Easter it's light in the morning when you get up and light when you get home. The year elevens are nearing the end. You are super rested after a great holiday. You are strong. Ready to cruise to the finish line.

So here I am. I have just completed marking my year eleven coursework folders and last Saturday my year 10's too. The year elevens leave school next week. My timetable will shrink. It's sunny outside. Happy days.

Time to get writing again...