Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Well, at least Tuesday is over!

I know my place!

After all my moaning and groaning about the absurd timetable we have in this school I felt what I knew ought to be humility when a colleague told me that he had just lost his remaining free period and so was teaching eight (8! Count ‘em!) periods today!  Awful but true!

I checked through the substitutions list this morning, saw that I wasn’t on it and have sedulously avoided looking at it again.  Just in case.  Two, or even one, extra periods added to the six that I am scheduled to teach today would push me over the edge into that misty realm of the educational berserker from which blood-dimmed tide no reputation emerges unscathed!

I shall just meditate quietly and without rancour on the second and third lessons with the 3ESO that I am about to experience today, the first having been a collapsed class having to cope with yet another person being absent.

And just to make matters more than perfect I seem to have gouged a chunk out of a nail which has left a jagged edge which catches in everything and encourages a questing thumb to smooth its serrated edge with increasing irritation.  Don’t let anyone tell you that cutting a recalcitrant nail with stationery scissors is a way of getting the situation back to normal.  I am sure that The Case of the Catastrophic Cuticle is merely displacement activity to blank my mind to the two hours of eagerly receptive faces that will fill the long, hard stretch of the dwindling afternoon.

I have just had my lunch which consisted of a hardboiled egg on a piece of toast covered with something soft and whitish with a latticework of hardened cheese granules.  And chips.  With grated carrot.  As meals go, it went – and I am ready to depart.  But, alas – the smiling faces, the smiling faces!  Which sounds like an unfunny parody of Mr Kurtz’ final utterance.

Having got that out of my system I can now look forward to female stereotyping as found in multitudes of advertisements on the Internet.  My media studies class is becoming almost expert in the annotation of the most glaring denotations in the outpouring of the commercial visual arts and a few of the more lively intelligences hazard tentative conjectures around the most obvious connotations that they may contain!

Our task this week, following on from what we are going to do in the first period is construct a list of five different examples of male stereotypes used in advertising.  The five females types are The Beauty Bunny; The Alpha Female; The Fashionista; The Perfect Mum and The Granny.  It will be interesting to see what the kids come up with, as I am not sure that there are direct male equivalents – at least not as widely used in advertising.

One hour of the two hours that I have with the kids is taken up with them in the computer room.  Our kids are so needy that this is not as restful as you might think with my constantly being called on to validate or explain or evaluate.

Dinner this evening was delicious, simple but tasty and all lubricated with a mysterious bottle of Cava that someone must have given us at some time in the past but rather appropriately for the day it had a graphic of a red sketched heart as part of the label.  Happenstance. 

The useful part of having a new bottle of Cava is that I can save the metal top on the cork and pass it on to our school secretary whose sister-in-law collects these things.  She gains brownie points by donating to the growing collection.

This, in itself is of no importance to me, but as any experienced teacher will tell you, anything which makes the school secretary happy is worth encouraging – especially if you can be seen to be doing something positive yourself to increase this happiness.  We are blessed in our school with a secretary who is helpfulness itself – and with a sense of humour linked to a keen sense of irony.  Hard earned experience will tell any receptive teacher that this is something not to be treated lightly!

Barça are playing in the Champions League (which explains why we didn’t go out to El Elefant as I wanted to this evening) and I hope to god that they win as, in La Liga, Real Madrid are now ten points in front and, as far as I can see, unassailable in their ownership of the cup.  Barça’s possible silverware remains anchored to the Copa del Rey and the much, much more difficult to win Champions League.  I think that I will move to another country if Barça are forced out of both of those!

Tomorrow, Wednesday, is the “tipping point” of the week when we begin our downward slide into the weekend: we have to take our points of human warmth where we can find them.  And it is in this spirit of positive belief in something better than the drudgery in which we find ourselves that I have raised the idea of The Second Annual Chocolate Week.

This was inaugurated last year and was a great success.  Each day of the week a member of the English Department brought in a homemade chocolate confection for the delectation of the hard working members of the department.  I was very much in favour of an obvious exclusivity connected with this enterprise on the principle that it is not enough for people to be happy, it is necessary for other people to be seen to be unhappy.

Disappointingly, given the flaccid attitude of so-called professionals in the caring professions to hard-line selfishness, there was a general tendency towards sharing and this has been (in spite of a minority of one’s vociferous objections) elevated into some sort of moral imperative defining the activity of the proposed week.

Not only has this pinko-pseudo communistic attitude towards exclusivity lessened the delight of the week but also there are mutterings against the hard-line insistence on chocolate as the motivating factor in the energy giving productions.  It has been suggested that the chocolate appellation be extended to a more generic “cake” theme.

It has been proposed that the week be the bridging one between the tail end of February and the start of March.  Presumably I will have to create something in the form of the Welsh Flag to celebrate St David’s Day!  How would I do that, I wonder?

I will have to see tomorrow if the date meets with general acceptance and then we can get planning.

Something to look forward to!

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