Monday, February 27, 2012

What a way to start a week!

Chocolate Week has arrived and was greeted with admiration and smacking of lips as my calorie-stuffed chocolate brownies had the colleague taste test.  I had to reiterate the absolute golden fact that what they were eating was so low in calories to be virtually calorie free.  Tell people what they want to hear and they will follow you to the end of the earth – or at least until the cakes have run out.

So a success.  I now have to build up to my piece de resistance (I can’t be bothered about the accents; if Word can’t correct far be it from me to interfere) and in the desperate search for yet another Internet web site to give me the simple recipe for fondant icing I chanced upon something which may well be a solution to my difficulties.  Marzipan!  Not only do I prefer it to icing but also it is easily rollable and can (if I understood the instructions from our resident Catalan cake and biscuit maker) take the necessary red food colouring to add the final note of horror to the finished triple chocolate monstrosity I have created.  I can hardly wait.

As I am going to the opera this evening to have a good cry, I could perhaps precede the waterworks with a productive visit to the market in which everything I can possibly want exists.  God alone knows what these things are called in Catalan or Spanish and I am far too indolent to look them up and have too much of a laissez faire attitude to actually remember the words even if I stumble across them.  I rely, as always on good luck and bad Spanish to get what I want.  I can’t wait to see what I pull out of the linguistic bag to try and mind mustard seeds for the Jamie Oliver lemon pickle that I am still waiting to make when I finally get all the necessary ingredients together.

The last period of the day is me stuck in front of my recalcitrant class of Year 9 kids with a resentful few of an absent colleague’s kids there as well.  Although I don’t blame them really as they have been being educated since 8.15 this morning they were restless and unsettled and difficult to get into their appointed seats and get down to the task of formal letter writing that they knew that they had to complete this afternoon.  Most of them already have notes that they made last Friday and so this should be a compilation exercise for them and a chore rather than something which needs their active imagination. 

How I used to hate things like that myself!  History questions like “Why did Britain lose the American War of Independence?” and “Why was Mary Tudor unpopular?” seemed to be set for us endlessly.  That was especially so with the latter question which followed me (in the exact wording) from “O” Level through “A” Level to First Year University.  What a paucity if imagination on the part of the examiners that showed!  Thank god!

This is the last tedious lesson of the day and, although I sympathise with them for the length of their ridiculous time in school I also have to think of myself and demand that their behaviour is unnaturally good.  I, after all, am a much more expensive resource that they and consequently must be protected with more care than a mere child.  So they work in silence – and it says something for the mark related work ethic of the school that they are doing just that at the moment.

This will last until they have completed the last word in their exercise when their pent up activity will express itself in a barely containable chattiness.  Although not as vicious as their British counterparts, they are natural chatterers and, as the day does not give them enough time for their natural conversation they always talk over each other when they have the opportunity to do so. 

To a British teacher they never seem to listen to each other, so intent are they on giving word to what ever fleeting thought brushes their brains: no sooner a neural impulse than the vocal chords are humming with activity in response.  It is a great pity that the ear drums of the pupils are not as sensitive! 

It is impossible with these kids to get an entire class to understand what they need to do by the simple “Triple Repetition” rule.  Repeating something only three times merely ensures that you have the better students able to understand what they have to do.  The underclass will merely look at you with touchingly innocent faces when you enquire why they are not doing what you told them to do!

Tomorrow the Second Day of Chocolate Week sees our absent colleague return from the UK bearing tasty gifts from M&S. 

That at least will take away some of the pain of an over crowded day.
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