Saturday, September 30, 2006

Latest News

Daughter is in the process of packing her bags and is heading off for a sleepover with her cousin!

If this keeps up, it's just going to be me and my mother's stupid cat at home tonight.
Actually, that mightn't be that bad ...

Camp Update 2

Delighted to wake up this morning and discover that there were no small children with big suitcases sitting on the doorstep waiting for their breakfast!

Obviously Blue Bunny has settled well, had a good night and is enjoying camp ;-)

Friday, September 29, 2006

Camp Update

I would like to point out that my 7 (seven, thats SEVEN) year old son has been away from home for a whole two hours now and I haven't heard a word from him.

Not really surprising as he doesn't have a mobile phone, let alone know his home phone number!

Best of all, I haven't heard from any of the leaders either!!

Hot Chocolate & Hormones

Friday afternoon. Last three. Year 12.

You can guess the scenario; they don't want to be there, they think their weekend has started, and even if it hasn't, the talk about what they plan to do certainly has. So they play a game called 'Try to Shock the Substitute Teacher', but what they don't realise is that after 17 years hard graft in North Belfast, I've seen and heard it all before. And then some.

Hormones have a lot to answer for!

Each week I've tried a different strategy to try and make the afternoon more pleasant (for them as well as me of course!) but this week I finally hit on the answer. I offered them all a cup of tea or coffee, but one of the boys asked if I had any hot chocolate. Well, I did actually, so I made a jug of it up and shared it round halfway through the afternoon.

I have to tell you, that for the rest of the afternoon they worked (yes, actually put pen to paper willingly!) in absolute silence. It's maybe a bit hasty to call them pussycats, but it was getting close to that!! And I swear I didn't put anything in it that the un-named ex-colleague offered me ;-)

I can see, this stint of teaching is going to cost me a fortune in milk!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Proud Mummy

My 7 year old, thats seven ... SEVEN ... as in not yet eight year old is heading off to camp this weekend.

The promise of archery, canoeing and bouldering was too big a draw for him, so he sets off on Friday night for two nights and two days away from home. Without the rest of us, as no parents are allowed to accompany their child, although one teddy is!

It's hard to believe; it seems like only yesterday he was lying in the wee incubator in the Special Care Baby Unit at the hospital, and the day after tomorrow he's away on a multi-activity weekend with his mates!

I wonder which teddy will get to go??

Monday, September 25, 2006

Spot the Difference

The astute amongst my readers will have noticed I have added a new link to another blog, that of the
un-named ex-colleague
mentioned in an earlier post (and I am not referring to either of the two definition posts below I hasten to add)

All aspiring teachers should watch this blog with interest as I'm sure, given time, it will be a rich source of excellent teaching advice and a library of wonderful classroom resources :-p


Official definition: The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Pink Blazers

Today Europe strolled to a 18½-9½ victory over America in the 36th Ryder Cup at the K Club, Co.Kildare.

Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke broke down in tears after sealing a fairytale Ryder Cup appearance with a 3&2 singles defeat of American Zach Johnson. It was the third win out of three for Clarke, whos wife Heather died as a result of breast cancer last month.

As they collected their trophy, the Europeans wore pink blazers for breast cancer awareness.

Good on you

Friday, September 22, 2006


Official definition: A person who is both stupid AND an asshole.

You gotta love it :-)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

One of those 'Chicken Soup' type stories

In 1986, Mkele Mbembe was on holiday in Kenya after graduating from college. On a hike through the bush, he came across a young bull elephant standing with one leg raised in the air. The elephant seemed distressed so Mbembe approached it very carefully. The elephant never moved. Mbembe got down on one knee and inspected the elephant's foot, and found a large thorn deeply embedded in it. As carefully and as gently as he could, Mbembe worked the thorn out with his hunting knife, after which the elephant gingerly put down its foot. The elephant turned to face the man and with a rather stern look on its face, stared at him. For several tense moments Mbembe stood frozen, thinking of nothing else but being trampled. Eventually the elephant trumpeted loudly, turned and walked away.

Mbembe never forgot that elephant or the events of that day.

Twenty years later Mbembe was walking through a zoo with his teenaged son. As they approached the elephant enclosure, one of the creatures turned and walked over to near where Mbembe and his son Tapu were standing. The large bull elephant stared at Mbembe and lifted its front foot off the ground, then put it down. The elephant did that several times then trumpeted loudly, all the while staring at the man. Remembering the encounter in 1986, Mbembe couldn't help wondering if this was the same elephant. Mbembe summoned up his courage, climbed over the railing and made his way into the enclosure. He walked right up to the elephant and stared back in wonder. Suddenly the elephant trumpeted again, wrapped its trunk around one of the man's legs and swung him wildly back and forth along the railing, killing him.

Probably wasn't the same elephant.

Disney School of Science

Many years ago, when I started out on my teaching career, I had the pleasure of working in one of the best science departments in the Province. Lets clarify: the teaching wasn't necessarily that good, but the craic was mighty! A pack of practical jokers you never met the like of.

I remember marking piles of exam papers, and coming across one paper where I became seriously disillusioned, wondering had the student even turned up to class, never mind taken anything I said in. For example,

question: whats the difference between a conductor and an insulator?

answer: the conductor collects the fares on buses and the insulator doesnt

question: what is a current?

answer: a thing you put in a bun that is not a raisin

... and so on and so forth. You get the general picture. Anyway, I marked the entire paper and even started to total it before realising there was something very suspicious going on, and it was only a few days later that I was able to establish that it had been filled in by one of my highly esteemed colleagues and left for me as a joke.

Last week I has the joy of bumping into the same un-named ex-colleague in a school I was subbing in. Even better, I had the delight of teaching his classes. He very generously ran me through the lessons he had (allegedly) planned for that day and explained what he would like me to do. The topic was the Solar System and the general idea was that the children would do some research and make short notes on each of the planets.


Until he says 'Oh, and don't forget to tell the class that Pluto has been downgraded and is no longer a planet'

Yeah, right!! So I laugh knowingly and say theres no way he's catching me out with that one - I'm not going to stand up in front of his class and tell them that Pluto has been downgraded and make an eejit of myself.

'No, seriously ... Pluto has been downgraded. They need to know that for the exam.'

Sure, and Goofy's been upgraded in his place no doubt. I was having none of it, much to his great amusement and mild concern.


The rest of the lesson actually went extremely well, I have to say!

Saturday, September 16, 2006


Time for a little update on what's been happening on 'Planet Alison' recently!

At the end of August my doctor signed me fit to return to work, with the understanding that I would be undertaking substitute or 'relief' teaching. This meant I could finally see if there had been any permanent damage done, or whether it was just like riding a bicycle ...

I was offered my first days work in a Special School last Friday, a school for children with moderate learning difficulties. I don't think anyone has ever been so organised for a days teaching as I was that day!! It was very important to me to 'get it right', not just because I wanted to see if I could still do the teaching thing, but also because it just happens to be where my bro teaches. Letting yourself down is one thing ... letting him down would be a whole different issue!

I was teaching English for the day, and I have to say, I absolutely loved it :-) The kids were super, I loved the atmosphere in the school and all the staff were very friendly and very helpful. And it was just like riding a bicycle - the old skills floated to the surface and everything went like clockwork (apart from the fact that I forgot to deliver the children to their buses at the end of the day, but noone seemed to be left behind, so I got away with it!)

The day was a fantastic boost to my confidence. Even better was the fact that the school have offered me a long stint from November to cover a maternity leave in the English department.

This week I have been working in another Special School in Belfast, in my own subject this time. The school would really like me to do a stint until Christmas for them, but as I am already committed to the maternity leave I have agreed to so a couple of weeks for them until they find somebody else.

I have to admit I was a bit scared I had bitten off more than I could chew with this one. Doing one day is all fine and well, doing a whole week ... well, thats a whole new ballgame! However, with thanks to another great team of staff and kids, I have been there all week and have settled in, drawn a few lines in the sand ;-) and thoroughly enjoyed the teaching.

I am so delighted to be in this happy position; Tesco's might have to look elsewhere for staff for their new Newtownbreda store now!

I still see the doctor on a regular basis, she is weaning me off the tablets I never wanted to take in the first place but am now glad I did, and when that happens I will have to rename my blog.

Thankyou to all of my friends who have been so faithful in their love, concern, prayers and candles over the last (who can believe it) eight months. I have come through the whole unfortunate experience and am a stronger person, and most importantly of all, a much happier mummy, as a result of it.

Still daft as a brush tho ;-)

Try this, it works!

1. First of all, pick the number of times a week that you would like to
have chocolate (more than once but less than 10)
2. Multiply this number by 2 (just to be bold)
3. Add 5
4. Multiply it by 50 -- I'll wait while you get the calculator
5. If you have already had your birthday this year add 1756 .If you haven't, add 1755.
6. Now subtract the four digit year that you were born.

You should have a three digit number
The first digit of this was your original number
(i.e., how many times you want to have chocolate each week).

The next two numbers are:

YOUR AGE! (Oh YES, it is!!!!!)

How's that work then??

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Educating Boys

For the first time in my 17 year teaching history I have the pleasure of teaching boys. I am currently working in a school for children with moderate learning difficulties and have a form class that is mostly male.

During form time today I discovered the importance of being able to talk about football. And of having a favourite team. I had to pick a favourite team rather quickly to avoid any major disruption and in my haste selected Liverpool because it was the team my Dad and my brother supported way back in the 70's when they were in their heyday (Liverpool that is, not my Dad and certainly not my brother!)

That seemed to be a reasonable choice, there were two 'other' Liverpool supporters, a Newcastle supporter and a Chelsea supporter in the group, along with the usual smattering of Man U.

Of course Liverpool are playing tonight in the Champions League, and if they don't win there could be hell to pay tomorrow morning :-s

Friday, September 08, 2006

Lying under the Neighbours car in a pair of Sparkly Slippers

Not quite the end to the day I expected after my first full days work in eight months! And I'm sure my neighbour wondered what on earth I was doing, lying in the middle of the road under their car.

Football is a cursed sport! Especially when the average age of the players is 6 years old. The big one hit the ball a right thump with his right foot and it took off, flew over the front wall and down the street, stopping under my neighbours car. So immediately the 'ballboy' is called to retrieve the ball.

Having just changed into a pair of trackies and a t-shirt, I put the nearest shoes I could grab on. They just happened to be a pair of black sequined mule slipper things. Off I clip-clopped down the street to get the ball, only to find it well and truly wedged under the middle of the car. So wedged in, and so in the middle I had to send the kids to find a brush to reach it, lie on the ground and hit the ball great thumps with the brush to bang it out.

And this is how I came to be lying in the middle of the road in my sparkly slippers as half the street arrived home from work this afternoon.

It's as well they know me ;-)

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Northern Ireland 0 - Iceland 3

Lawrie Sanchez says he's disappointed, but hopes for a better result next week when they play Sainsburys