June 2008


It has been suggested to me that teachers find themselves with little to do at this time of year.

So let me try and set the record straight……..

Friday

The weekend begins here.  I come home late, after running about after school to get some last minute supplies that the lovely Sharon forgot to get.  When I do get home I rush about and pack my bags for a weekend away that I have pushed to the back of my mind until now, when I have to grab what I need and realise that it’s not washed or is at the bottom of the last ruck sack I look in.

I wolf down a very nasty pizza (pepperoni and glucose flavour) before I jump in the car and head up to the north Antrim Coast to join the lovely Sharon.

I arrive at a hostel to find the students and other teachers gone to Portrush for chips.  I take this rare moment to curl up on a sofa in the common room and read a little.  Other people using the hostel laugh and bustle around me.  I am oblivious.

Saturday

Normally weekends away with students involve ridiculously early starts, but on this one the lovely Sharon is in charge.  She sets the pace.  Breakfast is scheduled for 10am and she is one of the later ones to arrive.

The day is spent between a long canoe trip on the river and archery.  The rain stays off and no apples are produced to prop on heads.  Success.

In the evening I find a quiet corner under a staircase.  I hunch myself over a low coffee table on a broken chair and I write my form tutor reports fueled by strong coffee.  The barbecue is a welcome distraction to break up the task and prevent writer’s hand cramp.

At 3.30 am it is decided that the evening of games and laughter is finished.

Sunday

Late breakfast again then games, then a big cleanup.  Go home.  Light fire.  Put feet up.  Drink wine.

Monday

The electronic reports have to be generated today.  I spent half my free time roaming the school trying to figure out what subjects some rogue students actually take.  I call them rogue students because their entries in the school database is all messed up and their timetables, and thus reports, are up the left.  The other half of my free time is spent pouring over geeky code I have written to fix all the mistakes that we know will be created by the system.

In the evening I pack my ruck for the mountains and then fire off some quick emails to the staff involved in the report writing.  The c2k email system blocks my mail under the safe text filtering policy.  I NEED this email to be sent and will not be in school tomorrow.  I pour over every word I have written and keep re-sending the mail.  After 1 hour of changing word after word and  no success; the mail gets trough.  This was after I changed “usb pens” to “usb drives”.

I drive to the mountains.  I arrive late.

When I meet up with the gold DOE group and thier instructor they are tired after having been on the hills for two days already.  They are not too tired as we sit and chat and the conversation gets deep.  We end up discussing philosophy and world politics deep into the night as the midge flys drain us of our essence.

I find a quiet spot and pitch my tent.  A new tent I bought a few months back in a sale but had not used yet.  When it is pitched it looks like a freak tent.  An ugly tent made to be practical and smart, not pretty.  I love it.

Tuesday.

Over coffee and in front of a backdrop of steep misty mountains I answer emails and texts about the reports.

The gold group head off into the forests leaving their instructor and I little to do until we meet them at a check point later on.  We head to the local climbing wall to ‘hang’ out and work off our breakfast.

After lunch the golds head home and I head back into the hills.  I walk in to try and figure out where the lovely Sharon might be.  She should have arrived into the hills earlier that day with her own students.  After a long walk wandering alone in the mountains I stumble upon them shuffling along.  The lovely Sharon confides that the biggest challenge, to her as a leader in the hills, is patience.   Not patience with the students, patience with the slow speed they walk.  She finds it hard to walk slowly in the mountains.  I confide in her that I am here to scrounge a free meal with her fellow teachers.

By 8pm, and lots of lessons in campcraft,  we are sitting down to our chicken stroganoff.

1. IF YOU’RE CHOKING ON AN ICE CUBE, SIMPLY POUR A CUP OF BOILING WATER DOWN YOUR THROAT. PRESTO! THE BLOCKAGE WILL INSTANTLY REMOVE ITSELF.

2. AVOID CUTTING YOURSELF WHEN SLICING VEGETABLES BY GETTING SOMEONE ELSE TO HOLD THE VEGETABLES WHILE YOU CHOP.

3. AVOID ARGUMENTS ABOUT THE TOILET SEAT – USE THE SINK.

4. FOR HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE SUFFERERS ~ SIMPLY CUT YOURSELF AND BLEED FOR A FEW MINUTES, THUS REDUCING THE PRESSURE ON YOUR VEINS. REMEMBER TO USE A TIMER.

5. A MOUSE TRAP PLACED ON TOP OF YOUR ALARM CLOCK WILL PREVENT YOU FROM ROLLING OVER AND GOING BACK TO SLEEP AFTER YOU HIT THE SNOOZE BUTTON.

6. IF YOU HAVE A BAD COUGH, TAKE A LARGE DOSE OF LAXATIVES. THEN YOU’LL BE AFRAID TO COUGH.

7. YOU ONLY NEED TWO TOOLS IN LIFE – WD-40 AND DUCT TAPE. IF IT DOESN’T MOVE AND SHOULD, USE THE WD-40. IF IT SHOULDN’T MOVE AND DOES, USE THE DUCT TAPE.

8. REMEMBER – EVERYONE SEEMS NORMAL UNTIL YOU GET TO KNOW THEM.

9. IF YOU CAN’T FIX IT WITH A HAMMER, YOU’VE GOT AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM.

DAILY THOUGHT: SOME PEOPLE ARE LIKE SLINKIES – NOT REALLY GOOD FOR ANYTHING, BUT THEY BRING A SMILE TO YOUR FACE WHEN PUSHED DOWN THE STAIRS.

click here to de-stress

Last night was it. I psyched myself all day for ‘the big wall’. It was to be the last climb of the evening. It was all about speed, technique and absolutely no fear. It left me with aching arms and bleeding ankles, but it was brilliant.

Next week I will try it with a little more grace.

Very interesting pondering in the latest edition of wired……

 

10 GREEN HERESIES

 

Live in Cities:
Urban Living Is Kinder to the Planet Than the Suburban Lifestyle

A/C Is OK:
Air-Conditioning Actually Emits Less C02 Than Heating

Organics Are Not the Answer:
Surprise! Conventional Agriculture Can Be Easier on the Planet

Farm the Forests:
Old-Growth Forests Can Actually Contribute to Global Warming

China Is the Solution:
The People’s Republic Leads the Way in Alternative-Energy Hardware

Accept Genetic Engineering:
Superefficient Frankencrops Could Put a Real Dent in Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Carbon Trading Doesn’t Work:
Carbon Credits Were a Great Idea, But the Benefits Are Illusory

Embrace Nuclear Power:
Face It. Nukes Are the Most Climate-Friendly Industrial-Scale Form of Energy

Used Cars — Not Hybrids:
Don’t Buy That New Prius! Test-Drive a Used Car Instead

Prepare for the Worst:
Climate Change Is Inevitable. Get Used to It

 

 

can you tell what it is yet?