24 Jan 2010

Bollocks to it all, I'm moving to China...

Well almost. I have an interview tomorrow for a job working in a school in China, if it goes well then I'll be starting in August. Teaching. In China.

Yep, random and undermining change is the story of my life.

People ask 'Why?!', 'Why China?', 'Why so suddenly?' and 'Where are your trousers?'. All valid questions that need some kind of answer...


Realising that my life was marching on like the SS on speed was a bit of a shock. Here I am counting down the seconds of my life as they drain inexplicably away and I haven't done those things I thought I'd do when I was 18. Like lunge wildly at the Pope or be knighted for services to the tobacco industry. One of the things I have wanted to do for a long time was work abroad. To teach in another culture would be an unparalleled experience. And when, at the ripe old age of 37, as I lie on my death bed I want to say 'fuck you all, I worked abroad and it was awesome. Oh, and little brother...you're adopted'.

'Why China?'

Working in the West would be an incredible experience. But to go somewhere that is totally alien, that has its own identity rather than a scaled down version of America-Lite or Diet-Europe would be honestly the most exciting and terrifying thing I could do. China provides that. And also the food is great.

I've also always had a curious predilection towards Communism. Not as an ideology that I subscribe to but as something that I am fascinated by. Like an atheist reading the Bible or Tom Cruise watching videos of normal people.

'Why So Suddenly?'

Think of it as a quarter-life crisis if you will. Perhaps a sudden realisation of my own mortality and a lack of experience that I currently have of the world at large would be another possible explanation. I feel the real reason is that I am impulsive to the point of recklessness whereby I just decide. One day I wake up and say 'I will do this' and I do. In truth I have never regretted a decision made this way but it does make it a little difficult to plan ahead. It does also have major repercussions on The Duchess. She was not best pleased and more than a little hurt. Once I explained my reasons she was massively supportive and I know that even though I'm moving away for a long time a small part of my heart will remain here in Blighty, with her.

'Where are your trousers?'

I'm sorry officer. I thought it would be funny and I didn't realise that there was a parade of nuns going through town. Do you really think the handcuffs are necessary? Oh, ok then.

So I have to wait and see if I do ok in the interview. If I do, then I will have the opportunity of a lifetime. If not then I will be hugely disappointed but will carry on looking.

Its a long way to Beijing. A long way to go.

7 Jan 2010

Bit of snow...chance to moan.

Gotta love being British. The first bit of decent snow for almost 30 years and after the first .03 nanoseconds we're blaming everyone from the government to simple teaching folk like me. Here are some examples from the BBC website's 'Have Your Say' section in which people with the cranial capacity of a duck are (for reasons unknown) allowed to communicate with the general public rather than being locked away in cave with enough air for two days:

I am completely amused at the way people find any excuse to "work from home" but we really know most of them are at the pub or sleeping in! Have a thought for those who have made the effort to keep this country running! We deserve some recognition!

Jessica Doran, London

Well fucking done there Jessica. You made the choice to go to work, no doubt risking life and limb to 'keep this country running'. Whilst other people spent the day having a lie-in or going to the pub. I rather think, Jessica, that they are completely amused by you and your determination to slog away at an employer that doesn't give two shits about you or your idea of self-inflated worth whilst they casually (and in good company) down pint after pint of ale.

...I am in Florida and, although colder than normal, it still reaches 50 F in the day and it is sunny. Mainly I am laughing at the ridiculous notion of global warming. Wake up people, the massive environmental movement is being perpetuated by those that want to control you through taxes and legislation.

David, Tampa, FL USA

How the hell does that help us? Why are you posting? David you fucking twat, we can't all be in Florida with your smug 'I'm-alright-Jack' attitude. Unless you want 60 million of us turning up at Orlando airport without employment. Also, a week of snow doesn't mean global warming doesn't exist. It means cold weather. The government doesn't need to control me through tax and legislation based on carbon emissions. Terrorism does that just fine.

Warrington council have made no attempts at all to move the snow off any roads in my area. My council tax bill has risen by over 100% in 9 years - what do we pay this money for.

Dave S, Appleton

You pay council tax for Police, Fire, Refuse Collection, Education, Hospitals, Ambulance Services, Roads, Public transport, Adult and Children (Social) Services, Housing and the infrastructure to make sure it all works you bell end. Not just so your roads are clear the one time a year we have some snow.

Any teacher that fails to turn up for school should be sacked. You can get to school safely even if you have to walk and so can children. Teachers should be teaching a responsible attitude to children in their care. It's little wonder that children have no respect for anyone when the teachers have taught them that. In any business, the people that do turn in have to cover for those that don't usually at the expense of their own job. Your employer isn't responsible for the weather, get in to work

Hey Dude, north wales

Er...fuck you. I would actually quite like to be in school as I'm falling behind with vital work that I need to get done. Indeed I have GCSE coursework due which I need to mark. Fact is, my school is closed due to the massive amount of ice on site. I didn't make that call, my headteacher did. So I've spent the past two day doing prep and marking. Also whilst I play a huge part in how a child perceives the world you as a parent will have a much greater impact. So raise your own children. Prick.

I blame the Met Office for 'guessing'! the long range forecast. Their 'super' computers are a waste of money, it seems it's impossible to give a long range forecast. An amateur with basic equipment could do just as well. Also at fault are the climate change brigade convincing councils we won't ever get a cold winter again. Any normal person could guess that every 10 years or so we get a bad one. If councils stocked up a bit every year, they would have a HUGE STOCK PILE when it hits. Stupid!

Andy T, Devon, United Kingdom

You blame the Met Office? For snow? Were you dropped on your head as a child? Do you have a congenital mental illness? Are you, in short, a mong? Clearly yes. So despite the fact that the local authorities stocked up on much more salt and grit this winter but have been broadsided by the shear amount of cold weather we are experiencing you are blaming them. Also where the fuck are you planning to put this HUGE STOCK PILE? Well, one assumes if you remove your head from your own arse there will be plenty of room.

So basically Britain is full of retarded cunts who at the slightest sniff of any disruption to their monotonous and devout worship of the great god 'work' instantly go into an apoplectic fit.

There are some rays of light:

Who cares, its only snow, just get up, have fun, keep the schools closed and get on with it

Chris Ball, Bexleyheath

Couldn't agree with you more.

6 Jan 2010


After complaining in my last post about being back at school I have been granted a heavenly gift.

A snow day.

Indeed so bad is the weather in my part of the world that I have also been given tomorrow off.

I live in the middle of nowhere so there is no possibility of me going and doing anything constructive (as I type my car is being buried by snow) and as such, there is very little I can do.

Basically it boils down to two options:

I could get on with lots of work like a real grown up. I could ensure that my planning is done, reports written and emails sent off in a diligent, professional sort of way.

Or I could go out in the snow, run around like a child with ADHD kicking snow drifts and throwing snowballs before heading down to the pub to start drinking at two in the afternoon.

I'm not going to lie to you, it was a tough choice.

It may be difficult for some of you who deal with lots of snow on an annual basis to truly appreciate how completely mental the British go when there is a bit of snow. To give you an idea it's like there is pure amphetamine being sprinkled from the sky and we, as a nation, go off our collective nut.

But alas, as with any illicit pleasure there is the inevitable comedown. We are so woefully unprepared for this type of weather that our roads look like ski runs, schools close (hooray...ahem...I mean...oh fuck it, hooray!), the emergency services tell you that they are only coming if there is a absolute certainty that you are going to die and the news suggests that leaving the house will result in you being killed in a pointless yet amusing fashion. Like slipping on ice, falling into a ravine and being eaten by a polar bear. A polar bear with swine flu. No, a gay polar bear with swine flu and a fucking machine gun. Yeah. That's right. Don't want that now do you. Stay inside and watch News 24 for updates on marauding homosexual polar bears with guns and who are actually the original source of swine flu. And now to sport.

I'd imagine this is how sub-Saharan Africa would feel if they had one of our summers.

4 Jan 2010

Bak 2 Skool...or something

Back in the zone? Ready to Teach? Prepared to make a difference to the lives of countless of children in a myriad of infinitesimal yet, ultimately, vital ways?

Oh, God No!

My first day back at school was like having a glass case stuffed with straw placed strategically around my head. Where once I was lucid I am now dense. Where I would have inspired moments of high speed action I now lumber around the room in a semi-catatonic state.

An example is in order.

I welcomed my class. They sat down and busied themselves by copying down the learning objective which I had written in a moment of unequaled energy before slumping back into my chair with my mug of coffee and a feeling of hollowness.

Then came that moment. The worst possible moment for a teacher.

Thirty pairs of eyes look at you quite silently, almost mockingly, as if to say 'go on then, teach me'.

I don't respond.

A pupil coughs politely.

I smile ruefully at them.

One looks pointedly at the clock and then raises their eyebrows.

I sip at the coffee.

One of them says 'Er...sir?'

I point languidly to the board over my shoulder and nod.

As one the class looks at the board and looks back, puzzled expressions on their faces.

A slight rustle of paper and the tick of the clock is all that can be heard.

There is a sniff of a slightly snotty nose followed by another cough. Time slips by in an academic slumber.

I finally cave, realising that despite my best efforts I will actually have to talk to the pupils in the lesson 'do the task I have written on the board' I say sarcastically.

After a long pause one of the pupils put their hand up.

'Yes? What?' I demand in a slightly overly aggressive and somewhat petulant tone.

'Er...what task?'

I look round and notice that the learning objective and date are both correct and, considering my handwriting, fairly legible. Indeed there is nothing wrong with these two pieces of information. Nothing at all. OFSTED would look at those bits of writing and find no fault. If I was observed on my ability to write a learning objective and date then tick me off the list, for I am akin to a god in these respects.

What OFSTED may have an issue with is the unbroken field of white that runs between the learning objective and the date. The bit where the work should be. The bit the kids have been silently and oh-so-politely waiting for.

Oh shitting fuck! I've been having a staring contest with thirty pupils for ten minutes trying some kind of non-verbal, new-age, Zen-teaching and they've been sat there thinking 'lazy cunt, why isn't he teaching us?' My assumption that I had actually written the work on the board was somewhat optimistic. Perhaps I had some thought that by merely thinking about the task there would be some kind of pedagogical voodoo in which, through some form of telekinesis, work would mysteriously appear on my white board.

I jumped, from my chair. Did a little about turn and flicked the cap off the pen in a nonchalant way, nodded to the kids and turned to the board.

Could remember the task I wanted to set? Of course I fucking couldn't. I stood, back to the class, desperately thinking of some kind of engaging and relevant task to set. I was there for five minutes.

During which time the spell of me sat at the front had broken and there was a small riot taking place behind me.

And I'll admit, head on board, brain like dough I gave up.

We did reading. It was nice.