Archive for January, 2014

What I Really Want to Say to Students

January 25, 2014

Patience, tolerance and knowledge: this is the way of the true teacher. The ability to hold one’s tongue when all around you tempts you to open your gob and say what you really want is the true test of skill and strength in the classroom. You may want to speak the truth, as you see it but you can’t – you are the teacher, the adult in the room, the one who is trained, educated and above vengeful verbal vitriol. No, actually, it’s because if you’re truthful to the wrong sort of child you can lose your job.

I have known teachers who said what they wanted, but they were by and large feared. Certainly I’ve had robust relationships with some of my classes, but thats tended to be with senior classes, who’ve got their act together, who you don’t need to pretend with, where the whole ambiance is quite different. I remember my Writing Workshop classes from St Pat’s fondly, where the whole world was up for discussion and I was brutally honest about their work and their behaviour and they were all completely cool about it.


So, if I could say what I wanted…

annoying bears

Do you really think I care about your pathetic life?

I hate you too, you fat ugly bitch

You’re a spoilt brat and your mother is a stupid witch for allowing you to become so arrogant on the basis of nothing at all

I’m only paid to care about your C

You are destined for the gutter – sooner rather than later I think

Perhaps if you weren’t so ugly you’d be nicer

Clearly my 30 years experience means nothing in the face of your amazing intellect

Yes, fail, I don’t actually care

You’re right I do think you’re dumb as dog shit

How stupid are you?

You’re calling Lennie thick…

Yes, there is no point to Shakespeare, to poetry, to stories, to books; there is no point to anything at all, so go off and shoot yourself now and save the rest of us your pointless whining and moaning

My dog is smarter than you, better looking and infinitely nicer to be around

Have you left your brain on the bus?

Do you have any thoughts at all, one lonely one, even?

Yes, you are stupid and lazy and will amount to nothing

You really think someone is going to employ you when you can’t even bring a bloody pen to class…

Don’t open your mouth ever again as all you say is shit

This is the biggest load of crap I have ever read, there is nothing redeeming about it. I’ll just throw it in the bin, where it belongs

Your writing is unbelievably boring

Silly me, you are a Princess, I forgot, no-one call tell you what to do

I forgot, you’re here to be entertained, not to learn, not to work but to have fun. Oh deary me, how could I forget that I’m not a circus clown.

No, of course you can do what you like; so can I, so next time I see you on the street I’ll run you down in my car

I can’t wait for you to get into the real world and get smacked down for speaking to someone else the way you speak to me

It’s just as well your mother loves you

I’d throw myself under the nearest bus if you were my child

Shut up now and forever

Just get over yourself

Fuck right off

mr rude

But what I say instead is…

Oh, dear

Never mind

I’m sure you can get a C if you just apply yourself

I would prefer it if you sat here, in this seat this lesson

When you’re calm we can go over this again

Perhaps you could listen now

You do need to apply yourself

Learning isn’t just about fun, you have to do some work to pass

I’d like you to go outside for a while

I’m here to help you

huggin pbears


Indeed I need to add consummate liar to the list of professional attributes at the beginning of this blog. Being able to lie convincingly seems to be the central skill of my job. As Lady Macbeth says to Macbeth in their murder planning phase ‘look like th’ innocent flower, but be the serpent under’t’ (Act1, scene5). It seems I’ve been following her advice as long as Apple have been around, so no doubt I’ll manage to keep doing it until I am blessed by full and complete retirement. (Images from Google Images and Private Collection)


3 Simple Resolutions for 2014

January 11, 2014

The New Year is upon us again, inevitably as it must. Have you made resolutions, made pledges about a new you, a new life? In the spirit of this time of the year, just like Spring, when we feel a surge of hopefulness again, a sense that we have another chance to get things right, let me suggest three simple things for this year. No complex and endless lists of resolutions but three things we can all do.

Be yourself. Sometimes we lose who we are in the hurly burly of living. We find ourselves doing things we’re not sure about, acting in ways that don’t sit well with us, being with people we don’t have much in common with or don’t even like. So this year, step away from the noise and find the real you, the one at the centre of your being, the one you like. It may be a bit of a journey, but isn’t it time to know yourself, be yourself? We can’t expect others to like us, to be comfortable with us if we aren’t comfortable in our own skins.

I’ve blogged about this idea before, but a New Year is a good time to take a moment or two and think about who you are, all your lovely wonderful bits and your rough edges. How much do you want to change, do you need to change? But not for others, for yourself. At the end of the day, the person you have to live with most is you, make sure you are the best possible you you can be!!

pinky & the tree


Be happy. Sometimes we don’t know what happiness is until it’s gone. Hm, I’m sure that’s a good song line, or incredibly clichéd. But it’s true. Just as you need to know yourself, you need to know what makes you happy. Again, it’s in the little things, the small moments, in being and doing. So make a list of what makes you happy and actively embrace happiness as part of your life. See previous blogs on this and make sure you make this your year to be happy, especially if 2013 was a bitch, as I know it was for many people. Consider happiness your quest, your right: get out there and find it. Do the things you love doing and be with the people you love: that’s an easy step to happiness.

Zanzmy 3


Be healthy. Well, yes, you need to be healthy, you need to be as well as you can be so you can get the best from life. So it probably means dieting, or cutting back on your drinking, giving up chocolate for a while, probably bread too. It surely means stopping the fags. Have a go at the VB6 (Vegan Before 6pm), the 5:2 (5 days normal eating, 2 days on 500 calories), Weight Watchers, etc, etc.  You don’t have to be super skinny but you should be able to look in your mirror and smile more than you grimace. Don’t forget that too much alcohol and smoking ages (very bad for the skin) you as well as contributes to a host of horrible diseases, which get closer as we get older.

champ bottles

It definitely means being active. Don’t assume just because you’re skinny that you’re fit or healthy. Move your fat arse or skinny hips and get fit, keep moving, don’t seize up and end up reliant on drugs or a woefully undermanned health care system (no matter where you are in the world). Get thee to a gym, or a pool: get walking. Being fit and healthy will stem the tide against Diabetes, Cancer, Heart attacks, etc. Don’t die before you have to. Don’t be old and infirm before you have to. Get healthy and stay healthy. But, that doesn’t mean giving up the silken pleasures of chocolate or champagne or eggs and bacon. It means eat less, move more and be aware of your own health pressure points.



There you go, three simple steps to a better you. Not so hard really if you want a life that you enjoy for a long time. Being happy helps you live longer and better, as does being healthy, so find the you that makes you happy and you’ll live a long abundant life.  Happy 2014, it WILL be a better year. xx (Pix courtesy Private Collection)