Monday, June 19, 2006

#80 on making poetry interesting for 12 year olds

current mood - weary but satisfied
current music - Sorge Infausta Una Procella by Georg Friedrich Händel sung by Bryn Terfel

so how does one improve the educational experience of the average year 7 pupil. well I certainly don't have the monopoly on wisdom here but I'm rather pleased with today's offering. I found this haiku based on the opening sequence of The Matrix. So armed with my DVD, a mute button (the children are not allowed to hear the words 'arse', 'dick' (as in juris-my-dick-tion) and 'shit' FFS) and a copy of the haiku, we all watched the opening sequence and compared it to the haiku.

Then the master stroke.

Hoping that the children would mention it (and they did) Trinity's kick to put one of the policemen's lights out is reprised in 'Shrek' by Fiona when she singlehandedly kicks the shit out Robin Hood and his Merry Men. Quick as a flash I pushed my copy of 'Shrek' into the drive and played the opening sequence for them to discuss and then put into haiku form.

We've not finished yet. (You know it's gone well when the children don't realise that home time has caught up with them and they don't want to go home.) But when we have I'll post some of their efforts. What I've read so far is pant wettingly funny.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

#79 on the verb to be

current mood - relaxed
current music - 'I am a Man of Constant Sorrow' by The Soggy Bottom Boys

I didn't choose this music so much as it chose me. I am currently connected to I put 'soundtrack' into the search box and have been played all sorts of film music that I have never heard of apart from 'AxelF' from Beverly Hills Cop (a classic) and 'May It Be' by Enya from Lord of the Rings. But there you go, as soon as I start typing, those good ol' Soggy Bottom Boys strike up the band, the countrified version - do they sing this version at the town hall meeting near the end of the film?

And I heard a rumour there's going to be a sing-a-long-a-O Brother Where Art Thou? at Greenbelt this year. I hope I haven't spoken out of turn here but if the event does go ahead I'll be there for one of the best films I've ever seen. Can the Coen brothers do anything bad?

Anyway, to the subject of tonight's confused rambling.

My friend John spoke movingly and powerfully today about relying on our own strength (see Judges 6:11-18) given that God is with us. And it got me thinking. So next week, when I preach I shall build on those ideas and somehow dovetail in my own personal fascination with toaism. Like water finding it's way around stones, let's not get too worked up.

So dear bloglings who may chance upon this post at the beginning of this week...

Don't be ll things to all people. Don't be your own worst enemy. In fact, just... be.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

#78 on who you should cheer for

Current mood – distracted
Current music – radio 5 live phone in on why kids need dads

I’m really enjoying the world cup it has to be said.  Even the matches that, under normal circumstances, I should have no interest in whatsoever find me glued to the screen when there are a million far more important things to be done.

To increase the excitement I have undertaken a couple of diversions.  Firstly, I have instituted a score predictor game in class.  Me and about fifteen of the children in the class predict the scores for the games coming up that day.  You score 3 points for getting the score correct and a single point if you correctly guess a win, lose or draw.  Currently I am languishing just above the relegation zone.  In fact if you exclude the children who have been away this week I think I am probably the worst in the class!  Still there’s 9 matches up for grabs this weekend and 27 points on offer.  I’ll post the league table soon.

The second diversion is a way of deciding who to cheer for in the matches that have no significance.  For this task I have turned to an excellent application from the World Development Agency.  

It does put things in perspective a bit more.

Come on Ghana.

Friday, June 16, 2006

#77 on whistle blowing

Current mood – apprehensive
Current music – ‘L’Exécution’ by Angelo Badalamenti

I think the strict definition of whistle blowing involves one incriminating oneself in the act of exposing the wrongdoings of one’s management.  Or having to have done something covert or underhand to expose that wrongdoing.

Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your point of view, I have done none of those things.  It appears as though my boss has made a factually incorrect declaration of interest to the Governing Body.  All I have done is brought to light publicly available information (including her own website FFS) which contradicts the statement she has made.

Worse are the implications of her actions.  We could be looking at something ranging from stupidity to incompetence right through to misappropriation of funds to fraud.  And that’s a sackable offence, even criminal.  Now I won’t be leading on any investigation.  I have passed that responsibility to others.  I can now let events take their course and allow my emotional roller coaster come to a halt and let me off.  

But nevertheless it still all feels a bit weird.  I’ve been rehearsing answers to questions for when I am carpeted on Monday morning as I expect to be.  I have rerun the events of the past few months over and over in my head and I keep coming back to the same place – I didn’t make her do what she did, people need to be held accountable for what they have done, I have no personal axe to grind here (I’ve resigned from the school) and how would I have felt if had done nothing at all.  What’s more, my child and my friend’s children attend the school and deserve the best possible school leadership.

So you toss that lot together and you can begin to understand how my emotions are a bit of a salad tonight.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

#76 on the mystery of youth

Current mood:  bedazzled and short of head space
Current music:  ‘Maroon’ – Barenecked Ladies

You know you’re getting old when…

You think you can easily replace the hard drive in your laptop only to waste the whole evening being unable to get the thing apart having removed every screw you can find and then when you finally give up and put the screws back in, you have about 6 left over and just cannot be arsed to put them back in.

And, you talk the computer techie at work to do the job for you only to find out that he hasn’t seen ‘Back to the Future’ (the DVD hastily removed from the drive as you hand it over) because, wait for it, he wasn’t even born when it came out.

My mid life crisis is predicated on the notion that a whole new generation knows nothing of the cultural values that I (and I hopefully speak for my generation) have used to construct my understanding of the world.  It’s not so much a case of ‘youngsters today know nothing’, it’s more case of  ‘youngsters today know loads of things that I don’t.’  No wonder I seem barely able to tiptoe through modern life and they seem to stride across it without even noticing.

I’m not too upset though.  I’ve got the ‘Back to the Future’ box set to keep me happy .

Monday, June 05, 2006

#75 on the continuing Linux journey

current mood - confused (being in between jobs is a curious sensation. The loyalty to my current class is mixed with the excitement of developing a new agenda at my new school and the cocktail of emotions is a heady mixture)
current music -
Project Pitchfork - 'Steelrose'

I had an interesting conversation with a friend. He, like I, is a bit of a an amateur computer geek knowing a little about a lot of things. When I told him of my transition to Linux he was quite interested and asked the usual questions about ease of use and compatibility. He seemed fairly unimpressed because Linux would not run all the applications that Windows can.

Fair point.

But actually I'm feeling quite released from the Micro$oft shackles. I don't need these applications and life is a whole lot less complicated when you use the computer for what you need to do rather than complicating life by trying to do all manner of things you don't really need to do but try any way because you can.

I'm enjoying Linux. It has it's ups and downs. But each challenge is overcome with a bit of ingenuity, the warm embrace off the Linux using community and sometimes the recognition that doing the easy way (if longer) way is a good thing. For example, I am typing this entry directly into blogger because I have not yet installed the plugin for Word. So blogger does not correct my spelling as I go along and does not auto correct my failure to put in capital letters, I can cope with being a more accurate typist.

Windows makes you lazy and dependent - a metaphor for wider society. Linux has put me back in charge of the computer and not the other way round.