It is 3pm, Monday May 21st 2012 and from my office I can hear a 1:1 Statistics GCSE revision lesson going on:
Teacher: What is positive correlation?
Pupil: Don’t ask me, ask Boris.
Teacher: (hesitating) Who is Boris?
Pupil (aged 16): My imaginary friend. I’ve had him since I was 4.
Teacher: Boris – can you give me an example of a positive correlation please?
Pupil: No he can’t.
Teacher: Well if you look at the question on the practice paper perhaps you and Boris can have a go at it. You both have 5 minutes.
As I’ve said before – you couldn’t make it up!
He’s three, or is it four? So why the hell does he still find it necessary to disturb our sleep several times during the night? He really should be sleeping through by now, every night! By 5 am I decided that he had to go, that I’d advertise him free to a good home, but just what would the advert look like?
FREE TO LOVING HOME … Miniature(and that’s another story), long-legged, Jack Russell Terrier type. Four years old (I think) neutered and micro chipped. Tail has been (probably illegally) docked and resembles an old and well-used pastry brush. Henry hates most people and every other animal apart from Summer, Pippa and Harvey. He is terrified of his own shadow and thinks manhole covers are the work of the devil and scariest things in the whole world. He dislikes being in the car and shows his displeasure by barfing up his last meal on every journey no matter how short. Don’t think you can con him by not feeding him before a car trip because he has reserves stashed away somewhere in his digestive tract just for such an occasion. He has an insatiable appetite for anything remotely edible and a capacity to seek out food which should have secured him employment with the Food Police. He is an opportunist thief: he snatched a bag of wholemeal bread buns from a fridge opened just long enough to extract a carton of milk whilst making coffee, and can be away with a sandwich if it’s left unguarded for a nanosecond. He’s also particularly adept at removing items from pockets. He’ll snuggle alongside you on a chair or sofa and just moments later he triumphantly leaps off and into the garden with a trophy which just a minute before was secure in the depths of a pocket. One bonus is that he will eat anything although the consequent disruption to his digestive tract when it was something unsuitable can be a little unpleasant!
Despite his displeasure at travelling by car Henry loves to go out: onto the beach or into the countryside. He loves nothing more than being off lead with his brother and sisters, stealing their ball/stick/ring/toy and refusing to return it or to come within 50 metres of a human who might just get it off him. He also has a hobby. Henry is a collector. To date he has “collected” 6 terracotta plant pot feet, a stone otter garden ornament and a grey satin thong from neighbours gardens where he dug an escape tunnel out from ours. Add to that his collections of stones and tarmac from the garden path he’s slowly removing, and the baby birds he’s caught in the garden which he brings into the living room to disembowel then you can see he’s an interesting character.
If you are antisocial, hate people in general and loathe visitors to your house then Henry is your dog. He will bark continually if there is someone in the house other than his immediate family, can push doors shut in the faces of new arrivals (his cage is behind the front door and he extends a paw through the bars to push the door closed) and if you have the temerity to let him out to meet new guests he will growl at them. It’s an entirely different matter with his human family though. Then he demands your total and undivided attention. He’ll ask for this by pawing at your arm, shoulder, face or head until you resume stroking him. And don’t be fooled into thinking this is a gentle paw guiding your hand back to him – oh no! This is a demanding, urgent paw with nails curled to dig into your skin or scalp – Henry means business.
Have I covered all his endearing features? No, not really: because Henry didn’t have the best start in life and that’s why he’s like he is. He’s loveable, cuddly and very funny. He adores his Mummy and is building a fantastically close relationship with Chris. We can cope with the fact he’s “different” and have a muzzle in case things get too much for him when we’re out in the big wide scary world. He’s the only one of the four dogs we have that will lie down and leave his food when told to (he has to look away though because if he makes eye contact he HAS to eat it) he gives a paw and does a “high five” with both front paws. He spends more time rolling around on his back to have a belly tickle than any of the others and is a suitably rough playmate for the boisterous Summer. He’s getting better with the grandkids and can even play gently with Harvey (miniature Yorkie) for a few minutes. You know, all in all, he’s not so bad ….. I think we’ll keep him a bit longer
What do Croatia, Skegness and Shipley have in common?
They are the current locations of three of our nine GCSE Science candidates who have their first examination paper at 9.00 tomorrow morning! The Croatian and Shipley visitors should be back tonight (flights and buses willing) but the lure of a week in Skegness with his grandparents has proved too much for one young man!
Of the remaining 6: one has just absconded from the Centre, one refuses to get out of bed and another is undergoing cosmetic dentistry.
Then there were 3: and one of those has to be brought in by a support worker despite the fact she lives about 800 metres away from the Centre and one has an attendance score of less that 25% to date.
I have high hopes for just one pupil who I know will be here tomorrow and doing her very best in her examination and if there is any “fairation” in this world then she should score an A!
There must have been two hundred bodies on the floor – the dead and the dying. My hand flew to my mouth in horror and my stomach rolled threatening to bring its’ contents back into the daylight. They were on the floor of the bathroom, the kitchen and the two teaching rooms. Black and still – apart from the odd few whose legs thrashed in the final throes of death. My mind was in turmoil. Who should I inform? Did I have time to clear away the carnage before the pupils arrived? What had caused so many deaths in such a short period of time, after all when I’d left on Friday evening there was nothing untoward in any of the rooms.
A couple of hundred blue bottles (flies) from out of nowhere is alarming and after clearing away the carcasses I set about trying to locate the source. We had noticed two or three flies on Friday afternoon but had thought little about it as we had another issue occupying our minds and senses: one of our young people has a problem with his digestive system and without going into too much detail emits an aroma which makes slurry seem fragrant. As Angela (another teacher) and I gipped our way through the day we paid little attention to the flies.
A phone call to our landlords and all became clear: either we had left some meat to rot somewhere or there was a dead seagull on the roof. Fortunately I was able to reassure her that the only meat we kept in the Centre was processed to use in sandwiches and kept in the fridge. I resisted the urge to lecture her on the fact that there is no such creature as a “Seagull” but my hackles rose when it was implied that had we not opened any windows then we wouldn’t have a problem. It’s May, it’s warm, and we had a very smelly pupil – we had little option but to open the windows.
Seemingly once the bird rots completely there will be nowhere else for the flies to breed and they should naturally die out – unless that is, I take revenge on a certain someone for suggesting its all our fault, and provide the flies with a new breeding ground
Scatology: the study of faeces
This has been a scatalogical week. Now clearly my dear reader you don’t want all the gory details but believe me I’ve had to do things in the past 5 days that no other Head Teacher in the country will have done.
I firmly believe that there should be certain rules around defecation, particularly when there is only one toilet for use between 15 people. Here are my suggestions:
- You may only visit the toilet for the purpose of defecation once in any school day. It is NOT normal to take a crap every 50 minutes
- If you know that your output is likely to be less than solid then do it at home and not at school.
- If you decorate the porcelain both above and below the water line with said less than solid output then clean it up yourself!
- You do not need an entire toilet roll to remove the evidence of defecation from your rear end – and if you do then you need to see your GP quick smart
- If the out put is heavier than normal or you have to grip the disabled hand rail to dislodge it then please lower it by hand or it may crack the bowl!
- If it floats - it’s up to you to get rid of it No one else wants to see your George
- Wipe your arse before sliding across the toilet seat – after all it IS white and leaves evidence!
- If you’d concentrate on doing what you sat on the toilet to do rather than rolling cigarettes your aim might be better
- If it stinks then spray …… or bottle it for use in chemical warfare
- If you use the last of the toilet paper then please replenish the holder – what are the rest of us supposed to use?
- 19 young people aged 15 and 16 years old.
- 18 live with their parents or step parents, one is in local authority care.
- 2 mothers are bi-polar
- 1 mother is a drug addict
- 1 mother moved 500 miles away to be with her lover
- 2 mothers have hit or punched their children
- I mother, released from a four-year prison sentence last year, disappears for weeks at a time
- I mother has been so cruel to her child that Children’s Social Care had to step in and remove the young person
- 1 mother, upset at her marriage breakdown banned her child who went to live with the father from visiting either her or the other children
- 2 mothers put their new partners before their children
- 1 mother has allowed her child to sleep on the couch for 5 months rather than sort out the sibling rivalry which occurs if they share a bedroom
- 2 mothers are in very abusive relationships where their children have seen them stabbed, assaulted and abused by their partners
- 1 mother has done everything for her child thus rendering him incapable of even putting a piece of used paper in a waste bin
The planning notes for the latest NSPCC campaign on child abuse? Sadly no….. these are the lives of the kids I work with day in and day out. I am a parent (and grandparent) myself and am horrified at what these children have to contend with. Life is just so unfair.
Since I sprained my ankle a few weeks ago I have worn boots for more support. Rather than lace the boots right to the top I miss out the last two cleats and wrap the laces twice round the boot and fasten in a knot at the front.
This morning whilst working at my desk, I crossed my feet at the ankles and the laces from my left boot caught in the cleats of my right boot. I was stuck. I couldn’t move my feet apart despite wriggling them about for a good five minutes.
It is not a good look for the Head Teacher to be at her desk with her feet tied together when the staff and pupils arrive. And then I was struck with a fit of the giggles. It took me several minutes to gather my thoughts and realise that if I undid the laces of one boot I would be able to free myself!