Monthly Archives: February 2011

Well it won’t write itself

So instead of working on my assignments, I’ve found out what search engine terms people used to eventually arrive at my blog (‘Are you an Alien? Experiences of a male primary teacher’).

The list is as follows (with my comments, in red of course):

an alien landed in the playground was there no available parking space?

are male primary school teachers sexy? Yes.

the day my teacher turned into an alien would like to hear more about this

my experience in male staff toilet in primary school and less about this

teacher angry alien school I recommend the book “He’s from outta space and outta control!”

aliens fear of salt true, it gives them high blood pressure

earrings on male teacher experience so last year

boy alien bubble dress so this year

how to give a running commentary on primary school sports day

alien as a teaching assistant in a school

alien as a teacher in a school he’ll be uncovered in the next Ofsted inspection

when i was child in primary school i had an experience good

english courses for alien in dorset

i am an alien  the first sentence you’re taught in the ‘English for aliens’ course in Dorset

how to see eyes when lady lecturer is teaching ask her to look up more often

alien leg shake the new dance craze sweeping the nation

teacher who doesn’t like her bitchy teaching assistant could I recommend an alien?

how to give a running commentary on primary school sports day
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Élan vital

Baudelaire once said that “time wins without cheating”. Time also has a tendency to creep up behind you when you’re least expecting and place an icy fingertip on the nape of your neck. The hand-in date for our multitude of essays draws ever nearer. In trying to get started I turned to the Pomodora technique which helps develop your attention span. It works by…something about…keeping a note or timing… I sort of tuned out…there were a lot of pages.

Our stress wasn’t helped by enduring a lesson taken by a woman so aged we wondered if she would make it to the end. She taught us a lesson in Design and Technology and as she hobbled around the room showing us snips, abrafiles and tuf kuts (at least that what I think she said, she was having problems with her upper set) I began to wonder if I might have to use these tools to knock up an emergency defibrillator.

In other lesson news, we used paint made from the dried urine of cows fed on mangos to make scruffitti, the Geography teacher held up a recent edition of the Bombay Times with the headline “I wish I could have a sex change NOW!” and I narrated a film we made of a recent visit to Windsor Castle. It was definitely the first time I’ve ever uttered the line “and to our left a gargoyle hugging a cherub”.

On the way to a Religious Education lesson, while praying it would be cancelled, we saw a sign saying “PGCE Interviewees, this way”.  We reminisced about our own first days, how it all seemed so long ago and how quickly we were now hurtling towards the end of the course. I understand it’s about living in the moment, but I can’t help lamenting that my student days will soon be over. The feeling is reinforced by seeing some of our fellow students turn up for lectures in interview clothing.  Maybe one good reason to start living in the moment is to avoid thinking about the future.

It’s confession time. As part of an assignment I have to give photocopied examples of a child’s work. I discovered that for one piece the child’s writing was too faint to be seen. So I forged it. So now you know. I’d never forged a 5-year-old kid’s writing before and it’s difficult, especially if their writing resembles a spider that’s climbed into an ink pot and then had an epileptic fit across a page.

I tried writing with my other hand, then holding the pen in a first, and then in the fold of my arm. The results were all too legible.  The only way I could recreate his style of writing was to write with the pen held in my teeth.  I nearly lost a filling in the process, but I promise should I ever bump into the kid, I’ll admit what I did and apologise over a milkshake or beer, depending on when I see him next.


It’s quiz time. Last week’s question was :

What bone keeps getting longer and shorter?

Answer: A trombone (what were you thinking of?)

Thick and thin

I thought I’d just heard the lecturer say “what’s the point of university?”, and then she said it again. Maybe she was on the cusp of a breakdown; maybe I’d pushed her over the edge. She’d been talking about the tardiness of some students turning up late for lectures as I arrived ten minutes late. Alternatively she may have become the latest victim of the Phantom Cock Artist, who had defaced textbooks and exercise pads with illustrations of the male appendage. Would he/she ever be caught?

We had other more pressing concerns; some children from a local school were visiting us for an ICT lesson.  We were reminded that children are like spiders; more scared of you than you are of them, nevertheless we collectively felt there might be a riot.

If you say to children they are going to play football with a robot, they might imagine a giant steel structure with flashing lights and moving parts displaying Brazilian-style soccer skills.  Imagine their faces when confronted with a robot the size of a slipper that moved so slowly it looks like it was going backwards. Even the goalposts were in danger of being snapped in two by a rubber ball. Surprisingly the lesson went well; thank god some kids are easily amused.

More fun followed in a lesson on the Early Years foundation stage.  The lecturer told how she was once asked by one of her infants if her parents “made her”. “Yes” replied the lecturer “so how did they stick my eyes in?” asked the kid. We enjoyed the chance to regress back to being kids by pulling faces and making squeaky voices with balloons. I volunteered to be ‘Vitruvian Man’ and have my arm width measured to see if it’s true it matches your height. In my case it was and at 6 ft 2 inches I wondered how I don’t more closely resemble Mr Tickle.

I’d forgotten my kit for PE but thankfully this being university, and not school, I didn’t have to do it in my pants. This was for the best, as after an hour-long practice interview with a head teacher they weren’t in the best shape. The interview was invaluable experience and I hurriedly scribbled down notes as she provided feedback at the end. Turning to the next page in my exercise pad revealed a picture of a cock so beautifully illustrated it could have been drawn by Da Vinci himself.

The Phantom Menace had struck again and I patiently waited for the ground to open up.


As part of a recent creative teaching class we were asked a couple of brain teasers one of which I think is appropriate for this post and will share. See if you can guess the answer, I will post it next time.

What bone keeps getting longer and shorter?

Mr. Tickle