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Bring back School Milk...

Out of interest when did the term 'Janitor' enter common usage this side of the Atlantic?

Anyway, you were lucky to be taught Maths. My school used the woeful Kent Mathematics Project which relied on the kids knowing what they should be learning and depended on being able to find the right card in the box. Some seemed to go missing



In the early nineties my school just seem obsessed with finding members of sports teams and not excluding anyone.
Jesus H. That was the precursor to Smile maths, which involved learning maths on your own while the teacher sat at the front doing F all apart from whinging.
 
I’ll come back to the mayhem of athletics in a bit but lates take a short musical interlude as it were. The School Concert.

As a father of two I’ve now been through enough of these to realise that I really should have cut my parents some serious slack as if the modern day equivalents mirror those of my school days, and they surely must, then I can only say one thing; I’m sorry mum and dad. Here’s an outline of one I attended. A description of one covers all.

Mrs Hujarse, the music teacher has spent the year spreading artistic enthusiasm through her charges via the miracle that is music. The gym is cleared, the curtains of the stage opened and the kid who opened them has been removed from the mechanism and safely despatched to hospital. The piano has been polished and the school cat plus offspring removed from it, the kid tasked with that sharing the ambulance with curtain kid. The caretaker has polished the piano, apparently using a handful of swarf and has fashioned a new front for it using black painted chipboard.

Parents file in and are encouraged to part with cash for the school fund by the bursar in exchange for a cup of tepid orange squash with a pH of 0.0001. Fathers have taken the afternoon off work on pain of no sex again, ever, although those that have been here before have brought hip flasks of vodka to take the edge off the orange juice and the coming musical extravaganza. Finally, everyone is in, the doors welded shut and sentries posted. Mr Thudnut, the Head rises (unsteadily, he has had his vodka already) to his feet and nervously welcomes everyone, fully aware that there are some bigwigs from the Education Authority in the audience and that he’s showcasing his school and therefore his job. He’s buggered and he knows it.

“Our first performer today is Emily from 4C and she is going to play Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A Major. On the recorder”. Emily, with about much chance of pulling this off as she has of being given the contract to repoint the Taj Mahal, makes her way gamely to the stage, stands on the little sticky tape cross on the floor and assumes the visage of concentration normally reserved for people about to undertake pioneering brain surgery or that of drunks trying to put the key in the front door without waking the wife.

Mrs Hujarse tinkles away a little introduction on the piano whilst nodding and smiling encouragingly at Emily except the smile is more the rictus grin you see on the face of someone who’s just dropped a truck battery on their foot and is waiting for the pain to register. Mrs Hujarse knows what’s coming. With a final, emphatic nod that is Emily’s cue to join in, the horror begins.

A series of bleeps, honks, farts, screeches and whistles issues forth from £4.99 worth of recorder and the audience stiffens perceptibly. All except Emily’s mum who is now weeping uncontrollably at her daughter’s fantastic talent. Her dad’s weeping too, there are other dads in the audience he knows down the pub and he’s going to have to face them tonight.

Eventually Emily comes to the end of her 2 minute slot and there’s a stunned silence whilst the collective audience ask themselves if that just happened. The pause is just long enough to be significant to adults until Emily’s mum leaps to her feet for a solo standing ovation which stirs the audience into desultory applause. Dads across the room reach into their inside pockets. The orange juice is all gone but desperate times....

This process is then repeated several dozen times as a series of 7-10 year olds attempt staggeringly and patently unachievably ambitious works by great masters on instruments some of which are bigger than the kids themselves. But Mr Thudnut has an ace up his sleeve, one kid who is genuinely talented. S/he is always on last in the vain hope that the bigwigs leave on a literal high note. At my daughter’s last concert this was a lad who played ”I Vow To Thee My Country” on the euphonium and it may have been the vodka but I admit to finding the dust in the room made my eyes a bit watery. He played it beautifully.

And at last, the finale, the whole school sing a catchy number. This is welcomed by all as a) escape is imminent and b) nobody has that awkward moment of listening to their kid crash and burn whilst friends sympathetically murmur to you “isn’t she good” whilst thinking “Jesus, if POWs were made to listen to that it‘d be classed as a war crime“. Everyone is equally to blame for what is about to happen.

In my day it‘d be something like “Onward Christian Soldiers“ or “Jerusalem“ but nowadays that’s out so suitably innocuous alternatives are used. This is a shame because kids don’t get the chance to see where they got it from as parents don’t know the words so can’t join in. In my daughter’s case it was something called ”If I was a butterfly”.

On the face of it this is straightforward. Each class sings a verse and the chorus is sung by all. You see all the kids suck in a great lungful of air to roar out the chorus which is where it went wrong and I became a pariah.

Mrs Hujarse is from Yorkshire and had taught the kids the words. In Yorkshire.

Big deep breath and all together now; “Uf Ar Wer A Booterflah”.

I‘d just taken a deep draft of battery acid vodka twist and blew the lot out of my nostrils with an accompanying snort normally only heard in hippo pools at the zoo. 300 parents glare accusingly, my wife breaks three of my ribs with her elbow and joy of joys, my daughter starts laughing too. This becomes popular amongst the kids and I’m not sure we ever got to verse 4.

I sometimes see Mr Thudnut on his bin round.
Don't forget the school play. This involved Mr G***y, the drama teacher, picking something that involved all the boys wearing tights. In my youthful innocence, I never wondered why. With the benefit of experience, I now am aware that he was an utter screamer.

The only time, I've been remotely interested in the school play, they needed someone to play a KZ Commandant. Cast for type, I thought.
 

Yokel

LE
Jesus H. That was the precursor to Smile maths, which involved learning maths on your own while the teacher sat at the front doing F all apart from whinging.

I think @supermatelot also has experience of the Kent Mathematics Project. Whilst a topic such as Pythagoras' theorem is the same whatever the teaching materials it was very hit and miss and you could miss major fundamentals. It also did nothing to motivate the student and meant that you and your mates could not help each other.

Add to that the disruptive types and the odd ones who destroyed cards and you can see why the school was not renowned for academic achievement.
 
Don't forget the school play. This involved Mr G***y, the drama teacher, picking something that involved all the boys wearing tights. In my youthful innocence, I never wondered why. With the benefit of experience, I now am aware that he was an utter screamer.

The only time, I've been remotely interested in the school play, they needed someone to play a KZ Commandant. Cast for type, I thought.

Consider it added to the list.
 
Jesus H. That was the precursor to Smile maths, which involved learning maths on your own while the teacher sat at the front doing F all apart from whinging.
That's essentially what I'm being told to do at the moment. It was slightly surreal to let a bunch of them loose with various chemicals (all diluted to ensure safety in the inevitable spillages) and just sit at the front offering the occasional words of advice.

@Toastie, top work mate :) I assume that Parents' Evenings and school tours/open evenings offered suitable material as well?

Saw a great moment last September when the Deputy Head was showing half a dozen prospective families around, all the little primary kids on best behaviour and parents trying to look interested. They walk into a corridor and I hurriedly straighten my tie as I realise they're walking towards me.

I needn't have bothered as a classroom door crashes open in front of them and angry fat teenage girl stomps out, shouting over her shoulder "You're so pathetic you retard!" at the teacher. Deputy Head went an interesting shade of purple, ignored it while moving the parents on and then put said child in isolation (think solitary confinement) for several days.
 

Oops

War Hero
Don't forget the school play. This involved Mr G***y, the drama teacher, picking something that involved all the boys wearing tights. In my youthful innocence, I never wondered why. With the benefit of experience, I now am aware that he was an utter screamer.

The only time, I've been remotely interested in the school play, they needed someone to play a KZ Commandant. Cast for type, I thought.
Miss Ahern....
A willowy, arty, bohemian free spirited type teacher who started on the same day as I did, probably only fifteen years between us, I was seven.
Jumped enthusiastically into producing the school play (there'd never been one before, probably summat to do with The Devil)
Anyhow, for reasons that can only be understood by herself, Muggins here got the job of Narrator.
'Sound' thinks I, none of that pouncing around on stage, all I had to do was sit at the end , with my legs dangling,
reading out loudly (very loudly) bits of the story...
Weeks went by perfectly swimmingly till a thing called 'Dress Rehearsal'...
The clue was in the name.
Explaining it would be ok if I was barefoot was part of the ambush....
Miss Ahern went on to produce this sparkly, t shirt type thingy, that she said would make an impact in the dark......

It did.

Th'owd fella mentioned the word 'Poof
alot...

No I'm not.
 
Miss Ahern....
A willowy, arty, bohemian free spirited type teacher who started on the same day as I did, probably only fifteen years between us, I was seven.
Jumped enthusiastically into producing the school play (there'd never been one before, probably summat to do with The Devil)
Anyhow, for reasons that can only be understood by herself, Muggins here got the job of Narrator.
'Sound' thinks I, none of that pouncing around on stage, all I had to do was sit at the end , with my legs dangling,
reading out loudly (very loudly) bits of the story...
Weeks went by perfectly swimmingly till a thing called 'Dress Rehearsal'...
The clue was in the name.
Explaining it would be ok if I was barefoot was part of the ambush....
Miss Ahern went on to produce this sparkly, t shirt type thingy, that she said would make an impact in the dark......

It did.

Th'owd fella mentioned the word 'Poof
alot...

No I'm not.
The entire concept of school plays is only to allow drama teachers to inflict their frustrated desires to become playwrights on the kids and parents.
 
The best means of dealing with bullying I came across (apart from taking out the shins with a well aimed hockey stick - right in front of the Master who was reffing - of a bloke who was bullying me at school), was when I was teaching at a Prep school in a ‘gap year’.
A young lad was being bullied by a much bigger and older boy. As staff we all spotted it, but schoolboy omertà prevented the young lad from saying something.
One evening, a senior Master - former Woofer Coy Cdr and a qualified boxing coach, invited both lads to the gym where he had set up the boxing ring: no spectators.
He fitted gloves on both boys then told them to set to.
Apparently, the young lad just looked and said ‘Really? Can I just hit him?’
And proceeded to batter hell out of his larger and, now demonstrably cowardly, bully.
The bullying stopped and the message got out!
Unfortunately David beating Goliath is very rare and most times that would end with the victim getting another kicking, watched over by teachers. I wonder what the senior master would have said if the victim had ended up injured.
 

PFGEN

GCM
I’ll come back to the mayhem of athletics in a bit but lates take a short musical interlude as it were. The School Concert.

I remember a couple of school concerts but was never invited to participate which might to some degree have had something to do with my one and only appearance in the school opera. Whoever had that idea was definitely a few spanners short of a toolkit. The opera of choice was the Barber of Seville. Yours truly was dicked to be one of the backing barbers owing to nobody else wanting the part. My singing voice was crap and with four of us not only singing off key but in different keys it was going to test the parents. Mum was so proud that her son would be taking part in the giddy cultural heights of high opera.

The show was planned for a two night run. Parents seated, the show began. Come to our scene we had four 1st year pupils in chairs in front of us and we were equipped with an oversize comb and a pair of our mother's dress making shears. While singing we were supposed to wave these around in barberesque movements. So singing away Figaro, Figaro....etc....Fig..a..ro! I got carried away with the whole thing and in one deft move, snip, I took a massive chunk out of young McNeil's barnet.

These were the days when long hair was the mode. It looked like I'd cut a garage door in the back of his head. The barbers appeared for the rest of the performance as a threesome and I was forbidden to appear on the second night. And yet again Mother and Father were summoned to the school to hear about their psychopathic scissor wielding son.
 
And everyone is used to fencing right handers. I got taken to the absolute cleaners by a lefty at Notts open a couple of years back.

Of all the sports that I was reasonably competent at, it is fencing that I miss the most. If I were able to, I would still be club fencing and and competing but, I shut up before I make a tw*t of myself. Again.


Sent from my karzi while losing several pounds
 
I think @supermatelot also has experience of the Kent Mathematics Project. Whilst a topic such as Pythagoras' theorem is the same whatever the teaching materials it was very hit and miss and you could miss major fundamentals. It also did nothing to motivate the student and meant that you and your mates could not help each other.

Add to that the disruptive types and the odd ones who destroyed cards and you can see why the school was not renowned for academic achievement.
It was SMP maths my primary school used, basically same principle as you describe..grab a card out of a box and work your way through on your tod...no learning of principles whatsoever. A fecking horrendous way to try and teach maths.
 
They made for the best blankets ever, well, according to my father.


Sent from my karzi while losing several pounds
I can remember a North Eastern comedian who did the rounds of the working mens clubs telling a story.
Basically, when he was young he had been sent to his bed early because mum and dad were expecting a visit from the vicar.
Vicar is sitting drinking tea when the kid shouts out "mum, I need a hand with the overcoat on my bed"
Mortified his mum comes in and says "It's not an overcoat, it's a duvet"
5 minutes later comes the plaintive cry "mum, I've got my feet stuck in the arms of the duvet"

May have been Bobby Hooper or Bobby Pattinson, can't remember
 
I can remember a North Eastern comedian who did the rounds of the working mens clubs telling a story.
Basically, when he was young he had been sent to his bed early because mum and dad were expecting a visit from the vicar.
Vicar is sitting drinking tea when the kid shouts out "mum, I need a hand with the overcoat on my bed"
Mortified his mum comes in and says "It's not an overcoat, it's a duvet"
5 minutes later comes the plaintive cry "mum, I've got my feet stuck in the arms of the duvet"

May have been Bobby Hooper or Bobby Pattinson, can't remember
If he did, he nicked it off Billy Connelly.
 

Yokel

LE
Unfortunately David beating Goliath is very rare and most times that would end with the victim getting another kicking, watched over by teachers. I wonder what the senior master would have said if the victim had ended up injured.

School lies:

1. The bigger they are the harder they fall. Possibly true, but the harder they hit.
2. The happiest days of your life - I have not yet anyone who thought this.
3. He is trying to be your friend - oh really so why is he punching/spitting at me?
4. There is no bullying here.
5. We have lost your cousework; but it does not matter.
 
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