Another Great Escape

Friday, July 28, 2006

Superman and the big JC

I'm a big Superman fan and have been for years - the music is so cool (the original theme: dun, dun, daa...), to have the ability to fly has always been at the top of my wishlist and I have the biggest respect for a bloke who wears his undies on the outside.

I came across this article on the BBC website about the apparent link between Jesus and Superman. The article is reasonable but the really interesting bit is the comments that people have left. They range from the bizzare ("I've killed someone who slagged off batman...") to the deep and heart felt. Have a look. It good stuff.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

It's Official!

It's official, teaching is the least boring job, so says a BBC report:

When asked why they found their job interesting, 81% of teachers questioned said it was the challenge of the role and the same proportion said it was because "no two days were the same". The opportunity to interact with people was the job's most positive feature quality - mentioned by 86% of respondents - while 64% welcomed the opportunity to use their creativity. Michael Day, executive director at the TDA, said: "These findings demonstrate that one of the chief benefits of teaching is the sheer variety of the job - that no two days are the same."

The long holidays and the presents that the kids get you are nice perks too (I had some vintage champagne this year!).

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Fruit Cake

It's not very often that I find something that makes me speechless. has got to be in the running for the worst "christian" website ever. I have never read anything so on the fringe of being insane, proposing to be christian.

Just so you know:

1) Frogs are bad.


"FROGS - In our local paper on November 20, 1998, it said, "Frogs' time has come - The frog is chirping its way into our pads in the form of Christmas ornaments, wine corks, CDs and sink stoppers. The latest amphibian landing: New World Frog Clock, a 13-inch blue wall model featuring frogs at every hour and a fly on the second hand." It croaks through the hours with sounds of many different frogs. See how the frog has become another fad."

Paul McCartney's frog song is out then.

2) Paisley is Evil.

"Paisley Print - burn it - don't wear it"

3) Problems with Windoze

Blame Boice and Boyce for problems with electronic equipment - I'm not sure where this was from, as far as I know there were no electronic equipment in the bible. I might be wrong though.

4) Get rid of all of your dodgy stuff

"SOME OBJECTS TO DESTROY: (See Lev. 11:13-21 and Deut. 14:7-19)

Some accursed objects are: owls, frogs, unicorns, dolphins, dragons, horseshoes; items from other countries such as Africa, China, Japan; American Indian artifacts, carvings, pictures, buddha statutes. Dolls and stuffed animals - dolls originated in voodoo. Paisley pattern on anything. Nike is a Greek god, according to the dictionary.

Collections, Pictures of movie stars, some items passed down from ancestors, Shamrocks, Any kind of good luck charm, Statues, Oriental objects, African items, Indian items, American Indian items, Any items that are used in witchcraft, The Book of Mormon, satanic bible, Books on other religions, Rock and roll music, etc."

I could go on and on. The whole site is stuff like this. Everyone comes in for a grilling from the person who created this site; People from Paisley in Scotland, Jews, Muslims, Catholics, Nike wearers, Irish people, even Aslan from Narnia.

What gets me that everything is "qualified" by verses from the bible - it would be great to know whether the 4 million or so visitors to the site went there because they found it useful or just plain nutty. Behind every problem is a demon, woodworm is a demon apparently, it sounds like the medieval way of thinking. Anything that can't be explained - has to be a demon possessed.

Anyway - have a read, see what you think. Very much a fruit cake.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The guy from Evergreen, Colorado

I lost your blog address - I've tried searching for your blog but I can't find it. If you see this post can you email or comment it.


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

All done. Well, almost all done

I had the benefit today of an extra hour in bed and the rest of the day at home. No, I'm not ill or skiving, I'm actually doing work. I just get to stay at home to do it.

I can't believe that this is last week of school before the holidays! The last few weeks really have been manic. I took my class away for a few days to an activity centre, but before that I had to prepare a presentation and finish off reports. Then, some bright spark way back in January, decided to put on a whole keystage performance with 4 shows. We've had rounders tournaments, people in to work with the kids, cricket coaching, dvd's to burn and lightscribe (thanks Andy). Last night was the year 6 leavers assembly.

I got home from work early knowing that I had a speech to write - I don't usually worry or mind about speaking infront of people. Give me a Hall of kids or a load of parents then I'm usually alright. Tonight was different. The actual speech was fine, it was just what was going on in my head. It dawned on me that my year 6, my kids were leaving. I know this happens every year, kids group up and move on. In our school it's different. I teach a mixed aged class, there are 15 year 6. I know them really well, I've taught them for two years, I can tell you which ones have made average, above average, excellent progress. I can give you their Valued Added score or their PP scores. I can sound off their sats levels - with Teacher Assessments too. I know who's had a late night, who might need some encouragement or who's going to have a rough day just by how they answer their name in the register I know these kids - and that's one of the positive sides to teaching in a small school. But because of all that, I'm going to miss them.

It's as if my child (when he/she comes along) is leaving home except that it's multiplied by 15.
This year 6 has done so well, they have shone, every single one of them has progressed and achieved something. Last night at the assemby, I felt as if I had succeeded as a teacher. But then with that realisation came the knowledge that it was time for them to move on. The last day of term - friday - will be tough.

If you're not a teacher, or even if you are, you might be wondering why I'm writing what I'm writing. For me teaching is the best job in the world. I try to put in 100% of me into my job. I work with a good group of people (it's the first job where I can honestly say my workmates are my friends), I have a boss that lets me run with madcap ideas and supports me. But above all I respect my kids and they give their respect back - and for a class of 9, 10 & 11 (it could easily be 13, 14, & 15) year olds that a big achievement. I read somewhere that if you're not tired at the end of term then you haven't done your job properly - well I'm knackered and my class are like Zombies.

Just the secret kids night out to go - LIMO'S!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Check This Blog out: My School's blog

I'm plugging my school's blog - for a very good reason. It is going to be shown as an example of "Excellent" practice next week at a conference showcasing different approaches to ICT. There will be lots of important Education bigwigs around. If you're wondering why, I know it's not much to look at, it's the input from the kids and the interaction with the global community. Here's where you come in, could you leave some comments on the blog? If you can get kids to do it even better.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Which Superhero are you most like?

Your results:
You are Superman

Green Lantern
Iron Man
The Flash
Wonder Woman
You are mild-mannered, good,
strong and you love to help others.

Click here to take the "Which Superhero are you?" quiz...


I've messed up big time. I just received an email asking why comments weren't being published, so I checked my settings. I forgot to switch over to my new email address - for anyone who has commented and wondered why their comments aren't there, I'm really sorry. I've been trying to retrieve the old emails but my account has been shut down awhile now I probably won't get them.


Sunday, July 02, 2006


I can't take credit for this post really, Headphonaught's post got me thinking. What is it to be a Christian or Christ follower, why people cringe when they hear the word Christian, and why are some Christians crap at doing the stuff?

The general perception of Christians is a pretty negative one. The media rarely portrays them as anything other than quirky, weird or corrupt. The public perception is pretty similar. The wider church doesn't often help itself, church services for animals, arguments over gay clergy, child abuse, the recent 6/6/6 stuff in Holland, etc. Those in the know, know that being a christian isn't like that. There is the odd occasion where the media and the wider church get it right, the Manchester Passion (that how I came into contact with Headphonaught) was pretty good and very well reported on, there's probably more but I can't think of things at the moment.

When I studied at college we looked at ways of describing things by saying what something isn't - there is a term for it but I can't remember it - I thought I'd use that for Christian. This is something that'll take a while, and I'm hoping will generate some thoughts for anyone reading.

Here goes...

Christian isn't:
1) Being absent from modern culture - you get the occasional foray into culture, as I said before the animal services, the attempt to relate to the younger generation by wearing different coloured dog collar shirts, or the shout the loudest, condemn everyone to hell street ministries. Christians are taking on world issues (fair trade, etc) but are neglecting what is important - getting to know you neighbours , going to see the films or shows damned by some, interacting with a culture so that they accept you on a personal level, just being normal will get you a lot farther than quoting scripture or inviting them to church. Living a life that is credible, realistic, transparent and ultimately outward looking is the way forward. Feel free to add your own thoughts.

2) condemning - The street preachers really wind me up. They stand in Worcester shouting hell fire, "turn away from your sins" - you get the picture? For a start, I couldn't think of a more alienating way of communicating - the moment someone shouts at me I switch off. Their energy and enthusiasm could be funneled into something that works more effectively. They just miss the point, yes it is important to spread the message but not like that. I'd love to know how many people become "christian" from that way of doing things. We do have a responsibility to act on issues, but there is a time and a place and a way to do it. Condemnation isn't the way forward -

3) Cheesy - I find vestments hard to come to terms with - it's the men in dresses thing. I know the idea is to show that they're different and a kind of uniform but it's just strange. Something that is so different to what we usually wear - it creates a barrier. Worst, is when there is an attempt to become more (seemingly) relevant by wearing a blue, green or worst still a multi coloured clerical shirt. There's a sandal thing too - we had a visit from the local bishop at school, he had sandals (with a suit) on in the winter - little things make a difference. Worship songs can be way cheesy. Some things have a kitsch value, but to recognised for innovation and relevance christians have to do more than march down the high street at easter or stick a fish on their car.

That'll do for now - feel free to comment, even you lurkers, what christian trait is sometimes a hinderance?


Well another defeat on penalties - Aside from that fact - when Rooney went off we played really well (he was provoked big time), there was a load of diving from Portugal, there was some iffy decisions from the ref but we just didn't convert our chances into goals. I think I'd feel better if Portugal had beaten us by putting some real goals in the net rather than they way they did. Brazil are out too, so it could get interesting. Only two years until Euro 2008, and then it's the world cup in South Africa. We can hope.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

That was the week that was! Part 2

Next on the list after my reports was the NCSL course. After 9 months of work it was all going to finish with a presentation and a graduation. The title they gave us was Your Learning Journey - and we were then supposed to have a learning conversation with people after your presentation. If you can ignore the cheesiness of it all it was actually very useful. It was good to verbalise the changes that have occurred in me, how these have benefited me and my school. It was also great to meet other teachers in my situation - also a chance to stress how easy secondary school teachers have in relation to us primary school teachers!! Apart from improved job prospects I have benefited big time, I'm sure I'll blog more about that at some point. The presentation went well and I passed - I wouldn't think twice about addressing a school hall full of kids but 50 adults with all their eyes on me was something else.

Straight after my presentation I had to pack - I was off to Shropshire to meet my year 6 and to swap over with my boss as group leader. I've done group trips like this before but this time the buck stopped with me - I was responsible, mostly, for 60 kids - slightly unnerving! It's always good to get away, and the prospect of patrolling the corridors, chaperoning, dodgy food, early get ups was outweighed by seeing the kids mature before your eyes, seeing the kids who hardly say anything come out of themselves, or watching them leap off an abseiling tower after coaxing them up there. Another plus is that I get to do stuff to - there was this cool swing/catapult thing - you basically sat in this bucket, then got winched up by everyone else and then had to pull this cord to send you flying. Then there was the zip wire - the challenge was to see who could go down the fastest - a running leap plus the fact that I'm slightly bigger than the average 10 year old, saw me winning that. It was cool.

Anyway - 3 weeks to go, lots of things to do, but the pressure is easing a bit. Here's to the summer.

That was the week that was! Part 1

What a week! It has been such a full on week, but I still woke up at 6.30 despite having had about 5 hours sleep since tuesday night (not including the quality 8 hours last night) although I suppose this is something that we will have to get used to...Anyway, I cut myself off from the net because I had to get stuff done, the thing with wireless connections is that you can't escape from it in the house - that little icon was just too distracting!

I spent the later half of the week in an old country house in Shropshire with my year 6 and 50 other kids from our village schools cluster. Before I went I had to write my reports on the kids because I knew I'd be knackered and wouldn't be doing them today. I has a few other need to do things. The reports are always quite hard work - though this year we changed the format making it slightly less time consuming. It is really hard wording the general comment, we're advised to be "positively negative", which is something I find tough. I generally say what I mean without beating around too much. The last comment bit can be really cathartic, either to vent about a kid (in a positive way!), or to big the kid up and really make them feel good. As half of my class are leaving for high school, it's the final official thing I'll do for them. Teaching them for two years allows you to get to really get to know them. If I'm honest I will really miss the majority of them, although I'm not sure about the kids that are staying with me for another year. I now realise how privileged I am to get to know and see these kids grow up, mature and turn into young adults - for the most part I really enjoy my job.

So, after a few lengthy long-haul typing sessions, finishing at midnight monday I was done. I don't resent doing them, it's a big weight off my shoulders, but it allows me to get everything off my chest, outline how well or not they have done and give me closure on another year and another cohort. All in all a very therapeutic thing.