Occasionally I get a student who tells me “You’re the best teacher I’ve ever had”.
(I take this as a compliment and don’t ask them whether it is their first class ever!)
- Best as in best Cumbria/Yorkshire accent they ever heard?
- Best as in best fashion sense?
- Best as in detailed knowledge of the history of Rugby League, fellrunning and shinkicking?
- Best as in best jokes?
- Best as in played most games in class?
- Best as in most generous grades?
Very occasionally (I can count on one hand the number of times), a student brings me a present! I have been given coffee (always a winner), chocolate, a teeth whitening session (not sure if he was taking the mickey) and beer!
I don’t expect any pressies as such, I am just doing my job, but it is a cool surprise (and if if it is meant as a “propina”, dare I whisper it, a “bribe”, it doesn’t work, the grades are already in the system!)
One student recently told me that I had inspired them to go to Australia. I didn’t dig any further.
I have worked as a (mumbling, Northern) English teacher in a school, an orphanage, umpteen businesses, a community centre in Leeds and a number of language institutes, some good, some diabolical.
The place I work now is very good, I like my job. I have a brilliant gaffer and a great set of colleagues. The company looks after you too.
The thing is, what makes a good teacher, and conversely, what makes a bad teacher?
We all remember our good teachers at school, but we remember our bad teachers more…
Primary school for me was a diddy place, 40 in the school and 5 other kids in my year.
I moved to Western Australia when I was 9 or 10, and went to two big schools there.
First of all we lived in an Immigration Centre called Noalimba.
It was a bit like Butlin’s crossed with Prisoner Cell Block H. The nearby school was called Bateman and I can’t remember much apart from a huge lizard/iguana/Komodo Dragon strolling into class one day.
From there I went to Mount Pleasant school, (it wasn’t especially mountainous nor pleasant).
I was always pretty handy at spelling as a bairn and won a spelling competition on my first day there.
A huge bag full of all the marbles confiscated that term from students.
A great way to be accepted and not singled out as the new boy, not!
(I gave them all away).
I can’t remember one single teacher from my WA days.
(I learnt a lot about cricket though!)
From there it was back to my diddy primary school in Cumbria for a wee while and then the big step up to secondary; The Lakes School, from 40 kids to 1200 youths, none of whom I knew!
I liked the Lakes School, I had some good mates there and it wasn’t too strict. (I moved across the Pennines when I was 15 to Tadcaster, starting in a school at that age wasn’t easy, I was “New Boy” for 2 years!)
Back to the Lakes School, one person that sticks in my mind was a sadistic Physics teacher called Mr. McManus.
I liked Physics, I loved Biology and Chemistry just baffled me completely.
I used to sit at the back of class with a lad called Dougie and that was my mistake apparently.
Now Dougie was harder than a hardened nail.
He broke his leg playing rugby but just kept on walking on it for months.
He was a bouncer in one of the roughest boozers in town, when he was 16.
He was a handy lad to know.
However, he needed glasses and couldn’t see the board, so used to ask me what things said, so I used to relay the information to him. The teacher took umbrage, but when I tried to explain he made us both kneel on the floor at the front of the class, with our arms in the air for the rest of the lesson. Torture techniques!
What did this teach me?
It taught me that I wanted very little to do with this teacher in the future, so I dropped Physics at the earliest opportunity (in my 3rd year “Options”). The same with my history teacher, she hated me for some reason and used to pick on me, so I dropped History and that was a mistake.
I always had brilliant Geography teachers, they were normally a bit eccentric, had zero fashion sense and had beards, I wanted to be a Geography teacher (until I failed my Geography A-level, so that door slammed firmly shut!)
I worked in a school here in 2005 and it was an eye-opener.
The dynamics are mental!
Working in a school is a good earner here, but the experience was not a good one, so I don’t think I’d ever go back.
I’m not the best teacher, nor the worst, somewhere in between.
Out here amidst the chaos, it is easy to get into a trap of thinking that any teeny-weeny positive change one makes is so insignificant in the grand scale of things, but I am kind of proud that there is a thin sliver of Lima society that now talk with a Cumbria-cum-Yorkshire accent (who know the difference between Rugby League and Rugby Union too!)
Strava and the School Run!
The first race of the season, Desafio Ruricancho, is now just one week away!
Have I done enough?
The answer is a resounding “NO”, but I have done as much as I can.
My right knee hurts all the time and I hobble ups any stairs like I am 200 years old.
I have had to up my miles on the road, not through choice, so that is the reason why.
However, training has been relatively constant for a while now, so that in an improvement on last years erratic ECG/Rollercoaster pattern of ups and downs and gaps.
I’ve switched running to daylight hours, nighttime was too hairy and too slow to be productive.
Potholes, pedestrians and red-light chancers frayed my already-frayed nerves.
It has meant sweating more than a glassblower’s backside though, as summer
here is a sweaty sauna affair. No quality work, just slow slogging, but hopefully I can build on this base throughout the season. Will see what happens on Sunday…
The Nipper started back at school this week and has to be there at 8am, so after dropping her off I run back towards the coast, turn right and back up to mine. I have always preferred training at midday, but beggars can’t be choosers, morning it is.
(The race on Sunday starts at 6:30am and the start is in the back-o-beyond, so I’ll have my brekkie afore I go to bed!)
It is good to try some new routes to/from the new gaff, even if it is rutted concrete. Getting lost is a good way to suss out an area.
Up to about 2009 I used to guesstimate my run distances; with pace judgement and sometimes a bit of string on a map. I have no idea how accurate this was. This all changed in 2009.
Strava is a sports social media app. Originally for cyclists, but now for runners and swimmers too.
Started in 2009, it is a bit of fun, but something wayyyy more serious for others…
When you record a run on their app, the route, speed and all manner of data are posted on your account.
Your “followers” can see your run and if they like give you “kudos”, like a facebook “like”.
For me, it’s a useful way to record your training, without having to write it all down.
It’s good to see what people are up to too, like I say, it’s a bit of fun. You can put photos up and mates can heckle you in the comments field. I never take myself too seriously.
However, as in all things in life, there are “cheats”.
Strava (somehow, I don’t know how) have specific “segments” all over the place and if you run over that segment, you are ranked. I did once get a “course record”, but this was a mystery, as I was the first person to run that route (according to Strava), then I lost my crown a week later, no great shakes.
Some local routes have records that have once-a-month joggers smashing World records!
One guy “ran” uphill for half a mile on a 6% climb in 50 seconds.
Another star who holds the “Pentagonito” record for a shade over 4km “ran” it in just over 8 minutes, (2:56 minute miling for 2 miles. The current World record for running a mile is 3:43, this lad should ring Norris McWhirter!)
The question is “Why?”
Or better still, why am I bothered!
I’m not, but I just think “lying” about training is pointless.
The punters who are winning races don’t need to brag/lie on Strava.
(Top runners obviously don’t put their stuff on their a their opponents will be able to “spy” on them!)
Will I survive the ferocious sun next Sunday?
If I can still type, I’ll let you know in next weeks blog!
The Nipper was 4 on Saturday.
Where has that 4 years gone???
(3 of them have been spent moaning about living in Lima by me!)
We had a small knees-up to celebrate the occasion.
The Wee One loves a fiesta, so Saturday was a blur of blowing up 100 balloons (in 15 minutes, no time for a run but it must count as cardio), tidying the house dashing to the supermarket 4 times, making butties and trying to explain overcomplicated games to 3-4yr olds!
Most of my games failed, but the bairns were all happy and it ended with a mini-disco.
Good to sink a few beers after it all finished with my mate, James B.
Sunday was mainly spent hungover.
The mighty Shipbuilders were away to Rochdale Hornets this week, oh dear.
You can’t win ‘em all…
12-nil up at half time, man sent off, key player on a 4 match ban, it wasn’t to be a happy ending.
Bad day at the office.
Next week we host Sheffield Eagles in the Challenge Cup.
(They have won it more recently than us and no RL fans can forget the shock win
they pulled off against the Pie Eaters, in their prime, back in 1998).
Onwards and upwards…
I don’t know where/how I found this video, but it is worth a watch (maybe not 100 times, as the title suggests).
I sometimes think about going to some kind of self-defense school/class, but with my zero coordination and complete inflexibility, it would probably look something akin to these chaps!
(I did once go to a boxing class, that was a one-off-never-to-be-repeated mistake!)
Have an awesome week.
Johnny, Lina & the Nipper
p.s. The chef at work must think I love mayonnaise…