A Schoolboy’s Sins

Obsidian eyes

strip colour from his whipped soul,

volcanic centre

pulsing,

pushing,

thrusting

to tensioned skin and beyond.

His haloed aura

shooting sulphorous, searing flares,

purpled haze of rage, a scarlet maze,

nothing muted in violent

whippet thin lips

twsting, ‘fuck you’s’, to all,

his sundry, motley enemy

of stunned football laughter and giggling girls.

Absent abundant charm,

intelligence,

humor,

wit,

gone with his glorious smile.

All this,

in the shortest of longest moments

before the tears,

blind, burning anguish

of a silent voice,

forbidden to reveal

the cost no child will willingly pay.

So silent.

Then violent.

Souls warping nicely for future

atrocities.

Blessed, burnt souls –

the child sacrificed –

on the altar of adult

duplicity, supidity

and,

quite possibly,

the same reasonable rage.

All our sins.

May Music, Day 14 – ‘Damn Right I Support It’

Pick a song, says Twindaddy, that reminds you of your boyfriend/girlfriend, for day 14 of his 25 days of music challenge.

It’s been a long time since hubby or I could be described as boyfriend/girlfriend. Or boy and girl, for that matter.

So, I’m going with the prompt as a reminder that love knows no distinctions. In honour of all my children. And everyone else’s. Love is love.

boyfriend/girlfriend

boyfriend/boyfriend

girlfriend/boyfriend

girlfriend/girlfriend

All bases covered here. And it still looks and feels like love to me. It takes love to know love. Same Love, Macklemore.

May Music, Day 7 – Memory’s Going…going…not quite there yet…

First, I want to apologise for this one although I don’t know why I’m apologising to you. For all I know you might love this song. But it sets my teeth on edge. I can feel a twitch starting in my right shoulder and my eyes are screwing up as if I were squinting against last year’s glorious sunshine. I had a real job trying to remember any songs from last summer to answer Twindaddy’s question of which song reminded me of that time.

Getting on a bit now, at 53, my poor brain finds it difficult to remember what I was doing an hour ago or what I walked into a room for. Ask me about thirty years ago and I’ll regale you with in-depth detail on colours, sights and sounds. But last year feels like a bit of a blur.

Apart from my age then, oh to be 52 again, there was the problem with vitamin D levels that was uncovered and went a long way to explaining why I felt like crap all the time, falling asleep at the drop of a hat and limbs full of aches and pains. I thought it was decrepiticity (it should be a word) arriving and was just about to break out cod liver oil for impending brittle bones and was preparing snide comebacks for a family of ingrates that think seeing their mother keeling over on the couch in snoring oblivion is a great hoot.

Thanks to frantic research on the internet I found out what was wrong with me all by my lonesome and requested additional blood tests. Bingo. Guess what you need to up vitamin D levels that have plummeted to below 20? Huge doses of natural source and supplements.

Now, as it happens, last summer was a beezer here in old Scotia. Marked in calendars everywhere as one of the best. Sun. Sun. And then some more. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven when the doctor signed me off work and told me to get as much as I could. Minus the sunscreen for part of the time. Parts of the time? Aye, like that was gonna happen. I lay in a lounger, read some, dozed some, turned over, baked myself and turned and then basted for browning. Done to a ‘T’ I was. And I love the sun. Worship wouldn’t be too far off the mark.

Anyway, what this has to do with music and what I’m about to post is a bit vague, I know. But I had to write something. And, other than beginning blogging last June because my sister told my brother that I was vegetating in the house, unable to do any chores or even concentrate on TV, there’s not a damn lot else I remember. Brother set me up with a blog. Ta da! Go Phil. Go Veronica for telling him in the first place.

Sunshine and a new interest and huge supplements did the trick.

So, to the song. I’m trying to delay the inevitable here.

I’ll give you some clues. As some of you may know, I’ve got 7 sprogs of my own and I teach primary school kids on a daily basis.  As much as I can’t consume a whole one at a single sitting, I do love weans. Except.

Except when they inflict things on you.

Anyone with offspring or nieces and nephews knows what I mean. Whatever is flavour of the month for them becomes your viewing, your listening. I sat through so many demos of this in school. Each kid prouder than the last that they had mastered the art.

My own wee yin, 6 then, had practised with her older sisters who’d seen the movie and nothing would do but that Anna should display her skills to her class. Whereupon the teacher sent her around the rest of the classes to show just what she could do. And she did. Song and actions.

Now I should probably have complained here at the fact that the teacher was probably snickering and using my wee doll for a spot of light entertainment. But what the feck. We teachers don’t get that many opportunities for a laugh in the face of mounting pressure to be everybody’s mammy or daddy. Whole other post.

Have you guessed yet?

Well, I’m not going to post the video here. I just can’t. But I will provide the link. Have at it! And this is a memory of last summer I hope will fade in time. No offence to the young lady in question and the multitude of tween followers she gathered.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmSbXsFE3l8

Power To All Our Friends…..

So I ‘do’ poetry and fantasy and sensuality. A little eroticism goes a long way for me too. I ‘do’ family and politics. And pretty much anything that comes up my humph if the truth be told. And I’m partial to the truth. Even though it hurts sometimes.

There’s something of a crisis occurring on this little planet of ours. And all the sex and romance in the world can’t nullify its presence.

Huge stuff.

Stuff that puts matters of shagging and candlelit dinners into the shadows. Stuff that affects us all. And our kids.

There’s a power battle going on. Yup. Let’s call it evil and good. Devil versus God. Call it what you will. Well, no. For the sake of argument and clarity let’s call it what it is.

It is the battle between selfishness and the well-being of humans as a species.

Have I got that quite right? Let me think. Certain individuals acting individually or corporately to further their own ends here ensuring a world of humanity destined to servitude and alienation from self-determination and continuity of a thinking and free species?

Would that be about right?

Now, I’m no expert on anything. Other than, possibly, the method and manner of primary education and child development. I studied that shit. Well, I passed papers on it. And I’ve practised it for around thirty years. So, something of an expert I’d hazard.

Also, I have to admit, family members (who shall remain nameless) have accused me of having more brains than common sense. I’ve had to own up to that a fair few times I have to admit. Embarrassing moments when, well, never mind when. ‘Nuff said.

So I get that I’m no guru. Nor wizard of any description. I’m not even up on some of the current news happenings because they depress the hell out of me.

But I do know a few things.

I recognise common sense when I see it. I do think. I’m not always right. Although don’t tell my weans and man that.

But there’s an awful lot of stuff coming together for me at the moment.

Oh, first let me warn some people that this could get political.

Sorry, scratch that. It is political. It’s also spiritual. It’s also practical. It has its roots in humanity and a god I believe and trust in. A god who gave us the free will to get on with it. The capacity to think. And a source of love that is endless and self-generating once harnessed.

Now, I know that Cole would maybe have issues with the god part but she’s so cool she’ll allow it. Each to their own as it were. She’s so cool ice freezes further in her presence before melting under her persuasive and reasoned arguments. And the heat of her passion for right. She epitomises for me an upbringing of stellar quality, so obviously surrounded by love and logic that reaches out to embrace humanity and clarify some misguided notions. She wants a better world. Speaks for a better educated populace that is capable of reasoning and value judgements that go beyond myths and legends. Even while she loves and knows the myths that created much of what we believe. How cool is that?

Now I separate here with her on the presence of omnipotent forces. But I also feel that my faith and hers are so similar in essence.

Like Beth, a woman of thought and feeling, I share their desire and hope for a better world to leave our children. For a better world that we can live in right here and now. Beth is so on the mark with common sense and intellect. So practical. And articulate. She’d sure as hell make a better job of this post than me.

Both Beth and Cole have written extensively on education and the demerits of its current state in each of their countries. I’ve written a bit about it myself.

Aspirationally, every culture once sought to educate their children to the point, at least, of literacy and numeracy. Teachers engaged in this as a priority. Some took rather strange routes to achieving this aim I grant you and not all of them laudable.

But, in literacy especially, and in exposure to thoughts written and recorded from the beginnings of time we learn about our world. In the humanities we reach and delve into the commonality of human experience and seek our place in becoming explorers of a brave new world.

Unless, of course, education is dumbed down. Unless, of course, it benefits some higher authority to produce semi-literate individuals whose driving force is survival and fear. Or articulate beings but whose motivations are other than communal growth and welfare. Where is the brave new world and the hope of all our futures? Where are the original thinkers of a new dawn as each generation must prove to be?

Where is the action?

Currently, governments the world over are being manipulated and, more likely, controlled by bodies that do not represent the people they were elected to represent.

Yeah, yeah, conspiracy, blah.

Well if I’m paranoid it’s only because I can tell when some big bastard is following me. I hear them breathing, I sense their presence, I see their footprints when I look behind me. I know when I’m about to be shafted. The signs are there. Let’s face it, it’s not really ‘about to be’. We are currently being screwed by entities that exist to serve self. These entities, however, are no demons wrought from mythology. Rather, they are the personification of the greed and selfishness inherent in us all if we choose not to control those instincts for a more valid and worthwhile national and global state of affairs.

Now I don’t know about you but when I succumb to pleasures of the flesh I say if, I say when, I say who, I say yes. Or no.  Even in the lawfully binding contract of marriage I have authority over my own person.

I want to view the family as the epitome of government.

OK not all families operate under the same rules. But the common factor usually, or ideally, is a desire to further the individual membership while retaining a sense of the whole and working together towards an advancement of individual talents and worth, while not destroying the fabric of the whole support system.

It doesn’t always work. More’s the pity.

But, in whatever form the family takes, where there is love and a desire to cultivate that love through education and acknowledgement of its intrinsic, unique and constituent parts there is hope. Hope that new and brave ideas germinate and take root. Hope that the world continues. That it recognises that humanity is but a blip on the planet and, without intervention on all our parts, the world may continue but we may not. Not in any sense worthy of recording in history.

Gawd, I’ve gone off on one.

This is so not what where this post was leading.

Let’s see if I can break the habits of a lifetime.

Power.

Literally and metaphorically.

Is it just me or has anyone else spotted the obvious?

On this gorgeous big planet of ours there is a renewable source of energy in every country. Every single one. Name one where the sun doesn’t shine. Or wind doesn’t blow. Or waters don’t flow. Even if we only have one out of three we have the capacity to generate power repeatedly.

We in Scotland would have to depend more on the water and wind option. But I’m good with that. Might as well get some benefit from the crap weather.

Tell me. Is there a place on earth where some renewable form of energy does not exist?

Might the ability and will to generate it be the answer to some of the conflicts that abound worldwide?

Yes there will always be greedy bastards who want to make more from whatever sources they can conjure up, manufacture trouble where peace could exist. Carve out of the earth cash and chaos where order and sustenance could prevail.

But that’s kind of where education comes in. If we know. If we care. If we have the will.

I knew I’d get there in the end.

Just always takes a bit of time with me.

And I know. Before anyone says it. It has been mentioned by family members (who shall still remain nameless) that I could personally supply the grid with enough air to supply the needs of Scotland for generations to come. But I’m kinda good with that too.

Now, Cliff Richards kind of says what I’m saying and you’ve got to have a laugh in the midst of all the serious stuff. So, If you can take his words seriously while doubling up at the costume and dance routine so much the better. Who knew, Steve, that the Eurovision Song Contest would feature in one of my posts? Not me, that’s for sure. But more power to it if, occasionally, we get classics like this!

Please take the time if you can to check out the links mentioned. You won’t be sorry. The world needs people of this calibre. I’m proud to follow their thoughts and journey.

 

 

 

 

Hands Up!

Hands up if you’ve ever brushed your teeth in school…..in a classroom…..with every other child in your class?

Wait, let me count. Hands right up……That would be nearly none, I’m thinking. Very close to zero. And, quite possibly, a what the hell is she talking about? Yeah, me too.

Why the hell has it become the case that teachers have now become responsible in many schools for the dental hygiene of the weans?

And I don’t mean teaching the children about the benefits of good oral hygiene, how necessary it is to reduce intake of sugary and acidic foods to allay the onset of dental caries. Neither do I mean carrying out a little project looking at the composition of the tooth from enamel through to nerve. Nor looking at the dental formula for canines, incisors and molars. Nor looking at a model of the human tooth while identifying all the ways to keep them healthy and avoid the dreaded filling or extraction.

No. I’m talking about 30 odd toothbrushes, in a handy plastic covered box, distributed each day to every child who then lines up to have a little bit of toothpaste squirted on it by teacher. Then have the whole toothbrushing experience timed for two minutes while Miss issues appropriate instructions.

If there is anything that gets my gag reflex going it is being in the same room as someone brushing their teeth. I don’t quite know why but it is akin, for me, to having someone scrape their nails down a chalkboard. I shudder. I suppress as best I can a salivary onslaught that threatens to induce vomit.

I witnessed this little spectacle recently and tried with every fibre of my being not to boak at the sound and sight of so many engaged in what I think is quite a personal task.

I use an electric one so I hear its gentle buzz rather than the sound of a brush on teeth. But I can’t even be in the same room as my kids when they brush. I did it in the early days and even brushed them for them when they were young. But that’s a bit like changing your own wean’s shitty nappy. Can do.

My main point here, however, is less to do with this nauseating practice than it is to do with the fact that parental responsibility is either being hijacked or abrogated and I’m fed up with teachers being asked to carry the can for every task that was once the responsibility of parents.

There is so much more that I could write here. And I intend to.

I’m looking at education in a different light these days. Have been for some time. But it’s coming to a head. Rising, as it were. A bit like the bile I feel rising in my throat every time I attend another meeting where we, as teachers, are informed of the latest piece of nonsense that is now ours to carry. While I question, ‘What about literacy and numeracy?’

As it happens, I consider myself something of an expert on multiple aspects of education. But I never signed up to be a feckin’ dentist.

I am not a number…

….but today I was. Number two, in fact. Not the one I would have picked, as it happens, but there was no choice. I was not the only number two in the school. I encountered a few others. There were also number ones and fours and tens. There were numbers in the hundreds and even the thousands.

The whole school lost their identity for the day. It was returned to them at the end of the school day. For the duration of their time in school everyone was identified by a number.

The aim was to allow everyone to recognise the importance of our sense of identity. It was done to highlight Articles 7 and 8 of the UNICEF Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Article 7 (Registration, name, nationality, care): All children have the right to a legally registered name, officially recognised by the government. Children have the right to a nationality (to belong to a country). Children also have the right to know and, as far as possible, to be cared for by their parents.

Article 8 (Preservation of identity): Children have the right to an identity – an official record of who they are. Governments should respect children’s right to a name, a nationality and family ties.

When I heard this was going to happen last week I had an uncomfortable feeling. I didn’t know that I felt so strongly about my name. Yeah, I correct people when they spell it wrongly. An e at the end of Ann, if you please. And a hyphen between Anne and Marie. I know! But maybe we all feel a bit particular about our names. I’ve always liked mine. Never really wished to be called anything else.

I wasn’t really happy at the idea. And it was a very weird experience today being called, ‘Number Two’ or ‘Please Miss, Number Two’.

I hated calling the kids by a number. And I don’t even know all their names yet as this is a new school for me and I’m in and out of so many classes I might meet almost every child in the course of the week. It should have made it easier just being able to say the number that was on their badge. But it reminded me of people being branded with symbols to identify who they were. It made me think of how awful it must be for people who don’t know their true identity or who have forgotten it. Or who have had it removed. It did make me realise how important our sense of identity is to ourselves and that a name as well as nationality are vital in retaining it.

It’s not an experience I would care to repeat. But, I’m glad in a lot of ways that the children and the adults had the opportunity to see what it felt like to be nameless. A very simple right but one, if revoked, has huge implications on how we feel about ourselves and who we are.

There will be lots of discussion tomorrow.

 

This is well after the fact for this DP challenge. But hey ho! It just happened to link in with this post. http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/17/writing-challenge-names/#more-70813

 

“Women are Sluts, Men are Studs” Giving the Patriarchs a Row.

Now, my lovely friend, Rene, has been running crash courses on all sorts of stuff I’m interested in. And I don’t have the time to re-study. So these wee 10-15 minute chunks are just my cuppa.

John and Hank Green – brothers – combining their many talents to educate the world. And I think that they’re great at it. Ok, it’s bite-sized but that’s kind of what is happening to education. Whole other discussion. But these chunks are entertaining and encapsulate the essence of the subject at hand.

My favourite bit in this one might be John giving the patriarchs a row as he…well, listen for yourself. The whole thing is entertaining but the section I’m referring to is from 6.55-7.57. An even smaller bite-size, if 12 minutes is too long. http://nae50.wordpress.com/2014/03/22/lit-course-the-odyssey/comment-page-1/#comment-1804

Think I’m gonna go read The Odyssey now. See, there’s merit in these courses. Just won’t get you into college.

It’s a bit like watching the Open University course programmes. You don’t have to study because you’re just watching for fun at 2a.m. or thereabouts. Nobody’s going to test you afterwards. And you get to say, to no one in particular because no one’s watching them with you, ‘That’s very interesting’. And nod sagely. Before heading to bed with your head stuffed full of stuff you may never need in your life. But hey, I like it.

At least with John and Hank they’re modern. The Open University programmes have been kicking around since the year dot. The outfits and hair do’s testify to that. I think they only update them when something major changes. Like, once they knew the world wasn’t flat, they made a new video.

Humbled By The Wind

A really lovely day today was somewhat spoiled when I hit the deck like the proverbial ton of bricks.

One of those gorgeous, gloriously sunny, windy days that twirls your skirt and lashes hair around. One of those days where you get a bit high with the nursery kids and play tig and chases till you’re breathless with laughter. Quite good when the three and four year olds can’t catch you! One of those days when running about like an eejit seems like the best fun you can have.

But that’s not when I fell.

I reserved that for the afternoon session when the same blustery day enticed me outside with an older crew to do orienteering. Why waste the sunshine, eh?

Last minute instructions to them as they stood on the stairwell and I stood halfway in and halfway out of the building was when it happened.

I had secured the heavy exterior door in its prop to allow us back in the building after they exhausted themselves chasing clues and answering questions. That’s when it happened.

A fantastic gust of wind caught the door, pulled it from its fastening and….everything moved into slow motion… but in a quick second flash……decked! I couldn’t do a damn thing to stop it. Landed with no grace whatsoever.

The kids, god bless ’em, rushed to my aid and shouted, ‘Are you OK, Mrs Hurley?’ I sort of lay there in a heap of dress and handbag going, ‘No. Not really, no.’

One of them had dashed for help and, before I could say, ‘What a red neck!’, there were two members of staff coming to my aid.

By this time I was on my feet and checking out my injuries.

No damage done to my tights. Well, there’s a relief. But a bloody big bleeding graze beneath. A gash on my hand. And a rather strange pain in my shoulder that is really more behind my right breast. Are there muscles there? I can’t remember. Or maybe they can’t remember.

I think I was in shock from getting battered through the air because I seem to remember one of the kids asking if we were still going to be doing orienteering. Might have been my imagination. They wouldn’t be so heartless, would they?

Well, we did anyway. I limped around while they ran amok like banshees in the great North wind. ( I have no idea which direction it was coming from. But I like the sound of that.)

Now I know it’s said that pride goes before a fall. But what about afterwards? And why did the wind feel it necessary to have a go at me? These are the questions and musings that enter a befuddled brain knocked sideways by the power of nature.

I got sympathy from hubby when I came home. A hot bath and a hauf. My own kids informed me that they would have laughed if they had been the kids involved. I don’t know what some parents are raising. I really don’t.

And I don’t have any plasters for my knee. 😦

 

 

Education

Climbthetreecartoonhttp://weknowmemes.com/2011/10/the-educational-system-comic/

Not being a conspiracy theorist, I cannot say, categorically, that there is a plot afoot to keep the general populace in widespread ignorance by dumbing down the curriculum.

Neither can I say, with any real evidence, that current methodology and practice within establishments (from primary through to secondary and beyond) is designed to ensure minimum love of education and a destruction of motivation within students and teachers.

What I can say, with more than a measure of truth, is that all of the above appears to be happening.

And it worries the hell out of me.

Children either unable to read or spell or their capacity to do so measuring well below their intellectual abilities.

Children bored or turned off of education from the earliest years.

Students lacking the desire to embrace education for the sheer joy of it.

There is much more. And there are many more worrying traits that I have observed over a lifetime being involved in education as a student, teacher and parent.

I am embarking on something of an investigation into this on a practical level as well as in theory.

I would be grateful for any input you may have to offer from any perspective regardless of nationality. I am looking at this within the context of Scottish education but keeping an eye open to a wider perspective. I have reason to believe that this is not merely a Scottish issue.

It would be helpful to know where you are from. If possible, could you please state a country in the comments section, as additional information to the first poll, with ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ or other placed beside your nationality.

Thank you for taking part. I’m hoping to get to the bottom of a number of issues and any information will add value to the practical measures I am taking.

miracle-einstein-quoteI believe in miracles.