Laugh or Cry, Beep or Bing, Teaching or Teaching

Questions, questions, that’s what this job as been all about. I have found it goes wrong when you forget to ask them. Like, if you forget to ask your self “laugh or cry” you end up of the floor of the shower going I DONT WANT TO DO THIS ANY MORE!

Got me a job, innit. Well chuffed, like. Get to teach street kids and that. Have been given a mac, like. Mint. Laying down some tracks. 

Excited as I am to be be working in one of the more forward thinking schools in East London,

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Lolcatholics - surreal happenings in girls education

I should be applying for jobs, because the theory I developed in France (you remember it, right, the don’t apply for jobs go to parties one) has stopped working. And believe me I tried. I drank for 6 hours straight one night and then gatecrashed the 40th birthday party of a Music HOD I’d only met once, brought three other people he didnt know in the slightest, and danced til 1 am, at which point I left but they didn’t. Smooth.

So, instead of furthering my career I’m blogging. It’s a more creative outlet for my now certified litteracy levels. (They gave me a letter which says I can count - too.)

(I’m also dancing too much and going to filthy parties in railway arches. Fun. Check out Blues Dancing. NOW)

At first I really hated changing schools, but now it’s at that point in term, where I’m so tired I eat five meals a day and four of them are granola and all my markings got coffee stains on it and I’m wearing my boyfriends tshirt under my ubersmartboughtthisforinterviews jacket and my noticeboard is covered in promises I have failed to keep to myself, where I’ve had a chance to settle, think, and laugh about my kids.

Yeah, MY kids.

It’s a girls school, it’s catholic, they’re obviously all sweet and calm and from lovely lovely families…

…It is just like any other comprehensive school might be 

Funny stuff that’s happened.  

We went on a trip to the south bank one day, and one of my girls just gang-busts the street performers and starts to dance to their song. The street performers weren’t stopping her - she got them the best audience they’d had all year. Neither were we, she got all the girls interested in something, at once. Well done Zoe

I’m accompanying all the GCSE music exams - as you should, when you’re the music teacher. I asked them all to bring in their music.

"Its on my USB miss"

"Ok go and print it."

"No no, it’s like, someone telling you what to play, and if you put it on your headphones, you can  play what they tell you to play."

She has apparently confused accompanists and airline pilots. I explain, gently, that musicians read quite far ahead of the notes they are playing, and can she write it out for me. That was a mistake too. I give up and learn it by ear from a youtube video.

They are all obsessed with God. God even made it on to a poster I asked one of them to make about Skryllex. (“Review of this homework: I wrote out all of the lyrics for GOD”).

Fair enough, it would take a lot to survive this sort of education if you weren’t at the very least interested in practicing religion. Entire days are spent off timetable doing catholic stuff. Like, standing in corridors down the street to welcome, I kid you not, the body of a nun-governer of the school to her funeral.

But: The nuns even come on a recruitment drive at the end of each term. These adorable, slightly delerious old ladies are apparently oblivious to the possible implications of smirking.

I’ve even had my first punch up in a lesson. Two twin sisters just started ripping each others hair out in front of me. I reported them like you’re supposed to. it was pretty harrowing, though. 

Parents evenings. I don’t want to work anywhere posh. The posh parents, too interested. The Not posh parents, lovely. Just so nice. So happy to hear EVERYTHING, ANYTHING you might have to say about their daughters. Even if all you have to say is “Do you like music?” and they say “oh yes!” and nod ferociously because they want their parents to like them more, so then you say “I’m so glad in that case you should contribute more to our lessons,” because you don’t actually know who they are. 

I’ve had moments this week where I’ve remembered why I like this job. They’re funny, they don’t ever run out of energy. About 5% of the time you’re somewhere in the vicinity of a musical instrument, if not making some noise with some of them. So there you go.

Back to the application forms. 

I’ve got a red diary just like you used to have

This is the story of how my blog got it’s title. It’s also an update on Teacher Training - which is going bloody brilliantly, thank you very much. 

A girl I liked texted me a couple of years back:

"Your style diary, what was it called, how much was it and where can I buy one?"

Well, this was out of the blue. This had to be the crunch, the moment, the beginning of what could only be real proper full on fliriting. YES - she thinks I’m hot! Win win win win win…

Words flew through my head, what on earth do you say back?  I only wrote it for you baby? It’s exlusive… You can buy it in the book shop of love sexy…too much? I haven’t written it yet but I will if you want me to? no…

I look down. My socks! One is dark dark purple, and one is pink, with bumblebees on. Aesthetically pleasing, and all wrong. Why is it like this? My lightbulb blew two months back, and I haven’t replaced it yet.

Getting dressed in the dark, a guide to effectively mismatching your socks. 

Shut up brain… I’ll keep her hanging, leave it to the morning.

Over night I realise that, two weeks earlier, she had of course been admiring my moleskine, and wanted to know where to get one. So good job I did. I text back

Rymans, £9.99, totally worth it. 

I don’t think I’m ever going to live this down. Eventually I blew my cover, explained my confusion, and she thought this was hilarious. Thus, our beautiful (platonic) friendship began, free of flirting or terms of endearment such as sexy baby gorgeous, and full of practical questions such as where do you buy those 45p mozarella balls you were talking about?

Teacher training is great. I’ve analysed brahms with quality street wrappers, described musical texture with a piece of string, made a giant stave (called steve) with selotape on the flaw and jumped in and out of it, written an essay on how James Bond is the answer to a lack of interest in orchestral music, jammed to themes by bartok with my friends… you name it. I can add “thankyou for being so awesome” - (Will, aged 16) to my list of professional reviews. 

Creativity, dedication, and fun are the names of the current game. Bring on 2013, and the completion of my self evaluation and qualification as a full time teacher (which I may or may not entitle, a guide to effectively mis-matching your teaching attire.)

Practice poem

Practice poem

Latex suits, taxidermi and things to avoid as a teacher

I’ve been getting more involved with the underground club scene lately. I’ve started making my own dubstep remixes of Beethoven: yeah that’s right. Anyway, I can add plenty of stuff to the sureal things I have done this week list:

I went swimming on a roof. All in prep for the mile I am going to swim in the Thames in may. 

I went to a vintage hat/halloween party. Some of the hats in the fashion show had actual taxidermy in them. Another one had spoons.*

I met a man wearing a suit made entirely from Latex.

"You look familiar"

"You look like a condom."

In its self, the suit was fine: it was a kind of halloween she-bang, one can wear what one damn well pleases… as a costume.

This was no costume; He was off to a fetish party afterwards. In the time I’ve not been in London, has it become a-ok to just parade your fetish gear to regular parties? It wasn’t indecent, it wasn’t even particularly kinky, it was just, odd. More worryingly, this particular fetish party seemed to be something that most people had a) heard of and b) been to, or, at the very least c) were openly discussing like it was a regular saturday night down the pub. I am still coming to terms with descriptions of friends (and ex-boyfriends…) dressed in all manner of corsetry, kilts, and leather-like attire. 

Here are some things my friends have said about the fetish club:

"Yeah, It was cool."

"Bit soft - there were lots of tourists." (You weren’t a tourist?!)

"I’d go again." 

… It’s a fetish club! Fetish = taboo! What did I miss? I was only away for 6 months. Are these standard, four-word mundane reviews a sign that London has gone completely off the hook awol in my absence and it is now, you know, to bust out your BDSM gear for the party where a not-so-pretty burlseque dancer rips up her angle wings in your face, normal, or even the done thing? I feel so left out…

Oh wait. No I don’t! Perhaps I am a massive prude (or becoming one…teacher you know.) But if you’re reading this and dating me: for reference, I hate all things even remotely torturous. Even the word punishment makes me sad inside. 

I think its safe to assume being seen at a fetish club can be added to the long list of normal (assuming it is now normal) things it would be unwise to be seen to do as a teacher: along with smoking, drinking, shopping in primark and swimming. Word of advice. DO NOT use your schools local pool. Ever.

*Click on the hat link! 

Staff room conversations

ManTeacherofMaths: TEACHER FRIEND

MeteacherofMusic: TEACHER FRIEND! We may need some more of these. We should turn on our most magnetic personalities in the staff room tomorrow and see how many we can attract.

ManTeacherofMaths: If I do that I’ll not be able to move around school properly. I’ll magnetise all the bitches.

MeTeacherofMusic: Yeah all the bitches.

ManTeacherofMaths: What can I say.

MeTeacherofMusic: Hey, what if I magnetised all the bitches, then we’d really be in trouble.

ManTeacherofMaths: We should get back to our planning.*

*I hate planning. It goes entirely against my life ethos, of do what the hell ever, but get the hell on with it. 

*Planning comes highly recommended when attempting to pass a PGCE, or deliver an excellent lesson. 

*Conversations such as the above should be used ONLY as a light distraction from planning. 

*I really hate planning. 

5 in the morning


Just when you think you have seen it all, you buy some grapefruits from a stall which also sells West African land snails… for food; two for five pounds! Bargain of the century.  They’re still alive and everything. I am thinking of starting a black market by selling them on as pets on Ebay.*

Anyway. I need to focus on my career. I have approached 5 am from both angles this week. That is, waking up at five in the morning, and going to bed at five in the morning. I am all over the place. The London excitement has got to me and I just can’t help it. And I have to hand it to south east London, it is writhing with art and music and dance and creativity. And It’s laid back about it. I freaking love it. Hackney eat your heart out. (Dare I say it, I don’t even miss Toulouse that much.)

I taught my first class and I loved it. No nerves, no qualms, that was one hour of off-the-cuff music-making body percussion awesome.  ”Miss, miss, can I hit myself in the face?”  ”Miss, when I stamp my foot really hard it really really hurts.” “Miss, are you a professional body perc..percussist?” My school is fantastic, and I am excited to be doing more. This week, I will also be helping out with junior orchestra rehearsals of Singing in the Rain, and accompanying arrangments of songs from west side story on French Horn. Take it as it comes. 

I should really do some homework soon.

*I didn’t take a photo so you’ll have to hold me to this. In my deffence, can you imagine the kind of street where that kind of butcher is? I am still living a little bit with post double mugging paranoia, and anyway, one does not take ones iPhone out of the pocket of ones favourite tweed jacket whilst also holding ones 1954 BSA birmingham shopper bike upright, just to take a photo of some snails. All this, whilst the butcher is shouting at you from inside the shop,

“Darling: Have some beef! Take my beef! Do you want some lovely beef? Free of Charge, just for you!”

When it’s a full moon and the wind is blowing, you may as well just shut the school.
Rational approaches to behaviour management 

Surreal things I have done in the last seven days

I have had an intense week. I shouldn’t admit to this, I should be working hard. I don’t care, I may never have this much fun again: 


 danced to all the buskers we could find in the tube.

 gatecrashed a karaoke lock-in in a chinese restaurant. 

 now know all the words to Starship and I’m the cat with a stick and drum. Subject Knowledge Development and informal learning in practice. 

 got rid of my bed and made a nest on my mezanine. Pictures to follow. 

 went to a beautiful late night recital and fell in love with pianos again. 

 lay on the pavement under Big Ben at midnight and watched the clock strike

 have learned to play I Will Survive, Maria from Westside Story, and the Horrowitz Euphonium concerto backing. 

 had a roast dinner! You only really appreciate English food when it’s absolutely freezing. 

 went beach combing on the thames with a Slovakian and his motorbike. 

 wrote some songs with some 15 year olds, entitled, among other things. “Experience euphoria” and “Its never good enough, I just want to be a good wife.”

And the good news is I am back in the classroom full time from wednesday! This means I’ll have to work less hard to find hilarious stories to tell, and much harder on planning lessons for them to happen in.

I can’t wait. 

Teachers rock

Teachers rock

Berlin - Remember your mustard toothpaste

Berlin, blues dancing. That was my weekend. Flew straight out of my lecture on friday, came back for my lecture on monday morning. I slept for 8 hours in total all weekend. I have skills.*

Berlin is BIG. London is big, but I know it all like the back of my hand. As the result of several transport cock-ups and booking a hostel on the other side of town from where I needed to be, I actually saw some remarkable sights: I high fived a man dressed as a panda, and I saw a woman eating a frankfurter with mustard squeezed on it out of a tube on the bus. No evidence of the packet, just the sausage, in hand, mustard in the other, happily munching away at the front of a tram. 

I wish I’d had a camera at the ready. I didn’t know what she was. Some kind of holographic advert for hyper-germanic food stuffs probably, or a figment of my sleep deprived imagination.

Dancing is fantastic. I must make sure I incooperate into my lessons. It made me think all sorts of things about teaching and learning. You gotta experience whatever you learn, you have to adopt it, you have to adapt it. You have to take it out onto the dance floor and make it move. You have to take it home and think about how beautiful it is. You have to move your hips so beautifully that everyone knows what you want to say with them, you gotta listen to what someone else is saying with their hips…

Ok perhaps I’ll save the blues dance for my personal life. But moving around! Moving around to the MUSIC. That’s what it’s all about. That’s all the national curiculum should say: Move around. 

*Teaching standard 9 should be an ability to operate on little or no sleep. In this respect, I am going to be an exceptional teacher. 


All in a days work…. #teaching #music (Taken with Instagram)


All in a days work…. #teaching #music (Taken with Instagram)

Reverse Psycology, Quotidien Karma and Bloody London

Two oven pizzas, two nurofen, two cold feet and two cups of tea: I am home, after my first week at teacher training college, and very much aware that I am in the UK. I am impassioned by my subject, enthralled by the debates, and exhausted by life here. It only took a week. 

Toulouse is like a gianty bloody city sized hole in my bleeding heart through which the unacceptably frosty london wind is already blowing with full force. I don’t have any winter shoes, winter clothes, or a coat, and I’ve forgotten how to cook hot food. I also forgot how EXPENSIVE england is. Comme une gross bordelle vache qui pisse quoi. 

Its not that bad: 

Here is a categorical and intentionally matter-of-fact british phenomena that disgruntle me:

Breakfast cereal: Does anyone enjoy eating museli? Anyone? Every morning for the last week I’ve chewed my way slowly through a bowl of the stuff with the distinct impression that I am force-feeding myself underbaked clay, conrete, papier maché or some such, which, if it doesnt clog my innerds, will at the very least glue its self (and how) to my bowl in some spiteful effort to remind me, at the end of every day, that not only was I too lazy to wash up like I promised myself I would, that I am also too lazy/forgetful to have bought any sponges or soap. (Imagine me in my bathroom, chipping off oats with my tooth brush and some showergell.) All this could be solved by one simple grapefruit, if only that would keep me warm all morning and not break the bank. 

Bus Routes: Why can they not go from A to B? Why do they run along London’s most congested streets? Why do people eat MacDonalds on buses? Why does the priveledge of enduring this cost me a grandiose total of £2.30?

Pints: I thought I missed them. I didn’t. I am with the French on this one: there is too much beer in a pint. 

Swimming: Indoors (mostly) dirty, and complicated. Walking home with wet hair: not ok. 

Here is a list of things about England which are ok and maybe I missed a little bit:

Fresh milk, average tea, the radio, dentists, cheddar cheese.

There are no funny stories. I kissed 4 men in a week and am hopelessly but enduringly and madly in love with someone I met in Paris for only 2 days and did nothing with but what a wonderful nothing that was…

…A man came up to my student room and banged on my window loudly, causing me too, well, jump…

…The great british bake off is pretty cool huh?

That’s all I got:

Teacher training college is what you may expect. I was silenced in a debate today in order for one of my collegues and class mates to offer the following justifciation for education:

"The purpose of education is to help kids develop, because, if it doesnt do that, what’s the point in education, yeah?"

I take this as an answer to my own insecurities: 1. A back handed smack from my daily karma in response to my reversed psycological attempt to calm my self down and abstain from all argument (I failed, I quote “you could feel the heat coming off me.”) and 2. just another sharp reminder that I’m back in my natural habitus. I am going to be living with this kind of level of enthusiasm for life for the next 9 months, at least, so I may as well get used to it.*

Bloody London.

*Disclaimer: My music teacher course friends are FANTASTIC, hilarious and very very bright! I am trying to paint life bleaker than it actually is in order to be FUNNY, ok? I’m sorry if you didn’t get to this disclaimer and are now offended. 

Why does French paper have so many lines Delphine?"
“It is for the boys. They all have terrible handwriting.
11 year olds are wise.