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.)


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. 


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. 


The beginning of a Story an 11 year old wrote for me

On that day, the island stood darkly in front of us, with a bright sky that was almost blinded us. Some clouds were so black that the sky looked like a black and white cow. The sea was so aggitated that the waves broke on the rocks making crests which looked like sheep.



I’m gripped: Delphine is an astounding child. 


My Students

Forget what they tell you on TEFL courses. Students do not come in boxes labeled “young learner,” “adult” or “Business,” and nor do they have levels.

I have lots of individuals now, and they are all bananas. Maybe this is because I put posters up in all the cool cafes.

Thomas is a beginner. He wants to improve his english because he is an aspiring Qi Jong and chinese medicine master. By october, he needs to be fluent in all maters relating to china, airports, and the body.

Chris is very good at English because used to play ping pong for France, but didn’t get any medals when he was in the olympics.

Laura is an accountant. She needs english because to get a better job, but is far too busy to do homework because she is playing Ptonk or riding horses or going to the country side where there are no problems

Stella is from the Ukraine. She is one of those astounding people who speaks millions of languages already. She just likes learning them. 

Margarita is a graphic designer. She photoshops pornstars to make them look like barbie dolls. I have no idea why she wants lessons. 

Jan is Spanish. Jan needs me to work on his song writing with him which he does “in what ever language the words come to him in.” Jan is a Very Spiritual Person (!), and doesn’t know how he learned the English he knows. (You heard it on the TV Jan, and what you’re singing makes no sense.)

The Fronce Familycomprise Johan, 14, Miriam, 49, Grandma Fronce, 82, and the two dogs Tommi and Bibi. They all need to learn english all at once in three weeks, because they are moving to Paris.

Delphine, 11, is already fluent in English because she goes to international school. She needs a teacher with whom she can discuss english literature, go on walks, and watch films. She has a burning ambition to become an interpreter for the army. Delphine rocks my socks. 

(Miguel. Miguel isn’t my student, he’s my housemate. He is multi-lingual because he was in Cirque du Soleil. I just wanted to tell someone that.)

There is no way in hell I could have predicted the responses I’ve had to my badly spelled adverts, nor, that in a week or so, there is a high chance I will have to leave all my students to go and conduct a childrens orchestra in Andora.

I should open my eyes sometimes. Teaching English is hilarious and life is really quite exciting. 


And now they look like this.
Professionalisim - its all in the looking like you know what you’re doing.

And now they look like this.

Professionalisim - its all in the looking like you know what you’re doing.


This is what my lesson plans used to look like…

See that? That’s colour coding. They would take about 5 hours to put together, two days of forethought, and a whole bunch of photocopying stress in the ten minutes before hand. 

This is what my lesson plans used to look like…

See that? That’s colour coding. They would take about 5 hours to put together, two days of forethought, and a whole bunch of photocopying stress in the ten minutes before hand. 


Lessons for this week:
1. Pom-bears (In french Cranky Croc Bear’s Hit!) do not an adequate dinner make
2. Even your best friends will not neccsserily keep their promises. Their motivations may be simultaneously extrinsic and intrinsic, (like any EFL student) and you must acknowledge both to truly stand in their shoes.
3. New shoes go a long way toward turning your life around. (Why are these all men’s shoes? I’d look teacher-glam* in all of these.)
*compound adjective
*kind of

Lessons for this week:

1. Pom-bears (In french Cranky Croc Bear’s Hit!) do not an adequate dinner make

2. Even your best friends will not neccsserily keep their promises. Their motivations may be simultaneously extrinsic and intrinsic, (like any EFL student) and you must acknowledge both to truly stand in their shoes.

3. New shoes go a long way toward turning your life around. (Why are these all men’s shoes? I’d look teacher-glam* in all of these.)

*compound adjective

*kind of

(via picturesforthefourtheye)


London vs Toulouse

This whole travelling thing is when you’re supposed to work out your ideal life, right?

I’ve cracked it.

It looks something like this.

Mornings: primary school music teacher/assistant 

Afternoons: piano teacher/practice time

Evenings: DANCING (/maybe playing some jazz if I can be bothered learning how)

Weekends: DANCING/MUSIC/CONCERTS/PARTIES/CYCLING/SWIMMING/DANCING SOME MORE

Boom. Totally sorted.

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I found this on my desk. Help.
What is this? Answers to questions? What questions? What did you do at the weekend type questions? How did your last dinner party go? 1. 2. Discuss your habits? 3. 4. Never have I ever. Is it some sort of response to English TV? (Potentially, I’m a celebrity get me out of here?) 
I don’t get it.
Perhaps theses are not answers to questions at all. Perhaps no-one even wrote them. Perhaps they are a subliminal message from the beyond/my future over-tired teacher-self, telling me that my students will never, ever ever ever understand me and will go forward in their “language” education only to succeed in producing snippets of surreal meta-situationist art without any intention of achieving anything more than ordering a coffee, or getting a hair cut. 
I should just teach piano and be done with it. 

I found this on my desk. Help.

What is this? Answers to questions? What questions? What did you do at the weekend type questions? How did your last dinner party go? 1. 2. Discuss your habits? 3. 4. Never have I ever. Is it some sort of response to English TV? (Potentially, I’m a celebrity get me out of here?) 

I don’t get it.

Perhaps theses are not answers to questions at all. Perhaps no-one even wrote them. Perhaps they are a subliminal message from the beyond/my future over-tired teacher-self, telling me that my students will never, ever ever ever understand me and will go forward in their “language” education only to succeed in producing snippets of surreal meta-situationist art without any intention of achieving anything more than ordering a coffee, or getting a hair cut. 

I should just teach piano and be done with it. 


So, I had a pretty, wandering around in the sun sort of weekend. Between two intense blues parties, I managed to hit up a festival, go to a parade, get a free mandolin lesson in the park, eat the worlds most amazing brunch, go to a market, see a free art show, and buy some new shoes.
Oh, and plan two killer lessons. You know, the usual. #badass
My prospects in France are good. I found a music workshop today. A whole shop where kids can just go and practice the piano and meet tutors who help them. So here’s hoping I can combine teaching English as a foreign language with teaching piano in a foreign language. (these are prepositions. I passed my grammar test with 100%!!!!! Don’t hate me)
Or, you know, I’ll just advertise myself as Mary Poppins. Superwoman Multilingual All Singing All Dancing All Piano Playing Childcare Supremo.
I did a dressing up lesson with my adults today. They loved it. Children will love it too.

Me, in role. “You want this shirt?”
Mohammed, not in role. “Sfor a women.”
Me, out of role.”I know mohammed. But we are pretending.” Back in role: “Try it on!”
"Sfor a women."

Now back to planning lessons. In the sweet sweet company of smarties, cheap beer and, insomnia. #doublebadass.
(…and fantasies about the (sadly taken) super hot tutor who will asses me on thursday morning.*)
*When I will do a role play lesson, just to make an impression. In my best shirt**
**Trying to impress the taken ones is TOTALLY FINE***
***even if they’re your #badass teacher.

So, I had a pretty, wandering around in the sun sort of weekend. Between two intense blues parties, I managed to hit up a festival, go to a parade, get a free mandolin lesson in the park, eat the worlds most amazing brunch, go to a market, see a free art show, and buy some new shoes.

Oh, and plan two killer lessons. You know, the usual. #badass

My prospects in France are good. I found a music workshop today. A whole shop where kids can just go and practice the piano and meet tutors who help them. So here’s hoping I can combine teaching English as a foreign language with teaching piano in a foreign language. (these are prepositions. I passed my grammar test with 100%!!!!! Don’t hate me)

Or, you know, I’ll just advertise myself as Mary Poppins. Superwoman Multilingual All Singing All Dancing All Piano Playing Childcare Supremo.

I did a dressing up lesson with my adults today. They loved it. Children will love it too.

Me, in role. “You want this shirt?”

Mohammed, not in role. “Sfor a women.”

Me, out of role.”I know mohammed. But we are pretending.” Back in role: “Try it on!”

"Sfor a women."

Now back to planning lessons. In the sweet sweet company of smarties, cheap beer and, insomnia. #doublebadass.

(…and fantasies about the (sadly taken) super hot tutor who will asses me on thursday morning.*)

*When I will do a role play lesson, just to make an impression. In my best shirt**

**Trying to impress the taken ones is TOTALLY FINE***

***even if they’re your #badass teacher.