Friday, 17 December 2010

there but for fortune

The last day of term - the Christmas one, too.  It's always been a tiring term and the last day often exhausting.

However, the need by modern management for complete control freakery meant that everything was tied down and ran with almost military precision (cliches-r-us).  They in their infinite wisdom decided to ask the pupils what they would prefer for "Christmas Dinner".  Evidently, the answer came back as "Turkey Burgers and Chips" (I kid you not).  So, Turkey Burgers and Chips it was with a Veggie Burger as a sop for the more fussy eaters.  What happened? Very few of the little dears opted for the Christmas meal because they wanted a "proper Christmas Dinner".

Last year they asked the pupils what they wanted for a school uniform.  "Blazers and ties" they all demanded which appealed to the management - why, they'd all look smart all the time. Well, shirts out, ties in all sorts of ridiculous shapes or just hanging barely done up around their stomachs.  And blazers?  "In my bag, sir".

It would appear obvious to most intelligent people that asking kids what they want is the last thing you should do.  We spend all our time trying to get them to look smart with no real sanctions to help. Given this is the result of asking them what they want for a) uniform and b) Christmas Dinner guess what c) might be?

Give up?  I'll tell you - they ask them how they want to be taught. I'll leave it at that but you can probably fill the blanks in yourselves.

Meanwhile, back at school . . .after the hordes of pupils had gone and the last plates cleared away, the uneaten Turkey Burgers thrown away, we had our end of term meeting.  Usually this means saying a "fond farewell" to the lucky ones who've escaped.  This year, so far, no one has left.  Our glorious leader gave a brief Christmas speech in full Mr Grace mode ("You've all done very well") which involved a large box of Fortune Cookies sent in by a proud parent - the use by date was probably "Year of the Rat" - which he went around the staff room offering to the staff.

Amongst all the "trust your intuition" and "good luck comes your way in a telephone call" fortunes, mine read: "you are soon going to change your present line of work". 

How did he do that?


Kent Wiley said...


Any chance the studentia know exactly what they're doing when they are asked about such things as dress code and meal planning? As in, they plan to "stick it to the man" as often and as hard as they can? Did you do otherwise when you were their age?

Dave Leeke said...

This is a great point, Kent. As you may know from some of Mike's posts, that we both went to the same school - he's older than me (just thought you should know that!) - but yes, that's exactly what we did.

I spent all of the early 1970s trying to get away with longish hair and flared trousers. Mike, I'm sure had his own way of "sticking it to the man". This is no different to our students who wear their trousers somewhere around their knees. But, as an adult, I have to toe the party line!

I guess I tend to (nostalgically) think we were nicer about it . . . but I'm sure I'm wrong.

Dave Leeke said...

By the way, Kent, thanks for the tip about Hitchcock's "Young and Innocent" - it is, indeed the film I was looking for. I'll have to see if I can find it now.

Kent Wiley said...

No problemo, Dave. The Hitchcock question was a pretty easy one. About your inquiry on the next post about the Captain, I've no clue. I haven't heard him since the days of sampler albums in the early 70's.

Mike C. said...

Dave, face reality, you are The Man now, and must take your sticking like A, if not The, Man.

Apart from the usual hair, my USP in the man-sticking dept. was (a) footwear (boots) and (b) not shaving. I had sideburns so long and bushy that they practically joined under my chin. If I didn't shave for a week I had a beard. Then Davidson (head of 6th) would tell me to shave, "because it sets a bad example to the younger boys". Oh, really? Like how?


Dave Leeke said...

I never got into the 6th form but Davidson was often on my case too. I'd taken to wearing a flat cap during the fourth and fifth years. "If you want to wear a cap you can wear a school cap". Oh yeah, that would have looked really cool! Given that the instant anyone wore one in the first year, it was ripped off of your head and thrown onto the roof of The Grange. The only boy in the school with a school cap. . .

We now have kids in Y11 (fifth in old money) that sport facial hair - nobody ever comments.

So, I'm now officially "The Man". How did we ever get this far?

Mike C. said...

We got this far by coming to our senses early enough not to end up sitting on a bench with a bewildered expression and a bottle of cider (well,we can do that too, if we want). Job, house, kids, and everything!

Given what happened to so many others along the way, I'd say we've done pretty well. Someone's got to be The Man, after all...


Dave Leeke said...

Very true - especially as I don't like cider (useful for cooking, though).

There's something about the festive season that brings the melancholy out in us all. But you're right, some have fallen by the wayside and we made our choice of path through life.

And that has made all the difference.