Friday, May 05, 2006

Blasted off

Well, that was a wee trauma! I was blogging last night while Mr Blethers made the dinner when a mighty lightning flash seemed to come into the study; there was a great "crack" as if someone had hit the metal music stand at the window and I fled - taking my laptop with me. However, since then I've had no internet connection and don't know what particular bit of equipment has had a heart attack. And now I'm in Inverness, borrowing yet another PC to fill in the gaps in my online life.

Why Inverness? Well no, I'm not just running away from the storms. I'm here to speak at a dinner organised by the FPs of my old school, Hillhead High in Glasgow. Seems there's a bunch of them up here who still get together and remember the school in its glory days. And yes, in many ways it was indeed an extraordinary school, and I have many happy memories of it. Thing is, it's the extra-curricular activities I remember - the orchestra, the madrigal group - rather than the teaching. Some of it was well done, but far too many of my teachers in these days relied on the industry and background of the pupils and much of the teaching was, frankly, boring.

We were a well-behaved bunch on the whole, and any badness was of the civilised, sophisticated variety - no spit-balls on the ceilings. Nowadays if kids were as bored as I was they wouldn't just doodle on their French text book - they would be creating mayhem in some form or another. I don't yet know if I'll talk about this with any degree of frankness; I'll try to suss out how rose-tinted are the specs worn by my hosts. But remembering this in preparation for my speech has remeinded me of it - and it's a salutary lesson for any teacher. The biggest crime of all is to be a bore.

Once I leave this computer, it may be a while before I blog again. Treasure my words, gentle readers - I'll be back!


  1. Anonymous4:25 AM

    I hope you are back on-line soon, Chris, and that the equipment which was damaged was small and not dear!

    I have often wondered about boring teachers. Are they born boring? Can they be taught to improve? Do they care? Or, are they all different, just as good teachers are exciting in different ways.

    A wonderfully bright woman in our church with a great deal of insight to share and who is a fascinating conversationalist is one of the worst teachers, ever! Sadly, she knows it. She simply admits that she is incapable of not over-preparing, of not reading her complete word-by-word text and droning it as she does so. She just can't stop herself--fear of failure guarantees she will fail. So, we are all losers, for no-one asks her to teach, anymore.

    Are boring teachers usually this self-aware? If so, why did they become teachers, in the first place? (I might ask the same thing about many ministers of the gospel, of course.)

  2. Anonymous1:12 PM

    Eph 4:15 Speaking the truth in love - comes to mind.
    I was going to comment on a blog the other day and this verse made me change my mind(not yours or Di's)
    I've often thought that life was a bit like running your fingers along a smooth mantelpiece and finding a splinter - what are you going to remember ?
    I'd love to move to Inverness for the summer - just popping out for a lottery ticket.

  3. Walter: I think it's a performance thing. If someone isn't a performer, they will tend not to sparkle/engage/carry on/whatever. That would tie in with the anxious over-preparation thing: I never really prepared very muchh and often felt I was flying by the seat of my pants, so to speak. It left me free to respond to the need of the moment - but that's not why I did it; I'm just that kind of person.

    Jimmy - it's the good bits I remember about school; I was sad to leave and thought Uni a poor second for ages. Sad, eh?

  4. I switched everything computerry off, when the storm started, having heard from one of the A&B technicians, how he lost his computer, modem and television. Not being smug at all....because you might have to prepare be blogless for a spell. I totally understand the pain of being incommunicado, and it must be worse for a natural communicator. Local Library if you are in extremis. Your insurance will be unlikely to cover "acts of God."

  5. Anonymous6:40 AM

    Hello Christine, we could have met on friday in Inverness ! We caught the plane at 12 to London Gatwick... (Back from Caithness) And the weather was just glorious.