Tell-Tale-Tit

 Originally Posted on 

THE STRESSES AND PERILS OF A TEACHER’S LIFE!  

I DOUBT A ‘PEDAGOGUE’ COULD EVER HAVE TAUGHT TEN-YEAR OLDS.

PleaseSir

TELL-TALE-TIT

They did it, sir, I saw them,
They pestered and annoyed her,
They spread your desk with powder,
They turned the sound up louder,
Oh, please sir, say you’ll whack ’em.

 She did it, miss! I saw her!
She spread the floor with water.
She splashed the paint on Susan Porter;
She cut the model dog in quarter.

I’m awfully glad you’ve caught ‘er.
 You did it, sir, you caught ‘em.
You found them where they hid it,
You even found them with it,

So you must believe they did it.
Red-handed!  Now you’ve taught ‘em!
He did it, sir! I saw him!
He fed the goldfish sawdust;

He made the hamster raucous.
Yes, he giggled when you caught US.
Believe me, sir, it WAS him.
Why don’t you, sir? Why don’t you?

Why not hit him with your ruler?
Why can’t you be a little cruel-er?
Why are you acting cooler?
You frightened that he’ll sue you?

 

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The Red Chesters

TheCaretaker

THE  RED  CHESTERS

“Shall I collect the red chesters?”,
The caretaker said to me.
He’d said it so often I didn’t demur;
I grimaced and just let it be.

For him to take care of a school,
That was a daily trial.
He’d disappear for hours on end;
Complaints just met with denial.

‘Thruppence short of half a crown’,
Was how we described him then;
But that was being so unkind
To a minnow amongst men.

He shuffled around from place to place
Carrying brush and pan,
Picking up what others dropped,
Doing it because he can.

When needed to open a stockroom door
He went to find the key.
Two hours later he appeared
To set the prisoner free.

He stoked the boiler from time to time
To keep the heating on,
But never remembered to turn it off
When wintertime had gone.

He swept the playground with a broom
The way he’d always done.
You couldn’t see the difference
From when he had begun.

Cleaning out the long jump pit
Was just a task too far.
He couldn’t tell a pile of sand
From half a ton of tar.

And as for adding up I found,
He wasn’t the wisest of men.
When asked to count milk bottles up
He could never get past ten.

I asked him once how many chairs
He’d set out in the hall.
He told me, about ten rows, plus two,
He’d put against the wall.

And as for cleaning out latrines,
He didn’t find that easy.
He couldn’t wash a basin out
Without him feeling queasy.

So why, you ask, did I appoint him,
Choose him before another?
Sorry, but I do admit,
He was my dearest brother.

 

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N.B.  ‘Red Chesters’ is the way some people mispronounce the word ‘Registers’, which are the daily attendance records maintained in each class of UK schools.

 

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Spuggy Hood

Spuggy Hood3

‘Spuggy’ … WHB – pen & ink – 2017  ©

 

SPUGGY HOOD

 

Spuggy Hood is in my class,
A stocky, spotty, snotty lass.
We all take care with her about,
A dangerous friend to have. No doubt.

Her hair is tangled, mousy brown,
Her face it wears a constant frown.
As for her dress, well it is awesome,
Brighter than the leaves in autumn,

But this is just because of jam,
Of bits of grease and chunks of ham.
Everything that she has eaten
Seems her cardigan to sweeten.

At lunchtime in the school canteen,
Regardless of the day’s cuisine,
Don’t wish to be dog in a manger,
But, sit near Spuggy, you’re in danger.

Whilst we try to eat our lunches,
She grinds her teeth, she chomps and munches;
Dribbles, snivels, slobbers and slurps,
With many gulps, and grunts, and burps.

She doesn’t seem to care at all,
Big and fat, built like a wall,
Barging her way around the room
Whilst roaring with a sonic boom.

She takes no prisoners, has no friends,
Kindness pays no dividends;
Of her classmates she’s oblivious
Her behaviour really is perfidious

Chews her pencil, sucks her thumb,
Picks her nits, scratches her bum.
Never ever is she good,
She’d show her knickers if she could.

She likes to sit and pick her spots,
Her fingers covered in ink blots.
Blows her nose on toilet paper . . .
 
. . .  I hate, I hate, I hate, I hate ‘er.

 

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TERENCE – The Teachers’ Torment

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TERENCE – THE TEACHERS’ TORMENT

Terence was so sensitive,
He was averse to life.
He was a pain to have in school,
A constant source of strife.

He wouldn’t play in any team,
He just stood there and cried;
Wouldn’t join in any sport
However much we tried.

He hated maths, he couldn’t add,
His spelling was appalling.
His writing was a dreadful scribble,
His language was quite galling.

And what he knew of history
Could be written on two stamps
And science and geography
To him were complete blanks.

And when it came to making friends
He wasn’t interested;
His eating habits were quite crude,
His food left half-digested.

He said that school was not for him,
He’d rather be at home.
His mum and dad, at their wits’ end,
Called it his Teddy Syndrome.

“OK, then let’s just try”, I said,
“To see if this will work.
Let him bring his Ted to school
Might solve his little quirks”.

And so it did, I’m pleased to say.
There’s no more ridicule.
He carries Ted around with him,
Best teacher in the school.

Horace & His Teddy

‘Horace & His Teddy’ … PH & WHB

Do You Speak Seagull?

WalesTenby93

‘The Conversation’ … Photo – Tenby, South Wales, 1993 by WHB.

SPEAKING SEAGULL

 

Hello bird

I haven’t seen you here before.

Talk to me

Tell me your story

I wish you could speak to me

Do you speak seagull?

Then you could tell me what you want

I’ve been fishing

You want food, don’t you

I spend my life fishing

I’m sorry, nothing you would like here

And diving of course

Bet you like fish

Can you dive?

And worms?

I was the best diver in my class

Do seagulls eat worms?

And I’m still a beginner

I have got some breadcrumbs

‘Cos I’ve just left school

I’m here on holiday

I’m only two

I’m only seven

I’ve just got all my grown-up feathers

I’m starting big school after the holidays

Better go now

Better go now

See you next year.

See you next year.

I wonder if she really understood me

I wonder if he really understood me

Goodbye … Must fly …

Cheerio … Must go …

 

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NUMEROPHOBIA

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‘Teaching Maths’ … Collage by Clive Butler – c.1984

NUMEROPHOBIA

When numbers leap up at me
I often feel scared;
They can be aggressive
Render thinking impaired.
I try not to fluster
To think these things through,
But I can still end up muddled
Not having a clue.

In the shop I try hard
To keep check on my spend,
But I’m easily distracted
And I have to pretend
That I know what I’m doing,
Mind and brain won’t agree;
Are two for the price of one
Same as buy one get one free?

When I’m with my bank statement
Checking up what I’ve spent,
Deducting those refunds
Allowing for rent,
Assuming some interest,
Checking those bills,
It gives me a headache –
Cue for some pills.

Life should be much easier.
If only I’d been
An attentive student
I could have foreseen,
That time spent with maths
In school in my teens,
Might have paid off –
Unless it’s my genes!

Three score years and ten
I will not see again;
At least I know that
My bible’s my brain.
My life is a number
Too large to keep count
It’s approaching seven dozen –
I demand a recount.

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DEMOLITION – Man & Boy

demolition0

demolition2a

DEMOLITION – Man & Boy

What is my joy in destruction?
Why does it give me a kick?
It grants me a sense of elation;
I once thought I was just downright sick.

As a toddler I remember I wanted,
As soon as a tower I’d built,
Just to knock it all over and giggle
Without any feeling of guilt.

Then when I’d taken up Lego,
I’d just love, after building my farm,
To smash it to bits with my mallet;
Didn’t think I was doing it harm.

And when in a History lesson
I said I’d like to have been
One of those men who wrecked churches and abbeys.
 The teacher near ruptured his spleen.

He sent me to see the headmaster,
Saying I must be beyond the pale;
For taking part in such Dissolution
He considered me right off the scale.

They decided I must be a vandal,
And said I would pay for my sins.
Abbeys and shrines were verboten,
I mustn’t wantonly damage such things.

Well, now I’ve left school and I’m happy,
My job suits me down to the ground.
I work hard with great satisfaction,
And no one will push me around.

For now I’m a demolition expert,
I can continue my hobby with pride;
Destruction now is my trade
As on top of a huge truck I ride.

Mechanical shovels and drills,
Excavators and large JCBs,
Bulldozers, cranes and dump trucks,
All these I can manage with ease.

And now that I’m married with children
I watch Joe build towers with his bricks,
Then demolish them with glee and I know
He’s a chip off the old block of tricks.

If I Had My Wish

I can find no trace of this poem / ditty anywhere.   I am not the author, and I am unable to find out who is / was.   Many years ago, when I was probably around the age of 6 or 7  (i.e. in the 1940s – yes, that’s right, during WWII ),  I learnt this poem by heart and delivered it to an audience at a Yorkshire chapel concert – presumably to demonstrate  my skills in memorised recitation.  Well  …  it certainly wasn’t to showcase a budding poet!   Although I don’t recall being sensitive at the time about the cannibalistic sentiments expressed,  I do now see the poem as somewhat ‘non-PC’ and quite unsuitable for directing a child to commit such verses to heart and then expound them in public.  

. . .   and Yes,  I have never forgotten these verses, the dramatic emphases within the poems structure, or the subtle cadence of its rhythms (!!!).   So . . .  make of it what you will, but  I would certainly be interested if anyone can throw light on its origins and/or its creator!  . . .

. . .  I remember being instructed to “pause before delivering the last line … and then say it quickly and loudly – with emphasis!”  . . .  What artistry !!! 

fish 

If I had my wish
I would be a small fish
And swim where nobody could catch me.
I never would look
At a worm on a hook,
Or some naughty boy then might snatch me.

kid-in-mud

I’d frolic and play
With the fishes all day,
And not go to school at nine-thirty.
I’d not give a bean
If my neck wasn’t clean,
Or if BOTH my ears should get dirty.

frying-fish

And when I had died,
I should like to be fried,
With the bones taken out of my tummy,
And served, if you please,
With some lovely green peas,
… and then eaten up by my mummy!

ma-eats-fishpeas


 

On my unsuccessful search to discover the author of these verses, one source I discovered, of all things ( well, poetry anyway) fishy, can be found at: …

.fishy verse

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In Memoriam – D.A.K. #1

Dave King

David Alexander King

Those of you who remember my first two blog posts – on 25th and 28th July this year, will recall that I dedicated my ‘Rolands Ragbag’ blog to David Alexander King (DAK).

DAK was, for many years, a teacher in both London and Kent, before becoming  headteacher of a Special Needs School in Surrey.

He both encouraged and inspired me to dip my talents, such as they are, into the blogging world.  He himself was a prolific writer, a poet and artist, who published a new poem nearly every day for several years before he sadly died three years ago this month.  David found particular inspiration in the work of the Irish Nobel Prize Winning poet, Seamus Heaney, who died just 2 months before David, in August 2013.

DAK’s work is still accessible on his website at:  picsandpoems

I am taking the opportunity to mention his work again in his memory.

 


The photograph below is of Dave and was taken by me in 2010 on the shores of the Bristol Channel, at Brean Beach, Burnham-on-Sea, in Somerset . . .

LIVING DANGEROUSLY . . .

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ON PEDANTS

cezanne

Cezanne –  ‘Turning Road at Montgeroult’ 1898

ON PEDANTS
Dark Thoughts in the Staffroom

Sat in the seat of sorry separation,
Iron to pot chatters of morning’s mistakes
That made this morning different from yesterday’s.

“He said he’d get him after the lesson.
I said if he did, I’d get him after the lesson.”

“He missed a penalty. The ten year old.”
“We should have won by seven more.”

“I said I’d tell his mum about him.
He said he’d tell his dad about me.”

The Cezanne cottage shouting from the wall,
In reverence for being out of place,
Muffles its strength in an attractive frame.

Their life is a blister,
Thriving until a provocation restores a little life.
The child’s vitality vitiates their own, yet still,
Unheedingly,
They dedicate their lives to inevitability.

* * *

“Pour agir dans le monde il faut mourir a soi-meme.”
These end the life within them without a known success.

* * *

ListenToTeacher-CliveButler

[ Poem composed by me many years ago during
my first years of teaching in a London school ]

 

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