Category Archives: My Life

The diary of everything about me, from birth to the present day.

Happy New Year all!

So it’s that time of year again, the start of a new year, where we look forward to the new stuff and wave bye bye to the previous year.

2014 was not a year that I can say was the kindest to me, with some real difficult times in real life affecting me in ways which I could never have imagine. It has meant that I should have graduated last July, but instead it will be this July, but I’m not going to let that get me down, my motivation and love of education hasn’t change and will not ever change.

I have a lot of people to thank for getting me through 2014, so forgive me if I go off on a rant.

The first people I have to thank are the colleagues and friends I have at uni. Without them always being there to cheer me up when things were getting down, I might have given up chasing my dream and my passion. Part of me feels guilty about not being the person I am capable of being but they all stood by me.

It’s not just friends at uni either. I am fortunate enough to friends all over the world through things I’ve done and communities I’m a part of. These people give up time for me and call me on skype and do everything to keep me going no matter how hard times are. I’d like to think I’m able to do the same for them to, which makes for the great network of friends I’ve got.

The next people to thank are my family. I mean I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am now, so close to being a fully qualified teacher if I didn’t have a supportive family, and people that I can turn to and know I will feel better after talking to them. I mean they’ve known me for 22 years now, I think they have it pretty weighed off don’t you think?

The last people I have to thank are all of you, those who take the time to read my blog. I’m often surprised at how many times I check my twitter feed and get private messages on there giving me encouragement and saying they’re enjoying my content, as well as some interesting debates that have been started up as a result. Without this I wouldn’t be doing this blog. I mean I know I’ve been a little slack the last couple of months having had a lot going on but I promise I will post more often now, and I hope you all continue to enjoy what I write.

I’m hoping this year is a very special year for everyone. I’m really hoping to graduate this year and become an NQT and continue to make full use of my love of education. I’m looking forward to so many memories being created and will be able to cherish them for the rest of my life.

Thanks everyone again for the continued support. I know everyone says this, but I have some of the best friends in the world and I can’t be grateful enough for that.

Look forward to more stuff coming soon!

How attitudes to Halloween have changed

So it’s almost back to school time for all of the nation’s children after the half term break and Halloween celebrations, and it’s that time where teachers always ask their students what they did for Halloween.

When I was a kid many moons ago now, kids used to dress up in all kinds of spooky costumes and (along with their parents) used to go trick or treating round their neighbours houses, mostly with their neighbours’ permission first (wouldn’t want to be begging people you don’t know for sweets now would you?). Then there would usually be some kind of party where all these spooky monsters get together and have a good time. The adults tend to go a bit overboard but it’s all in good fun.

Well, a lot of that seems to have changed as technology has advanced. These days kids aren’t so keen on Halloween. I’ve asked kids that I’ve taught in the past what they did for Halloween and more and more often the response I hear is ‘I played on my xbox one or playstation 4.’ It is interesting to note that they were playing games that involved killing zombies (I would like to add that these children were primary age).

What I think disappoints me most about Halloween is how little children, and in some cases adults, know about what Halloween really is in celebration of. It is believed that Halloween is a pagan rite dating back to a pre-Christian festival. Actually it really has nothing to do with Paganism at all. In fact Halloween is actually a Christian festival. Halloween in fact falls on the day before the Feast of All Saints or ‘All Hallows’ on November 1st, hence Halloween is known as All Hallows Even (which was contracted into Hallowe’en). It didn’t use to be November 1st mind, it was moved there by Pope Gregory III to fall in line with the completion of the All Saints Chapel in Rome.

The feast itself spread from France quickly across the rest of Europe in 998, but what is interesting is that the abbot of a powerful monastery there added a celebration on November 2nd, where it became customary to bang pots and pans to remind those who went to hell that they weren’t forgotten, as it is well noted that they were often left out of celebrations as it was predominantly those who went to heaven or purgatory that were celebrated.

This doesn’t of course explain why we dress up in such costumes as we all see today. Well we have the French in the 14th and 15th centuries and British colonies in America around the 1700s to thank for that. One of the most well known events to hit Medieval Europe including France was the Black Death, destroying vast numbers of the population. This caught the attention of the Catholics which gave rises to Masses on All Souls Day, and artistic representations were devised to remind everyone of their mortality. These artistic representations became known as ‘Dance Macabre’ which translates from French as ‘Dance of Death’ and shows the Devil leading all kinds of people from popes, kings and knights to lepers and peasants into the tomb. The French dressed up in the garb of various states of life, but this was on All Souls Day, not Halloween which the Irish had, they didn’t dress up. This became a British tradition when the French and British colonies in America started to intermarry.

Trick or Treating however was not one of these events that became famous. That was where the British colonies rather unwittingly added to celebrations. This actually came from the foiled effects of the Gundpowder Plot on November 5th 1905. When Guy Fawkes was captured and arrested, in the penal periods, bands of revelers would put on masks and visit local Catholics in the dead of night demanding beer or cakes for their celebration. It’s become somewhat kid friendly since but the process is still the same as we know today, albeit it was moved to October 31st to join the Halloween celebrations.

The most recent addition to the celebrations came in the 1800s: witches. They actually were added in by the greeting cards industry when they tried to get in on the Halloween act, which of course didn’t really work out as we don’t really see them nowadays. The witches still stayed though.

The biggest mistake however comes from ill-informed informists who thought that Halloween was Pagan in origin, and that is what we know as the jack-o-lantern. The pagans did use to carve out vegetables to make lamps as part of Celtic harvest festival, but guess what folks? It wasn’t even pumpkins, it was turnips they used to carve out. So not only was it a mistake in origin, they didn’t even get the vegetable right.

So for all those who don’t know why Halloween is celebrated, I hope that I’ve cleared a few things up a bit.

Talent Shoutout: Bethany Stoddard

Hi all

It’s been a long while but I have another talent shoutout I want to bring to your attention. This one comes from another good friend of mine who has a real love of writing. She recently sent me a story that she has been working on and I really enjoyed reading it. I’m sure there are quite a lot of people who can relate to the story, particularly those in the UK and anyone who knows what we think about our weather system!

Here is the link to her story: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1AlHedYuIVIFnMhTNkJqcMFHbXAjdwoiJLQ8SHVsi6NA/edit

As yet it is untitled, if you have a title suggestion you may want to give or any other feedback, feel free to leave a comment on this thread or tweet it to me @youngproteacher and I’m sure she’ll appreciate it.

Hope you enjoy

Mr M

Scottish Independence – My Take

Now I know I am an education blogger, but honestly there hasn’t really been much in the education world that has caught my interest lately, mostly because of the hype around the Independence referendum in Scotland, so I decided that as it could have an impact on education, that I would give my take on what could happen and describe what I would like to see.

Now it has been a while since my Economics A level days, but economics has still been a minor interest of mine, so when it comes to looking at economic statistics, I’m always intrigued. I personally feel that Independence for Scotland will be fiscal and economical suicide, and here’s why.

Firstly, let’s look at the currency. Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond MSP believes that they will be able to keep using the British Pound, to which Westminster have pretty much responded with ‘over our dead bodies’. This of course doesn’t mean that Scotland can’t go on using the pound without such agreement with Westminster, but they would have to build reserves of around £20billion. How would they do that? Well they would have to cut back on building ammenities such as schools, universities and hospitals, which could be disastrous for Scottish Education and Health, which are two areas in which Scotland are considered strong. If universities and school plans are cut, how can Scotland fund the free higher education that it currently has? It was made known recently that in order to achieve this policy in the first place, Scotland cut around 140,000 places. In short, this idea is far too expensive and can lead to disastrous consequences.

The next crucial point to look at is membership of the EU and other links. As it stands the whole of the UK pays billions of pounds to be a member of the EU. Again the question that needs to be answered is ‘How does Scotland intend to fund that?’ Well one way to do that is to increase tax and prices on everything, which is going to have a big impact on the incomes of families as wages still remain stagnant and below inflation as it is, so making the cost of living even higher will seriously slow down consumption, and slow down the economy even further. Losing membership of the EU and UK will mean that Scotland loses an awful lot of trade links around the world, meaning it’s import and export market will be affected, and that will cause price rises as well.

The next point to ponder concerns Scotland’s share of the national debt. Alex Salmond has claimed in an argument that if Westminster does not give an Independent Scotland an agreement to stay in the British Pound, Scotland will default on it’s share of the debts. Well that is a suicidal comment in it’s own right. If Scotland does indeed default on it’s debts, that will give Scotland a reputation of ‘sure give us money but we won’t give it back’. Does anyone else think that sounds like an Icelandic bank? What this will mean is that an Independent Scotland will be charged astronomically high interest rates on any loans they do take from other countries, which will not be sustainable for Scotland to pay back.

Here’s another thought which hasn’t really been mentioned. If Scotland becomes an independent nation, does that mean all Scottish people in the UK become foreign and would require a visa and English citizenship to work in this country? If that is true imagine how many people may find themselves forced to leave the country and head back to Scotland. That would certainly be a significant chunk of Parliament out. It could also mean jobs for English workers suddenly become available in England, but it would have the opposite effect on employment in Scotland. If thousands of people suddenly end up in Scotland without work, the unemployment statistics will go through the roof, putting huge amounts of pressure on the welfare state in Scotland. Not going to look good don’t you think?

So given all this, what would I like to see? Well you would think I would want to see the Scottish people vote No, and that is what my logic would argue. But actually I would like to see Alex Salmond suffer so in a cynical way I would like to see them vote Yes. I would like to see the result of them becoming independent, the SNP raising all the wages of his political party and then end up begging us to let them back in the UK.

If of course Scotland votes No, then what does that mean for Alex Salmond’s position? You would think all people who voted Yes but got outvoted would lose all faithin Salmond’s convictions and would find himself in a position where his own party’s standing is destroyed. I do personally think that Independence will benefit the SNP, not the Scottish people.

If any of you are Scottish, I would be interested to hear what your views on what Scotland should do are as you will have a say in it in less than 24 hours time.

Coming out from the shadows

Hi everyone

I realise it’s been a long time since my last post on here. I’ve been taking a bit of hard times at the moment so my motivation has been a little on the down side. I can only apologise for that. I appreciate everyone who takes the time to read my blog and have over 100 followers on here, along with other people from all walks of life who follow this blog, and so long as you all appreciate it, I will keep on writing.

But the good news I am back and am posting again starting from now. Of course it will take a bit of time for me to get back into the swing of things again so they may not be as good or as popular as some of my previous posts, but bare with me, I will be back to my best shortly!

So look forward to more coming from me, I am actually going to write another blog post for today talking about one of my favourite topics: striking, as soon as I publish this one.

I hope you enjoy my posts like you did before!

Mr M

Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone!

Well as I’m sure you’re all aware today is the 14th of February, which is Valentine’s Day. So today is all about the history of Valentine’s Day, and finishing with some Shakespeare and a song by Meatloaf.

Valentine’s Day, or as it is more formally known, Saint Valentine’s Day, is celebrated on 14th February each year. The Valentines that are commemorated or two Italian saints, Valentin or Valentnus, who share the saint’s day of 14th February. The date is now when lovers declare their love by sending each other gifts and romantic cards. There’s nothing especially romantic about the lives of the two original Valentines, they were both martyred for their faith, in Ad 197 and AD 269 respectively.

The early tradition of Valentine’s Day was that it was the date that birds began to choose their mates, only later did the romance extend to the human population. The first reference in print to Valentine’s Day is found in Geoffrey Chaucer’s The parlement of foules [The Parliament of Fowls], circa 1381:

For this was on seynt Volantynys day Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.

[For this was Saint Valentine’s day, when every bird of every kind comes to this place to choose his mate.]

How the date of 14th February was selected isn’t known. It may relate to the approximate date first anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia, which Chaucer’s poem was written to honour. The couple were both 14 at the time of the engagement, which took place on 2nd May 1381, not on 14th February. The betrothal of young lovers sounds promising as a romantic story bit, in fact it wasn’t. The marriage was purely a political contract between Anne’s brother, King Wenceslas IV of Bohemia and the English government – the partners were unlikely to have met prior to the marriage.

The earliest known romantic valentine verse was written by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife in the 15th century:

Je suis desja d’amour tanné
Ma tres doulce Valentinée

[I am already sick of love,
My very gentle Valentine]

Since then there have been several poems written by several different poets, some more famous than others, but here is one that I quite enjoy, despite not being a fan of Shakespeare. This is his Love Sonnet 18:

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this and this gives life to thee.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! And as promised, I’ll leave you with some Meatloaf!

A new year, a new me!

Well another year has gone by, and we are now beginning to enter the new year. Some of us already have, particularly New Zealand.

This year has most certainly been a year of change for me. I’ve lost some people close to me this year, met some amazing new people, started this very blog, worked with some amazing schools and started to show signs of the person people have seen in me all these years. It has only been recently that I’ve been able to start seeing it myself.

Next year will arguably be my toughest yet. I have so much to accomplish this year that the pressure is high. I graduate and become an NQT in just over 5 months, so I’ll be out in the big wide world soon enough. This will also be the first time I feel a sense of achievement of what I’ve been able to do in the last 5 years of rebuilding my life from the miserable start. I don’t just want to graduate, I want to get into work by the end of this year, doing the job I dedicated my life to doing and giving as many generations to come as humanly possible the opportunities they deserve.

I’m not just set out to improve academically. I know to some people I’m still a miserable 21 year old, but believe you me, I don’t want to be any longer. I’ve always wanted to be a better person than I am, and that hasn’t changed. I’ve been fortunate that I’ve met some phenomenal people over the last few years, so if you guys are reading this, you have no idea how grateful I am for the support you’ve given me. I owe you a lot!

All that remains for me to say is HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! MAY THIS YEAR BE GREATER THAN THE LAST! I shall let Slade finish up with some music.

Lack of posts

Hi all

It’s been a rather sad week on my part as I haven’t posted an article in over a week now! REALLY SORRY!

I been busy at uni lately and have been rushed off my feet with work and personal issues but the good news is I’m back and will return to posting again! Look forward to more interesting articles again!

Sorry again 😦

Mr M

Charity Shoutout! Donations needed!

Hi everyone! I want to bring your attentions to another charity shoutout that an old friend of mine’s brother is taking part in. This one is looking at aiming to make a difference to those who suffer from Fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia is probably something that most people haven’t heard of, unless they are in the medical profession or have family that suffer from it, or indeed suffer from it themselves. It’s a condition that causes widespread pain throughout the body and a heightened and painful response to pressure. At this moment in time we don’t know the cause of Fibromyalgia but it is believed to involve psychological, genetic, neurobiological and environmental factors.

This condition is a lot more common than you might think, in fact it is more common than rheumatoid arthritis, and can be considerably more painful. It’s prevalence is believed to be between 2.9 and 4.7% according to A Survey in Five European Countries.

The link to more information and to donate can be found here: http://www.justgiving.com/fibro100

Together we can find the cause of this wretched condition and improve the care and conditions of those who suffer from it, so get donating!

Cancer Research and Jose Wields Hospice fundraiser!

It has become more and more common in this day and age, and it claims on average 1 in 3 of us. We are in need of a cure to stop the rut that cancer is impacting on us. I know a few people who have lost family to cancer and it’s heartbreaking.

Why am I talking about this? Well there is a fundraiser happening March next year to raise money for both Cancer Research and the Jose Wields Hospice, which the lady who’s taking part in this fundraiser’s mother stayed at before sadly passing away. Other events will also be taking place, so follow the facebook event (linked below) for more information.

Together we can all make a difference and beat cancer! Please please PLEASE put your hands in your pockets and donate to the cause! The more we raise, the sooner we find the cure!

Follow the page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/172476999616778/?source=1