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Thursday, 19 May 2011

Getting older can have some advantages

I admit it, I'm not exactly young anymore, in fact I've only got 6½ years left before I can apply for my Senior Citizens Pension, but I don't really mind.

There are some aspects of growing older that are not to be desired.
The increase in medication to control:
  • Blood Pressure
  • Cholesterol
  • Blood Glucose

The hair slowly but steadily receding.
The aches in the mornings and randomly throughout the day.  My shoulder was injured in my Army days, over 30 years ago.  It was fine until last year, when it began to ache in the mornings.

The occasional memory lapse.

Steadily increasing trips to the toilets.  I set up a spreadsheet and graphed it, and if the rate of increase doesn't change, I predict I'll be permanently living in a loo by the time I'm 86.

The flesh sagging more with each passing day, the piles, the itches and skin rashes, the fungi, and the hair.

I never expected the hair.  I knew intellectually that body hair growth changes with age, but why out of my nostrils? Why out of my ears, and on my nose.  But really why on the top of my ears.  Actually just about everywhere except on top of my bloody head.

However, all is not negative.  Getting older does not automatically give you the respect of the younger generation, those days have mostly gone.  But I've found that any reputation you have developed over the years tends to become exaggerated.
And the older I get, the less I care for stupid protocols or expected behaviour.
If I want to walk down to the shops dressed in elastic-sided safety boots, my trusty Army shorts, a turquoise T-shirt emblazoned with a picture of a very fetching young lady in a bikini, a disreputable soil and paint splattered canvas sun-hat and a pair of sunglasses, then I do.
Comfort and convenience outweighs any desire to be sartorially correct.
I basically just don't give a damn what people think.

This has an influence in my profession as well.  We get continuous pressure from the NZ Teaching Council to be reflective on our teaching practices, and to adopt new teaching strategies.

Quite honestly, it's mostly a complete load of bullshit.
They fiddle with the terminology.  Objective and Outcomes, Learning  Intentions, Success Criteria, Restorative Practices, but the basic techniques don't really change.

Teaching.  The secrets.

  • Get to know the kids, and want them to succeed.
  • Be nice and friendly, but you're not their friend.
  • Be consistent, don't pick favourites.
  • Praise profusely when it's deserved.
  • Plan and prepare well in advance.
    • Tell the kids what they're going to be taught
    • Explain how it's going to progress
    • Show them an example
    • Explain and expand the basic concepts
    • Give them exercises to practice
    • Tell them what they've just learned
    • Check they've learned it
    • Tel them what's next
  • Be humorous but not sarcastic.
  • Don't take yourself too seriously.
  • Keep a slight pressure on the kids to progress
  • Be fair and listen to what the kids say
  • Enjoy every day.
So I listen to the "most recent advances in pedagogical research" expounded by our leadership team, and ignore 90% of it.  I've either heard it before in a different guise, or I already utilise these "new" techniques, or I've tried it and it doesn't work.  Sometimes a new idea comes along which I adopt and utilise, but I feel sorry for the new Probationary Teachers, who have to try and absorb all these new ideas and try to sound enthusiastic

I try and project the persona of a grumpy old bugger with a heart of gold, and it mostly works.  I get left alone when I want to, but I'm always available to help the less fortunate.

Like young female teachers in miniskirts.
I always have time for them.

Oh to be young.  *sigh*

As an added extra, a friend sent me this link to a film clip about cats.  Richard [of RBB] be very careful.  If the ginger bastard sees this, you may be in some trouble.  Be warned.


  1. I don't get older, so I don't know what it's like.

  2. I can {almost} put up with the hair stuff - but I hate the decrease in coordination needed to deal with the bloomin stuff!


  3. " I hate the decrease in coordination needed to deal with the bloomin stuff!"

    Alistair, I don't think the decreasing coordination is due to old age. Have you considered that the effects of alcohol might be to blame?


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