One of many things I like about the school at which I teach
is that the senior members of staff post a sign outside their offices
indicating what book they are currently reading. One reason for liking this is that it sends
out positive messages to pupils – we want you to read and enjoy reading and
look, we read as well! Another reason is
that it gives a good topic for conversation when meeting them casually, ideally
if I’ve read the book myself, but one can always use a bit of imagination in
the discussion if not.
So, after a long year back school teaching, the summer holiday is upon us - at the time of writing 2 weeks in with 4 more weeks still to go. I have to be honest, the last few weeks of term were very much a case of getting through to the end, the (by UK standards) unusually hot weather continuing for some considerable time didn't help matters, very few fans or air conditioning units to be found!
The first week I spent catching up with some reading, largely arising from the Holocaust, a blog post coming but not quite ready yet - visiting the dentist and the optician, this kind of thing.
So, I woke up on Thursday morning, checked my smart phone –
England had lost against Croatia. If
this doesn’t sound a bit strange, I’m sorry that I didn't feeling sorry because
I feel that as a patriotic Brit I ought to at least a bit. But my indifference to all things football
took priority over my patriotism, I have to be honest.
So, facing up to the day ahead at school, how to play
this? Having made no secret of my
feelings towards football over the last couple of weeks, and having indicated
that I’d be looking to see if any organist needed a deputy for Sunday evening,
I felt that the time was right to play it cool.
I think I can safely say that I have never understood football from any point of view. I have no memory, when at school, of ever being taught how to play, it was just assumed that we knew. Which I didn't. Particularly, with 21 people already chasing after the ball, I had no idea what it was that I was supposed to do as person number 22. So, I was the one person at school who cheered when the weather was bad and we did cross country instead. I mean, running through a park, that I can do, maybe not very fast, but at least I know what I'm supposed to be doing.
I was talking recently to a retired biology teacher, who
told of one of his abiding memories from his teaching days. He had in his class a girl who was not the
brightest but worked hard and with enjoyment.
Both teacher and pupil were delighted when, in an end of year test, she
achieved the highest mark in the class, a huge achievement arising from great determination
Alas, his story did not finish there. The girl went home and told her parents of
the test score. To which her mother
replied, “Yes, that’s because you know so much about sex.
A couple of years before I went to Tanzania there was a knock on my door one day and standing there was a mobile fish monger. Fish were caught, went pretty well into their freezer, came frozen to my door so could go straight to my freezer. So not quite as good as going straight from the sea to the oven but a jolly good second best given that I live about an hour's drive from the coast. He operated pretty well like a shop, so I could buy what I wanted in the quantities I wanted from the selection provided.
Recently I was on the lower deck of a double decker bus. As is usual in the UK, there was space about 1/2 way back for a wheel chair on one side and a baby's push chair on the other. I was sitting on a seat on the second row behind the gap for the wheelchair.
So, the bus filled up. A mother brought a baby in a pushchair so that filled that space. Then an elderly woman came on with a shopping trolley and sat in front of me, immediately behind the gap for the wheel chair, putting her shopping trolley against the other seat.
Over the last week or so I've been grappling with three news stories and trying to work out what I make of them. These are the sex scandal surrounding OXFAM and other aid agencies, the school shooting in Florida, and the UK University lecturers' strike over pension arrangements. If I may I'll take these in turn, as always, very interested to know what you think.
The idea that aid workers working on the field should be paying locals for sex, or making aid conditional upon sexual favours, is, of course, abhorrent, and cuts against all principles of development, empowerment, independence, and so on.
For some years now I've been reading through the Bible each year,
alongside gradually going through the Bible also using the New
International Version Application Commentary (NIVAC) as a guide. Have
to say, going through the Bible is a great discipline which I would
thoroughly recommend to all Christians in getting to know the Bible
The scheme I use has a portion each day from
each of the Psalms and Proverbs, then about two chapters from the rest
of the Old Testament and an average of just less than one chapter from
the New Testament.
In my last two posts I wrote about two upcoming things which have now happened: my assembly in Holocaust Week and joining the school staff dancing troupe. So let me now report back on these two things!
Firstly the assembly. Just to recap: I started from Simon Wiesenthal's account in 'The Sunflower' when, as a concentration camp prisoner in the Second World War, he was asked to forgive a young German soldier dying from battle wounds who had previously been involved in the massacre of a group of Jews, finishing with a clear Christian message of forgiveness at the foot of the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.