Monday, February 08, 2010

Back to Skool.

Welcome, peeps.

Well - a whole week of school under my belt and now, at last, some time to write.

The response has been overwhelming: everyone who replied has voted for me to vent my spleen without regard to consequences. So I’ll stick both boots in and give an honest assessment of last week’s events, even if it means no-one will ever trust me again for fear that I betray them on this forum.

Lat time I was at school (without counting AwardSchool in 2008) was as a fresh (read: pimply) faced teenager. There were a few mature-age students in my classes back then, and each one (bar a really lovely chap named Marty) was an enormous pain in the neck. Here at the CAE though everyone is a mature age student – so we have more than our fair share of pains in the neck. We pay good money to listen to experts who share their time and knowledge for our own educational advancement. I did not pay to listen to the same old grey haired women every time they think they’ve got something important to contribute.

Of the 45 people in the class 5 were males. Of the 40 females around 70% were over 50 years old. So that might give you a rough idea on how the week was going to pan out.

So here are some brief notes from our first week of study:

Mobile phones. Guess what people? Mobile phones actually have “OFF” buttons. I know – CRAZY! And even if you can’t bring yourself to turn the things off they have this thing called as “SILENT” function. To my knowledge this has been a standard feature of mobile phones since even the earliest bricks began making our lives a misery. Ladies – mobile phones are no longer a status symbol (even the ubiquitous iPhones are now de rigueur). Leaving it ring in class doesn’t make you special; it just makes you like everyone else, only RUDER. And actually screening your calls whist your dubious ringtone is interrupting an entire class? Sweet mother of Jesus, could you be any ruder?

Eating at your desk. I think we may have all done this at some stage. Those occasions where you really are so bloody busy that you don’t have time to leave the office even for a second – so you park it wherever you can and fill your face in a hurry and then straight back into it. But that is in the real world. This is school. We’ve just had an hour’s lunch break (yep, an HOUR – the last time I had a one hour lunch break was… NEVER!) and you have just opened and started eating your lunch whilst we are trying to listen to the next guest speaker. How rude is it to be filling your face whilst someone is trying to teach you?

Ask a stupid question. It is great to have a whole bunch of talented experts come visit and share their stuff with us all. It is also mighty nice of them to open themselves up for questions at the end of their little lecture. But it seems you don’t need to wait until the end to ask your questions. The minute a speaker says anything about a topic that you know anything about you have license to interrupt with a question that only serves to demonstrate that you have a pre-existing knowledge about some thing totally unrelated to the subject that’s just been discussed. You look like an idiot. If you were listening, you’d know the answer. If you waited, your question would likely be answered in the next few minutes anyway. But go ahead and waste our time just so you can hear your own voice out loud. Again. And don’t get me started on those who ask questions that have already been answered. You should be failed for that, as either you clearly weren’t listening, or you clearly didn’t learn it when they told you the first time.

My solution to the problem of excessive question askers? At the start of the week you are given, say, 5 tickets. These are your question asking tickets. When you ask a question, you hand your ticket in. You run out of tickets? No more questions for you.

Time management. So you’re one of those people who insist on wasting our time by asking stupid questions. It is your fault the guest speaker hasn’t been able to complete their entire lesson. It is your fault that our timetable for the day is out of whack because you have deemed yourself more important than anyone else. And how do I know you have deemed yourself more important? Because even though it is you that has caused us to go overtime it is now you who gets out of your chair before the speaker’s finished and head for the exits – because your time is so much more important than the rest of us.

The talkers. These women are different to those above. They are generally nice enough, and they are as frustrated with the idiots above as the rest of us. But instead of sitting there patiently biting their lip and biding their time, these women insist on starting little side conversations with the person next to them. Now, they’re quietly talking – but when you have half a dozen little side conversations going on suddenly the idle chat is louder than the speaker I’ve paid good money to hear. Just shut the fark up. All of you.

The obligatory gay guy. Every class has one. And they are almost always cast from the same mould. Whinging, self-centred, time wasters. Hey, Mr Gay – I DON’T CARE! Fortunately we only had one of these, because when you get two together in a room – LOOK OUT. The whinging gheyness overwhelms all around them.

Okay, I’ve had a bit of a go at those that deserved it most. I actually think they got off lightly. The week certainly wasn’t bad – it was incredibly informative and will prove helpful, I’m sure. But by the time Friday was half done I was allowing myself the fantasy of murdering a certain half dozen or so students.

Alas, until next time.



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