Me, the Viking.

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The sixties was a time of discovery in British education. I didn’t know that because I was one of the lucky ones to be schooled through it. We had teachers who were new to the profession, teachers who had grown up through the war and grown some more in the fifties and then into sixties. They had seen the world change. And it had been for the better.

History had always been my favourite subject, well that and art. Art had been about creating, represtenting and shaping what I saw whilst history had been…well, it had been about the same stuff.

I was always aware of how important history was to our village. We had an ancient church there and a line of descent that demanded an annual recreation by The Sealed Knot Society. This was the civil war remembrance group who dressed up and fought out the Battle of Thornhill, a decisive play between the roundheads and the cavaliers.

I shouldn’t have been, but I was always a secret cavalier. They seemed romantic in comparision to the workaday Cromwelliams. Cromwell was about not singing, not having your hair cut on Sunday,  wearing black clothing. Perhaps that was why I never took to Goths during the eighties.  Anyway, I loved history.

One memory stood out amongst many other significant ones. It was the time that our teacher measured the circumferences of our heads to determine whether we were of Anglo-Saxon or of Viking descent. Post war meant that Anglo-Saxon was, ironically, the most patriotic as it was seen to be more aligned to the natural English bloodline; we still had maps with pink on them to show the extent of the empire.

As it turned out, in a massively Anglo-Saxon head measuring school, that was Church of England in denomination, I was a big headed Viking. Raider, reaper and raper, I ought to have hung my big scandinavian head in shame, but I didn’t.

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Evans, Evanson I was and that I have remained.

Just Another Fryday

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Out of the frying pan and into the weekend. 

I have always thought that the working week has been organised by somebody who doesn’t read the label; Fragile, This way up!

So, after a reasonably long working week, we get two days off to celebrate, relax, commiserate and fret.

Weekends are the product of the need to work and the need to show thanks and obedience to God and our other masters. We give thanks for not having been dragged off for lunch by a Dire Wolf or not having succumbed to a deadly dose of Black Death. Nose, arms, ears, feet, toes and our pleasure bits are still in order so let’s make hay. The problem is that the hay is just as much an illusion as the expanse of weekend that lies before us. Two bloody days! Forty-eight hours! Such a tiny amount of time to rebalance our bodies and minds.

But the fact that I am not in charge of an unruly tribe of early teens (unruly in the terms of a viking raiding party) means that I am not as incapacitated as I would have been. Kids now call me Mike. They thank me for lessons. They say nice words to my face. I may have died and entered some surreal world of educational derangement but it’s alright by me and long may it last.

Little bastard-devil on my shoulder is now up on tip-toes and whispering in my ear.

Like dandruff, I have metaphorically dusted him off.

On Hard Nipples And Followers

Please be upstanding…

Read After Burnout

Photo on 22-06-2018 at 07.02

It struck me yesterday (on my way to the forum), not a hard nipple but an idea. Or should I say the beginnings of an idea which was not really an idea but a thought. The thought was, would it be the right thing to do to have somebody with hardened nipples follow me on WordPress?

This question, taken over a number of decades during which I have trodden this earth, would have probably had two, possibly more answers. A younger me, let’s say three decades ago, would probably have embraced the idea. Indeed, I have little to stop me wondering if that younger self would have used the incident of the hard nipples to extend towards the readers (and listeners) a thesis upon which the very act of having hard nipples follow one is an act of liberation and defiance. I was young, ideological, and was Lawrence (esque).

Today’s…

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The Piper 6

He would have them…

Read After Burnout

images-667Liam could not remember when he had last slept.

Maybe it had been years as he could not recall ever having slipped from the paltry reality of the world of waking. What he did know was that when others chose to close their eyes, he wandered.

Everything had taken place as he had been told. He had a place of his own that had been provided with a computer that had been thoughtfully linked to the Internet. They had provided it as a means of allowing him to catch up with his schoolwork. His situation was specialand he needed to be reintegrated into both school and society. He was a boy with a certain amount of intelligence who had been forced down the paths of illiteracy and innumeracy like so many others. His reading age was estimated to be between the ages of eight and ten but the computer…

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Cats Have It

The last week, thinking about tragedy, I have had chance to sit back and look at myself. The Wheel of Fortune has turned almost fully and I am back where it all began; teaching in further education.

As my coffee cools enough for me to drink it, the cat rubs herself against my shins. She is not giving affection, only reminding me that she needs some food. Cats have it. They do not strive. They do not overthink. They do not reflect on past failures. In their mind, there’s always another meal, another mouse.

She is wandering the kitchen now, waiting for me to serve breakfast.

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Cats have it, Willy Loman.

Death of a Salesman

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It seems strange that I should get so far into (and out of) a teaching career without having read this play.

To be fair, although I started off teaching A Level, a lot of what I have done since is the bread and butter stuff of secondary qualifications. The tall and the short of it was that I landed a role in a college of further education to teach A Level Literature. If had hadn’t been so worn down by recent events, I would have cheered. Life has had its way with me and turned the eternal optimist into a stoic.

To cap it all, the position was very last minute which meant that I had to either cut ties or burn bridges with the agencies of my enslavement. I chose to burn bridges.

I was taken with Willy Loman’s portrayal of the tragic hero; an ordinary man, with dreams that are too extraordinary, brought low by the weight of them.

I read about his downfall. I read about Miller’s thoughts on classical tragedy. I thought about my own role in this. More than that, I considered the fact that a tragic hero is one, regardless of status or rank, who has a dream and pursues it in spite of the impediments that stand in his way and unconcerned about the unsustainable nature of that dream.

The true tragic hero goes to his grave convinced of his right to have that dream.

I thought about me writing. I thought about my complete and utter disregard for authority (the type that  wishes to quell any thoughts of freedom). I thought about my career that had careered off course.

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And I was drawn to the possibility of some unseen hand writing my lines.   

 

Read After Burnout Review from Goodreads.

Still available.

Read After Burnout

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I was extremely pleased to read this:

An Educator Burns Out, Loses The Pieces Of His Sanity, Finds Those Pieces And Uses Them To Recontruct A New Self.

With great humor and raw honesty the author takes us through his disillusionment, his depression and aniexty. His journey through medications and discovery of the “madness” finding in so many people. While trying to sort out his mental/emotional crisis, he is also dealing with a daughter that has issues of her own: a severe eating disorder.
The journey of this one man, this one teacher, to rebuild himself and his family is often raw. It’s truthful and real. You’re never sure how things will turn out, just like life.
A great read! I recommend this book to anyone stuggling with society’s expectations, career burnout or mental health issues.

Thanks go to the reviewer.

Thanks, Angie.

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