Monday, 28 March 2005

A close shave

A quiet week again this week. Well, quiet at home whilst work has been busier than ever. The new academic year starts in April so this time of year is always grab-a-new-student time, which essentially means we open on one Sunday a month to cunningly entice prospective students into the schools before telling them they cant have lessons on a Sunday as we don’t usually open. This meant that Sunday last week I was in one of the offices, making myself visible to keep up the morale of the troops (as in, it’s a shitter that I have to give up my day off, but at least the managers do as well), not sure if it worked, but there you go. Not only that but Monday last week was a national holiday – vernal equinox, don’t you know – and I had to work again! Schools were all open but for those in the office it was meant to be a holiday except for a token presence. Guess who got to be the token?

This led to a very real and very alarming crisis. As mentioned the schools were all open and so I was in the office in case there were any sick teachers out there who needed cover arranged for them. Unluckily there were more sickies (and some were definitely sickies) than there were possibilities on the sick teacher standby list, especially after one teacher who knew she was on standby was resolutely uncontactable. The crisis that this created was that I had to go out to teach, something that has not happened for a long time…

I thought it was going to be for the whole day as no one seemed able to fill in, which would have made it a very long day indeed, however at the last minute the district manager (whose day off it was) called the office. It was this manager’s teacher that was uncontactable so he manfully stepped into the breach and did the day (even though I told him not to as it was his day off, but he wasn’t having any of it). So in the end I only had to teach one lesson, 40 minutes with one two-and-a-half year old kid (the other two in the lesson didn’t show, obviously off enjoying themselves somewhere else – pagan rituals to welcome the sun, perhaps?). Actually, the lesson was only about 30 minutes as the first 10 were spent trying to coax the kid away from his father, but once we got going it was kind of fun and good practice for my forthcoming parenthood (except in this cse I could give the kid back after 40 minutes, something I guess I won’t be able to do with my own). Still, it was most strange being back in a classroom and teaching as it is something I haven’t had to do for a good long while now, but the old magic seemed to be there and kid enjoyed himself, and so did I really, so all were happy in the end.

Anyway, as I worked on Sunday and bank holiday Monday last week, I took today off as a day in lieu, and wouldn’t you know it, it has chucked it down with rain all fecking day.

But this has meant that a) I got some study done and b) played more GT4. The study is going well-ish for this assignment. This one is all about the curriculum and monitoring of teaching and learning, which is quite possibly as boring as it sounds, but it should be done by the end of April, from where I shall take a six month break for the birth of the baby.

Oh how I am looking forward to weekends without having to think about studying.

That will be 2 years done and one more to go, which will be essentially a year to do the dissertation (including six months of a research methods module which, I am sure, require me to study statistics, something I do not what to do as it is all bollocks). Quite how I am going to gird my loins to restart studying in October, I am not sure. One method I have put in place is paying the final year fees now, rather than when I resume, as hopefully this will spur my return (as, if I don’t finish the course, I will have to repay all the contributions the company have made to the fees, something again I do not want to do as we won’t have the money).

More important than all of this, though, is getting through GT4. I’m now up to 67% completed and have cracked the professional hall. Now all is left are the rest of the endurance races (three done so far) and the extreme hall, which doesn’t look too extreme as I’ve already done one of the series and it was a piece of piss. Still, not looking forward the three 24 hour races as I had a quick go and there doesn’t seem to be anyway to save during the race, even the pit stops are only for tyres and fuel, so unless there is some kind of time delay so that after a set number of hours it gives you the option, I think it might be a 24 hours all in one go. And that’s just silly. And night driving at the Nurburgring, that’s just silly as well.

Just one amusing story in the paper this week. Apparently a well-known economist was found guilty and fined on Wednesday for using a small mirror to try to look the skirt of a high school student at a railway station in Tokyo last year. But what made me smile – not the case, I hasten to add – in the report was that according to the Yomiuri, prosecutors had been demanding a “4-month prison sentence and forfeiture of the mirror”. I mean, forfeiture of the mirror, what’s that all about? Are mirror vendors all over Japan going to be notified about this bloke? His picture circulated and name whispered in certain circles? Just seems a somewhat strange thing for a state prosecutor to ask for, if you ask me.

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