Tuesday, June 07, 2011

My singing

I am, despite wot anyone says to the contrary, a fairly shit singer. I blame myself entirely. When I was a child I, apparently, had a nice singing voice. There was nothing I liked better than singing with my wee tidda. I was by no means the star of the church choir and never sang lead, but I contributed enough.

My paternal grandmother loved to hear us sing. Actually, I think she just loved to show off. She would take me and Tidda around like we were the star attraction in a carnie freak show.
    "Look at how long their hair is!"
    "Ain't they just so pretty!"
    Grandma: "They can sang too."
    "Aw, g'on babies. Sang!"
As much as I adored my grandma, I hated singing for all those people. But it wasn't like you could beg off, or politely decline. Because this was Miss Bea, and you did what you were told with a smile. So I rebelled in a most passive-aggressive way possible: singing off-key. And I did it so much and for so long that I couldn't figure out how to get back on.

And I still have no idea how to sing on key or in tune. This is why I karaoke repertoire consists of nearly exclusively of rap songs. Specialities: Ice ice baby and Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock's It takes two. I have also been successful with Here comes the hotstepper and I wanna sex you up. Exceptions to the rule: Losing my religion and Wonderwall, particularly played by another person on guitar.

Despite my singing shititude, there is one audience that I will un-self-consciously sing for: my pupils. When I had a classroom in the States, I remember the first song I sang in front of my kids was Lift every voice and sing. Whatta song. And whatta bad song for a clueness numptie like me to sing - the lowest of low notes, quickly followed by soaring high notes. Normally, I wouldn't have done it, but I had my reasons: it was Black History Month (Lift every voice and sing is informally known as the Negro national anthem); the kids were to sing it at a whole school assembly and needed to learn the words. But mainly, I did it cos the song meant (and still means) a lot to me. I rather pathetically always bust into tears when I hear or sing it, blubbering kinda like my pal Macca does when anything Scottish happens anywhere, ever. (So, yes, when I listened to the YouTube link of Lift every voice and sing, I did start to greet.) Yet after I finished, the kids whispered eversoreverently, "You're the best singer ever." The best moment of my life. Ever. And I haven't stopped singing to and with my kids yet.

Yet my little bubble was burst yesterday when I invited another teacher in for our daily P1 singalong. She actually winced when I began to sing. "Why don't you join in with the singing?" I said to her, wearing the kinda smile on you have when you're around children and you really don't feel like smiling. "I would... if I could just figure out the tune," she replied with equal faux joviality.

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Saturday, June 04, 2011

My last uni day

Well, that's it: my final teaching day at Stirling is over and I'm chugging my way back to the EDN. I'm gonna miss the injection of energy seeing my tutor gave me. I have a mad girl crush on my tutor, who incidentally looks like Jane Fonda in the film Monster-in-law. Nothing like the character, obvs.

I will miss the lovely Pathfoot Building, built into the side of a hill and with enough stairs to keep lawyers for people with disabilities employed for decades. So utterly 1960s. I remember going into on of my tutor's offices and seeing two Harry Bertoia diamond chairs in the corners, clearly unloved and unappreciated. I wanted to liberate the chair.

I will miss the canteen where we had our coffee breaks most days, with its double aspect of Wallace monument and Stirling Castle. The. Best. View. Ever. I had plenty of time to take it in as I spent a goodly amount of time estranged from my peers in my cohort. Of course you know my oddities and, because you're reading, you love them. Tolerate them? Hate them with a seething and silent resentment? Yeh, well at least you're subtle. In every way, their judgemental snobbishness, lack of tolerance, and silly ability not to be able to think at all critically and un-robotically brought out my differences even more. Meow! Yes, I won't miss that lot.

Anyway, see ya Stirling. Thanks for everything. Next I see you, all being well, it will November and I'll be wearing my Docs. Think I'll go for the heeled ones this time!

Friday, June 03, 2011

Desert Island Discs: the decision

Voting closed suckers, but amazingly I got mine in on Wednesday. Here's what I finally choose:
  • Nightswimming by REM
  • Smells like teen spirit by Nirvana
  • SpottiOttiDopalicious by OutKast
  • Don't look back in anger by Oasis
  • How do you want it? by 2Pac
  • Set adrift on memory bliss by PM Dawn
  • Shadowboxer by Fiona Apple
  • Tramp by Otis Redding and Carla Thomas

The last one came from no where, huh? I didn't have it on my shortlist, but it's always been a favourite of mine. Just realised that three of these acts are from Georgia (REM, Otis Redding, and OutKast). Hmmmm...

Shit, now that I think about it, I really wish I included 10000 Maniacs' These are the days!

Och, well.


Thursday, June 02, 2011

Sports Day... Field Day... Sporting Field Day

It's Sports Day at my little school so we have an afternoon free of education. Trust me, the teachers are crowing about it just as much as the pupils. I've been teaching in Scottish schools for nearly six and a half years and I can still mistakenly refer to Sports Day by the name I called it in the US: Field Day. Sometimes, I get so muddled, I can't remember which is the right one to say.

Today I am in charge of the Egg and spoon race for the P4 and P5 pupils (third and fourth graders), and I have been for the past four years. We get the same game every year because the DHT (depute head teacher; the vice/assistant principal, USers) says some people like the routine of the same game every year. No - total lies. It's for ease of his life. Every year when Sports Day nears, he goes to his computer, clicks open the Sports Day Word document he created when time began, changes the date at the top, then sends it out to teachers - voila! Then he goes back to strumming his guitar... or woteva people do when they are months from retirement.

All these years of being in charge of the ol' E & S does have an advantage. I have my explanation of the dos and don'ts of game down to a efficient art, somehow being able to express myself thoroughly, succinctly, and amusingly. V unlike my real life. Shit, it only took me four years to figure it how to do this, so I guess there's hope for me in real life. But if only I can have the same convo for the next four years. But hey - that's what marriage is about innit? Oooo, SNAP!

Anyway, the disadvantage of years with the E & S is that I have clearly thought waaaaaay too much about it. Don't know if you know this about me, but gather round for a secret about lil ol' me. Ready?

*I have a overpowering need for justice*

Phew - it's out. I know you're wondering: how exactly does that relate to the E & S? Well, every year, the DHT puts out the equipment for us for each game, so when I reach my location, spoons from the staffroom and golf balls are already there for me. Grand. However, and here is the shocking bit: the spoons are not uniform! So some of them are better at cradling the egg than others. The clever cookies know to run to the spoons, peruse them quickly and grab the best one, thereby gaining the advantage. The not-so-bright bulbs (i.e., nearly every kid I work with in the school) gets the shitty spoons and lose.

Well not this year my friend! Ho no! For I have brought my own spoons from home. Seven spoons, exactly the same so no one has an advantage. I can't guarantee my little numpties will win now, but at least my little move has made an even playing field... day.

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