Exams 


Exams aren’t the be all and end all. What ever that means. It’s a means to an end. But that should never define what you are.

As a teacher I experienced having to set examiners for form classes. These were to determine what the likely results were of a student GCSEs. The exams where undertaken five years before they were due to sit their final exams. It was utterly ridiculous. Bracketing students into certain categories of a likely achievement was utterly wrong.

I was told when I was 14 that I wasn’t bright enough to sit ‘O’ level maths. It made me angry and more determined to do so. How dare someone tell you that you won’t be able to achieve.

I have always said that you are the person to choose your education. You are in charge of it. Not some idiot mathematics teacher.

So if you didn’t get what you wanted in your exams don’t worry the path might have changed but you can still achieve.

I didn’t do well in my GCSEs but I did pass my maths! I went to college and studied for a diploma in Theology. Then I did my BA Hons degree in Religion and Sociology. Finally ending up at Westminster College Oxford completing a PGCE in secondary RE.

I am not saying it’s easy. It’s hard work. But it’s up to you.

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Work

When I qualified as a teacher in the 90s I knew that it was going to be tough. The hours and days that you spend just to make it through each week was phenomenal. To look towards a promotion or to make your career progress was going to take a big sacrifice.

In some parts of society there is a thought that success should be handed to some on a silver plate. That if you make it or become “famous” then you have made it. The followers of this blog will know my thoughts on those who clamber for fame.

I have been part of organisations and seen how people have worked for what they believe in. I have seen those who have put their heart and soul into their organisations and they have succeeded.

But and this is a big but, there are some who thinking that talking to others or networking isn’t part of making your business grow. I have people who are in the media and on TV who follow me on Twitter and from time to time there has been interaction. They have taken their time out to talk to you. Or they visibly have spoken to others. This is great for your ‘brand’.

In other words they are not sitting their with their finger up there ass on a pedestal. They are willing to give their time and effort to those people who put them there in the first place. They don’t neglect their roots and where they started.

Others who are starting off somehow neglect this. You want your organisation to grow get off your backside and work for it. Take every opportunity there is to promote what you believe in. This doesn’t mean becoming obnoxious like some sort of David Brent character. It means you are willing to open yourself to conversation and discussion.

It’s called work:

My story

I became a Christian when I was 13. It through a friend at school who had invited me to a lunchtime club run by the biology teacher. She had set up a Christian club and I became part of it.

I wasn’t made to go church as a child but my parents weren’t that bothered when I said I wanted my own bible and started to go to church each week. It seemed a normal thing to do and felt I was part of something good.

I felt that I mattered and that was the key to understanding why I got so involved. I felt I could be myself. The joker who made people laugh. I was desperate to learn new things. I got involved in a local church youth club and soon after became friends with some people who I would consider my best friends today.

Soon I became interested in drama and music. Desperate to learn the piano and guitar although my parents refused to get me lessons when I had asked.

Underlying all of this was my sexuality. I know from my teenage years who and what I was. I didn’t go through years and years of trying to discover if I was gay or not. I was gay at that was it.

So after a while came the clash of religion and my sexuality. I would often sit and hear preachers saying that being gay was wrong. I spent time repressing these sexual urges trying to numb them or ignore them thinking that they might fade away.

I spent some time studying for theological training and often heard within this college that homosexuality was caused by a particularly nasty demon and the only what to get rid of this was to go through an exorcism.

You can only imagine what this did to myself esteem as well as growing up in the 80s when the fear of AIDS lurked around and was always mentioned when someone came out. If you were gay you had AIDS.

I had been prayed for many times but my sexuality didn’t go away. I wasn’t interested in girls in that way at all. I tried to see what it was like to have a girlfriend but it didn’t work out.

After spending years in the closet it was only till the age of 23 did I decide to tell my friends about it. They said “they knew anyway” which didn’t really help the internal torment I had suffered for ten years. I just didn’t know how they would react. I was okay with who I was but would they be?

So the ruling last Friday for people of any gender to be able to marry in the USA was a great step towards equality. It doesn’t necessarily mean that tolerance and understand will follow as well. As often has been said there is still a lot of work to do.

I left Christianity behind in the 90s and it was one of the best things I ever did. I no longer had to repress thoughts and feel I was restricted to rules and regulations.

Birthday 

To be honest I have never liked birthdays. Ever since I can remember they were always a disappointment growing up. Things happened at parties which I wish hadn’t. It’s all left a rather bitter taste in my mouth.

Never been a fan of big parties in fact in all I have only had two parties where a lot of people have been invited. The rest of them I have preferred to spend time on my own. A few years ago I sat in my garden and polished off a rather nice bottle of champagne. It was total bliss.

 
So it probably won’t come to as surprise to tell you I spent mostly today sitting in a second hand book shop in Alnwick.

A pleasant place where I could gather my thoughts, browse the shelves and relax. I know what EVERYONE is thinking. Where are the strippers? This is boring! I won’t make any apologies but I have had my time with strippers and that’s called my 20s. I enjoyed that but it’s now settling down. I don’t see it as boring as see it as a chance for me to get out and do the things I want to do.

I have never had a group of friends badgering me to go out to nightclubs or places I cannot stand. If I don’t want to go somewhere I tell them. If I cannot be bothered to go out they won’t get offended they just accept it.

What’s the point in doing what others want you to do? Just be happy and do what you want to. I said this is what I am and I am happy with it.

Before I left I had a nice coffee and a piece of carrot cake. Really nice. If you want to know where the place was it was Barter Books in Alnwick, England. Near where the filmed Harry Potter you know … Okay you can shut up now.

Differences 

shawn-mendes

Like a lot of bands that start off Shawn is sixteen years old. He’s a nice lad with considerable talent. A lot of artists and musicians are out there looking for what break. They want to perform and make a living out of doing what they enjoy.

I used to play in a band and still occasionally play the two instruments I taught myself to play. Loved playing the guitar and it was great time.

So what’s the worry? The one thing I have noticed rather strangely that seems to be very current and I think has been fulled by the Internet and social media. All the people that were in the audience were teenage girls.

So I was asking myself is there an artist that is female and you only see teenage boys in the audience. I couldn’t think of anyone. If you know anyone let me know. So why is this?

Why is it that groups of females will collectively go and see teenage bands or individuals?  The One Direction phenomena has been testament to this. Girls bordering on the psychopathic just to get glimpse of one of them.

When Zayn left the band social media went into meltdown and videos of devasted girls mourning the loss of something ending in the same way as if someone had passed away.

We treat these girls with the fickleness that they show their idols when they eventually grow up and look at back their behaviour with embarrasment. To them now it is their world everything they know and want is before them. They can interact with their star. For a chance of a reply is to touch the hem of the garment. Somehow a miraculous connection has occurred and their life is radically changed.

I certainly think this has been magnified by social media such Twitter, Instagram and others. You can be kept informed of the persons whereabouts and what they doing within a second.

The differences between boys and girls in their teenage years couldn’t be more different. I am curious to why girls behave in this way. Please feel free to comment if you have and ideas