Not so long ago, April 2008 I started a blog, Grumpy Old Ken. (My son in law set it up, I'm not capable.) In fact I was uncertain as to exactly what a blog was. I was soon put right by a 'superior being', so much so that I almost packed it up there and then. But several more sympathetic bloggers gave me help and encouragement. Visit other peoples blogs, they said and leave comments, favourable of course and keep your own blogs reasonably short. And I noticed some people blogged daily, an awesome task; plus almost all blogs seemed more interesting than mine. But I persevered and gradually made friends with fellow bloggers, formed a pattern of 'posting', around every five or six days (See I also learnt the language!) and thoroughly enjoyed my new hobby. I got a 'county thing' (Site Meter) and I was secretly pleased that evidently around twenty five people daily read my efforts at dispensing 'wit and wisdom'. Until I was informed that half of the visits were merely me 'clocking on' so to speak on my own blog!
People who know me soon realise I am in fact hopelessly nontechnical. I have mastered the light switch, just, but not a washing machine's controls, mobile phones, television remote controls and bank card dispensers. (I am no longer allowed a bank card by my wife as I was frequently retrieving it from the counter after feeding in the wrong card details for the umpteenth time.) And who else would try to dry his hands in a hotel toilet by bunging their hands up the dispensing 'hole' of a contraceptive machine. (See post dated 27th April 2008.) All of which suggests I have no real idea as to how the world operates. Which makes my week to me all the more astounding.
I went to my blog late morning as usual. (Few geriatrics are early risers!) I love to check the people who do me the honour of 'following' my blog. After over two years it numbered just over 120 people, all valued. (Including on the list is Grumpy Old Ken. I've no idea why, I told you I don't really know what I'm doing!) Only overnight the number had jumped to over 170. Plus seemingly over 100 people were visiting hourly and over 3000 people visited in twenty four hours. Today the number is less, but still around the 2000 mark (plus 300 plus followers). I experienced many emotions, baffling incredulity being the most obvious, then all was revealed. Evidently I have been listed as a 'Blog of Note', (how?) by a Google 'committee or panel'. My Andy Warhol fifteen minutes of fame. Now I'm many things, but I'm not completely stupid. One, I know there are many blogs out there that are better, more deserving of attention than my limited efforts and two, very shortly things will be back to normal, though any knock on effect of increased interest will be welcome. But isn't it amazing, at least it is to me, the sheer power of a mention by a 'panel' on that all powerful instrument, the internet. Thank you, (Google?), the world, my world and my posts will never be the same again.
The following post is the one I intended had my week not been hijacked by such exciting times!
As I enter the New Year, retired, content, watching the world go by, I cannot help but contemplate with awe my diary as a secondary school teacher.
January 8th 1985.
'The new style pupil reports mean we as a group, no longer sit night after night in the various staffrooms and marking areas feverishly conjuring up marks and suitable comments. No longer will the enquiry be heard 'Are there two t's in prat?' Neither will the spelling of bugger be solicited, serious or otherwise. Jokes about Burnham Tests will no doubt disappear.
'They all do a Burnham Test.'
'Whats a Burnham Test?'
'All the kids do a test. Afterwards I don't mark 'em, I burn 'em!'
Ingenious comments will no doubt continue but fail to gain a wider audience.
'Henry is an apathetic perapetetic.' (Meaning Henry wanders round the classroom, aimlessly.)
I once wrote that a girl was, amongst other things, apathetic. I received a letter, somewhat abusive, in reply, stating that I had no right to suggest there was mental illness in the family.
The literacy of many of our pupil's parents leaves much to be desired. The banter will be sadly missed now that reports are no longer a collective task. But the spirit of the comments will no doubt remain the same. 'Satisfactory' will continue to tell the initiated (but not the parent) that little Willy has never done a homework this school term. Grade C indicates that Artful Archie has responded to bribes for the three weeks before reports are to be issued. Grade D is only used in emergencies if a pupil's attendance is so poor that he or she cannot be remembered. Grade A obviously signifies teacher's pet. Initial enthusiam in and for teaching so often gives way to cynicism and some dishonesty. For this we, the teachers in the profession must take our share of the blame. But in fairness it must be stated that the pressures in a large urban comprehensive are high. Hence the cynical humour to hide the anxieties, the disappointments, the disillusion.
Parent to teacher at Parents Evening.
'I must admit I'm far from happy. I'm told you are rude, umptious and abusive.'
Teacher.'Who told you that, you silly cow!'
Another parent, same meeting.
'Tell me, do you work to a syllabus?'
Teacher of ten years experience.
''I'll go and find out for you.'' '
(The dog, Buster by the way, helped to keep me sane!)