Web profiles are muffin to get excited about

21st March 2008 at 00:00

I have at last succeeded in getting my profile removed from the Facebook site, a profile whose content was libellous and offensive in the extreme, suggesting, as it did, that I had a weekend penchant for extra-strong lager, pornographic movies and several deviant sexual practices.

I still suspect that a member of my Higher class was displaying a greater potential for imaginative writing than has been the norm in classroom submissions. Sadly, I've no way of proving it.


Mr Victor, our PT curriculum (science), is normally a fairly placid man. But he was moved to previously unimaginable demonstrations of anger this afternoon as he confirmed that our acting headtecher has put an immediate embargo on spending plans for the rest of the year.

"Well, the end of the financial year is only a few weeks away," I reminded him. "There'll be new requisitions after April, remember."

"Not according to Kevin Muir," he countered. "He says that the recent budget is tighter than the proverbial duck's bottom, and the main consequence of the Cosla deal that secured it is that we've had our lot for 2008 already!

"Honestly, it's unbelievable!" he elaborated. "The reason I was having the conversation in the first place was because I'd just costed out our planned budget and compared it with the running costs of my chemistry department 15 years ago.

"And d'you know what? After adding it all up, comparing costs with physics and biology, and adjusting for inflation, I reckon we're being asked to provide a scientific education for 21st century kids at less than half the cost of what we did it for in the 1990s!

"And then he tells me we're not even getting what I thought we were getting!"

It certainly seems serious, and - although I wondered if he had made a miscalculation in his inflationary adjustments - I couldn't help reflecting that it was just as well Simon Young got our English quick-spend requisition authorised in January.


The age-old issue of bullying raised its head again today, but in the modern context of text-messaging. Thus it was that I had to halt my poetry lesson with the fourth year in order to console the quietly sobbing form of Jodie McLatchie as she gazed at the screen on her mobile phone.

Long-standing readers will recall Jodie's unfortunate and somewhat cruel nickname of "Muffin" in her second year at Greenfield Academy, due to her insistence on displaying a bare midriff encased in trousers that were at least one size too small. The resultant overhang, alas, used to resemble nothing so much as the evident overspill in cakes of the same name, hence her nomenclature.

Today, she was in receipt of a text from her classmate Rory Drummond, in which, it appears, he had told Jodie that she was "special".

"Well, what on Earth's wrong with that, Jodie?" I queried. "If he says you're special, it must be a term of endearment, surely?" I lowered my voice confidentially. "Maybe he's trying to arrange a date?"

She burst into tears again. "Naw he's naw!" she sniffed loudly. "It means he's sayin' ah'm special needs. An' ah'm no, surr, sure ah ummny?"

One look at the grinning Drummond confirmed her interpretation, so I asked to see him at the end of the lesson and confiscated his mobile phone until the end of the day.

Alas, I was so taken aback at this new disclosure of youth-speak, that I forgot to upbraid Jodie for looking at her phone during my lesson. But I didn't want another outburst, so decided to let it pass.

It often shows a fine command of language to say nothing.


My Higher class has drawn my attention to yet another unflattering electronic profile that has been maliciously invented on my behalf. This time it's on Bebo, which at least is a website I've heard of, after an unfortunate incident last year when I severely reprimanded a pupil for offering to "show me his bebo".

A little older and wiser, I was nevertheless horrified to witness the extent of the prankster's - or perhaps pranksters' - inventive qualities when I checked out the details after the class had left the room. The issue is serious, as my favoured recreational pursuits are reported to involve several illegal acts and a sordid interest in sadism, necrophilia and bestiality.

Unbelievably, I have had several "pokes", as I believe they call it when one gets a reply to one's posts on the site, from a number of unsavoury characters; not to mention the alleged humorists who tendered the low observation that they thought I was just flogging a dead horse.

I am thinking of reporting the matter to the police.


The new government's spending restrictions finally caught up with the English department. Simon Young's January requisition has been "pulled back in" and the order cancelled. He is particularly furious about four sets of books that were due to arrive next week, on whose grade-raising qualities he was pinning many hopes.

"And I told Kevin Muir that if our Higher pass rates don't improve next summer, he could lay the blame squarely on these books being cancelled!" he told the departmental meeting this afternoon.

"And d'you know what he told me? He said we'd be lucky if we had enough money to enter them for their bloody exams, never mind buying books to help them pass!

"Said he'd seen it bad before now, but even in the worst of 18 years of Tory misrule, it had never been as bad as this.

"So it looks like the cupboard is going to be bare for some time to come. And you'd better get along to the book base and resurrect Lord of the Flies and Look Back in Anger, because we won't be expanding the educational provision here at Greenfield Academy, no matter what the election manifesto promised."

It seems a far cry from the heady days of last spring, when the Executive was so keen to shower us with cash in the pre-election period.

I wonder if there could be a connection?

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