That's an L of a way to prove it

DID anybody else notice that the Morris Simpson School Diary was not written by John Mitchell last time round? In fact, it was penned by John L Mitchell.

Of course, there is a fair chance that both Mitchells are the same person and may be trying to distinguish themselves from John Mitchell, heidie, who appears in the paper from time to time. That's the obvious explanation, so we will reject it at once.

I prefer to think that, rather in the style of Iain Banks who calls himself Iain M Banks when he writes science fiction, John has decided to shove in the L when his piece tends towards tales of Simpson's new house rather than teaching.

I wonder what the L stands for? Lawrence? Leslie? Leopold? I have a middle name and may start using it. I could be Gregor T Steele from now on, or even the racier G T Steele. The T is for Thomas, after a grandfather I never really knew but suspect I might have got along with rather well, given the chance.

Thomas was, of course, the doubting disciple and that is another reason for liking the name. Doubt is healthy and I have never seen Thomas's actions, when he asked for physical proof of an extraordinarily unusual event, as anything less than admirable. He should be the patron saint of scientists. Perhaps he already is.

In school, I have doubts. I am not a pessimist and I hope I am not a cynic. "Cynic" is worn like a badge of honour by some people. "I'm a bit of a cynic, me."

Do they know what the word actually means? Do I know what it actually means? My dictionary suggests that in a way cynicism is the opposite of honest doubt. It requires a knee-jerk belief in a lack of human goodness, blind faith that everyone is driven by self-interest.

I have my doubts about some of the claims made by the providers of certain thinking skills packages. They might be true, but I have not yet had proof.

What it would be wrong to do, and you can reach for the silver bullets if I ever start talking this way, would be to fling accusations around concerning the motives of the promoters of such courses.

Our school recently modified its code of conduct, removing any distinction between pupils and teaching and non-teaching staff in the bit about treating one another with respect. When this alteration was put out for consultation, a fair number of pupils were cynical. Now who taught them that?

Gregor Steele has decided that he will use the name Gregor T Steele for articles that do not feature gratuitous use of the word "erse".

Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you