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In your own time - Erupting tempers, politics, iPads and confessions

Talk of volcanic ash, the election and getting a bite of Apple's latest gadget dominate forum chat

Talk of volcanic ash, the election and getting a bite of Apple's latest gadget dominate forum chat

The flight shut-down caused by the volcano in Iceland was the most talked-about topic on our online staffroom this week, with teachers reporting their difficulty getting back to the UK.

"If you're in Dubai, are you supposed to come home by camel?" asked TheoGriff. "If you're in Barbados, is it breast-stroke or crawl that you're supposed to use?"

But you will find more about the volcano-related discussions on our news pages, so we'll move swiftly on to the other main chatting point in the staffroom - the election.

he forthcoming general election has filled hours of television, acres of newsprint and led to advertising hoardings being covered with posters of politicians' airbrushed faces.

So it is reassuring to hear from the TES online staffroom that some pupils remain distinctly fuzzy on the details.

dolly3900 described a discussion on the election with a Year 7 class during registration at a secondary school in west Wales.

"Who can tell me the main political parties?" said the teacher.

Pupil 1: "Labour". Pupil 2: "Plaid Cymru". Pupil 3: "Liberal Democrats". Pupil 4: "The Conservatories".

However, tafkam's concerns were aesthetic. "I'm normally a complete townie, but I've been driving through rural areas this week and noticed how many of those Tory placards have popped up," he said. "I wouldn't mind, but can you imagine if the local council wanted to put up some mini wind turbines the same size? The Tories would be up in arms about the blot on the landscape."

hile antipathy was a common reaction to the election, some teachers are far more eagerly awaiting the UK launch of Apple's latest gizmo, the iPad.

Fatbob is one of them. The iPad doubters were, he suggested, like those in the Seventies who did not think people needed computers, those in the Eighties who did not see a future for mobile phones and those in the Nineties who felt access to networks of computers was unnecessary.

Predictably, this was met with a cynical response. Makka pakka joked that he would "nip down to the Apple store in my Sinclair C5".

The best discussion of the week, however, arose from a simple question: would you have enjoyed teaching yourself?

"No," replied Foramen. "I was an inattentive, talkative, mischievous little sod who absorbed information like a sponge so that whenever I was asked to answer a question out of the blue because the teacher had caught me talking, I'd know the answer. Don't you just HATE it when that happens?"

KPricey won the modesty prize: "If I'm honest I prefer teaching the intelligent students to the thick ones. So, yes, I would love to teach a whole class of mes."

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