Pinky's Book Link

Showing posts with label Teachers and Teaching. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Teachers and Teaching. Show all posts

Monday, August 18, 2014

Lend Me Your Ears!

My face blanched to a beyond pale, Julian Assange shade of Equadorian Embassy Ivory this afternoon when two of my boy-ling students casually sauntered up to my desk. 

One of the jaunty lads, pointing at his small comrade, cried “Look Mrs. Poinker! There’s something wrong with Hector’s ear!”

I stared in horror at the sight before me. A myriad of questions flashed through my panicked consciousness. Are my union fees up to date? Do I have personal insurance? What has this boy done to his ear for the love of God? Will I be culpable for whatever has happened when the shit hits the fan? Are there many jobs around the traps for unregistered, disgraced teachers? Educational supplies sales rep perhaps? I’d have to travel ‘on the road’ three weeks out of four… That wouldn’t suit at all… I’d have to travel to rural western towns and stay in motels and eat horrible breakfasts in service stations…

My mind was suddenly snapped back to the present at the sound of the raucous laughter.

And so did Hector’s ear. Snapped back like an elastic band. The entire class cackled even louder.

“Look Mrs. Ponker! I can tuck my ear in!” Hector chortled as he shook his head like a wet puppy.

“Do it again! Now!” I demanded, squinting at him through my glasses in disbelief.

The gifted Hector affably performed his unique talent once more with not a small amount of superior pride.

He can do it with both ears… at the same freakin’ time. I thought in barely concealed awe.

I remember the boys in my primary school peeling their eyelids back then tapping the girls on the shoulder and leering through pared lids. This would incite we girlie sooks to run, repulsed and shrieking, directly to our teachers to tattle-tale in outraged, shrieking voices, “Bruce Helmbright is being disgusting again!”

But I have never, in my twenty-five year career of teaching rugrats, seen anyone insert the top part of their ear into their ear canal. I didn’t know it was physically feasible.

As a dedicated teacher of promising younglings, it’s my assigned duty to recognise and acknowledge unique ability. We, as custodians of the future generation, are mandated to pinpoint any particular flair we notice, encourage and nurture this forte and play to its strengths.

I’m wondering what I can write on his end of semester report…

Hector has a great ear for flexible ideas.

Hector is competently able to block out the distractions of the world with ease.

Hector has potential in the field of niche gymnastics.

Hector has a real ear for everything.

Who knows how far this boy will go BUT… What I’m really wondering is... how many of you tried to squish the top of your ear into your earhole while you were reading this?

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Pinky's Guide to How to Eat a Banana.


It was the last day of school yesterday and I sat in the staffroom ten minutes before the first bell, wishing the day was already over and pontificating about bananas.

We see a lot of bananas (and cans of tuna) in the staffroom because everyone pretends to be on a diet.

They’ll eat their can of tuna with crackers and their lonely, bruised bananas… then they raid the fridge for leftover cheesecake pretending those calories don’t count because they didn’t come from home.

“I cleaned up the half banana you left on the table yesterday, Pinky,” commented my colleague, Rach with a disapproving tone in her voice.

“It’s not my fault, I'm tired. Besides, I can’t eat a whole banana,” I declared. “They’re too big these days.”

Eyebrows were raised. Teachers become open to dirty connotations at the end of term after being sledged for ten weeks by maliciously clever, ten year old rapscallions. 

We’re worn down. 

Depleted of cunning comebacks. 

We descend into a low form of toiletty, Benny Hill type of humour.

“I hate bananas to tell the truth. They are a common sort of food, no class,” I added superciliously. 

“People look ridiculous when they’re eating bananas. It’s something about the chomping away on a mushy thing with the peeled skin dangling down,” I continued, dicing with death considering the stony stares emanating from the bulging eyeballs of my co-workers.

“Actually, you all look like a bunch of monkeys when you're eating them!” Pinky daringly broadcasted.

Pinky's colleagues stared at her in silence. She’d blatantly slighted them by comparing their eating habits to the insulting image of a bunch of hairy apes squatting inelegantly, scratching their heads and dribbling over a pointy banana.

Sooo… it was with no small amount of astonishment I happened upon this in the staff room at morning tea.

                                   Kyles the Music Teacher

See! People do sit up and take notice of Pinky… occasionally! About bloody time I say.

Happy school holidays everyone! 

What do you think about eating bananas in public?

Linking up with the girls at Laugh Link
Have a Laugh on Me

Melbourne Mum

Talking Frankly and

26 Years and Counting!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Are Teachers Lizard People?

I’m sure some kids think their teachers are a species of alien life form. Whenever I run into one of the little munchkins in the shopping centre they look as shocked and alarmed as if they’d just spotted Big Foot loping down the aisle with a packet of Rice Bubbles under his arm.

They hide behind their mother’s skirt and grimace nervously as I greet them, probably wondering if I’ve furtively escaped from the school where I surely must abide in the lonely evenings; bundled up in a cobwebbed pod in the corner of the dark classroom like a horrible, giant spider.

Or maybe it’s just me they react to in such a way.

I accidentally scratched a cut on my arm one day and made it bleed.

“Look! You’re bleeding blood, Mrs Poinker!” they screamed in revulsion, eyes popping out of their small sockets. Anyone would have thought I was oozing green plasma the way they carried on. 

What? Do they think teachers are bloodless, inhuman, anaemic creatures akin to White Walkers?

Or perhaps it’s just me.

Today, I was sitting checking my emails as the class was finishing off a task and I leaned back in my chair and sighed deeply. 

I felt it immediately. 

The slow, annoying fly which had been buzzing around my head had spontaneously resolved to investigate the back of my throat.

At precisely the very next second, little Pontius stepped up to my desk, pleasantly proffering his book work for me to check.

I gave one sharp cough and the fly flew out in triumph, relieved at having escaped an imminent death via my esophagus.

Pontius stared, the whites of his eyes showing and his bottom lip noticeably trembling. 

"Was that a fly, Mrs Poinker?" he whispered in dread.

"Yes, Pontius," I murmured grumpily.“It was just a fly. Now give me your book.”

As I said, it’s probably just me.

What do you think?

Linking up with Grace at With Some Grace

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Mrs Poinker and the Lolly Jar

Containing twenty-six exuberant, animated ten year olds in a smallish classroom every day whilst coercing them into the partaking of dreary desk work for five hours isn’t as easy as it sounds.

The kids don’t all magically decide that Mrs Poinker isn’t like Mum and they can’t whinge, squabble, answer back, throw tanties, draw on furniture and shove things up their noses anymore. We teachers are required to set boundaries, establish expectations and provide a safe environment while at the same time remain calm, caring and … calm.

Over the last nine years I’ve employed a failsafe technique in order to ensure a tranquil, pacifying milieu in my classroom.

Captain Silence and the Lolly Jar.

Each day I appoint a select member of the class to be ‘Captain Silence’. The Captain is nominated at several times during the day to coast around the classroom giving the ‘thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down’ sign dependent on what the recipients are up to at the time. 

Turning around in their seat firing spitballs through an eviscerated ballpoint: thumbs down. 

Working diligently with no annoying humming or poking their neighbour with a thumb tack: thumbs up.

The authoritarian Captain then writes a specially elected student’s name on the board under a smiley face crudely drawn by their artistically inept teacher.

At the end of the day, every lucky candidate with their name lit up in distinguished neon on the whiteboard is rewarded with the holy grail of all peoples under five foot tall… a lolly from the lolly jar. 

Captain Silence also gets to dig his hand in, have a good scrape around for the biggest marshmallow and contribute his own personal breed of bacteria as a reward for his/her work during the day. 

I’ve established a meritocratic society based on sugar.

On occasion, the lofty rank of Captain Silence is abused. For example, sometimes if Captain Silence is a girl there will only be girl’s names up at the end of the day. 

Occasionally I will observe the names on the board are exclusively the names of Captain Silence’s shady amigos who probably didn't warrant accolades at any stage of the day.

But lately, another problem has raised its troubling head.

If Captain Silence is not as silent as his job description defines, then he is instantly demoted to civilian status and Mrs Poinker takes over the commanding position.

Poor little Darius has had three goes at Captain Silence so far this year and has failed to hold down the station past morning tea on any of his distinguished appointments.

“You’re standing on your chair and yelling out the window, Darius. This is the third time I’ve warned you Darius! You can’t be Captain Silence anymore!” I declare in exasperation as he gazes at me with big, brown guiltless eyes.

“Okay,” he replies, shrugging his shoulders. “But can I be Captain Silence tomorrow?”

“No, I’m sorry you can’t Darius.”

“Do I still get a lolly?”

“No, Darius. I’m sorry.”


“No Darius.”

"Pretty please? I'll be good!"

"No Darius. Go back to your seat."

Darius wanders back to desk and Mrs Poinker feels like the most evil, wicked witch in the world. 

Mrs Poinker slips Darius a lolly as he walks out of the room at the end of the day. 

This is why Mrs Poinker failed as a parent.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Pinky's Mystery Cheese

“Where did this come from?” I wondered out loud, pulling a box of Camembert out of my bag this morning after ferreting around for my reading glasses in the staff room.

My colleagues just stared at it in an uninterested malaise.

“Maybe you just put it in your bag when you were shopping, Pinky,” suggested Kyles, stifling a wearied yawn.

“No... I don’t even buy this brand,” I replied in bewilderment.

“Maybe it’s the menopause… and you just forgot,” said Kaz.

“It’s not the bloody menopause!” I grouched, pulling out my phone to take a photo of the mystery fromage.

“OH!” cried Adriana, one of the Grade One teachers. Now I see your ploy, Pinky. This is just a set up for your blog. I knew your blog was a fake! Every week I read it and there’s some new sensational bloody drama. You’re just making all that stuff up.”

I couldn’t speak. My blog... a ruse? Me… melodramatic?

I shuffled off to the loo, feeling disembowelled… eviscerated.

“How could anyone possibly think I’d deliberately plant a box of cheese in my handbag for the sole purpose of garnering attention?” I huffed sitting on the toilet, trembling and injured as a baby bluebird with a brutally broken wing.

“Right that’s it! You’re on the blog!” I snapped at the complaining whistle-blower after marching out and taking her photo. ‘That’ll teach her to label me as being obsessively pre-occupied with my own personal agenda,’ I thought.

                                  Yes... you hide your head in shame!

But I still didn’t know where the camembert came from.

I texted Scotto with shaking hands.

No enlightenment there.

I asked Sue the Librarian if she had any insight.

“It’s probably just that you forgot you put it in your bag because of the menopause,” she offered kindly.

“Maybe someone put it in your bag because they thought you might like it to go with your wine, Pinky,” volunteered Alan the P.E. teacher when I grilled him.

‘Really??’ I pondered anxiously. ‘Do that many people know about my drinking habits?’

I sat in the staffroom and debriefed my friend Lyndal, who attempted to comfort me with her wise words,

“I forget lots of things too now I’m at this time of life. It’s just menopause.”

Mmmmm... But despite all of their ageist, bloody attitudes, I know full well I did not shoplift, buy,or even lay eyes before on that damn cheese and I have no idea where it came from. 

If anyone does know can you please put me out of my distressing and shocking suffering?

                           "Ya blog's rigged Pinky!"

And I’m NOT a drama queen!

P.S. Under NO circumstances Google "Mystery Cheese" because you won't like what you find.

Linking up at Grace at With Some Grace!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Should Pinky Teach Prep?

It’s that time of year when teachers at our school are required to nominate their preferred grade of teaching for 2015.

“Thought I might try out teaching Prep next year,” I commented nonchalantly in the staff room this morning.

My colleagues, Rach and Kyles, stared back at me like a couple of stunned mullets. The silence was palpable.

“You wouldn’t cope,” spluttered Rach.

“You don’t have the patience, Pinky!” squawked Kyles choking on her tea.

“How would you know?” I demanded, outraged they would think I lacked the serenity and fortitude to handle a class of five year olds. The Preps would love me!

Later on I quizzed two of my favourite teacher aides, Donna and Carmen, who’ve both spent a lengthy sentence of incarceration in Prep and might be a bit less judgmental than those other two bitter crones.

“It’s pretty demanding, Pinky,” they both conferred. “They don’t leave you alone for a second.”

“Do they… you know… have accidents?” I enquired cautiously.

Donna and Carmen glanced at each other furtively.

“Not much,” they murmured, avoiding eye contact at all costs.

It seems to be quite a monumental decision to switch from teaching ten year olds, so… I’ve weighed up the pros and cons below.

I should be able to handle the mathematical concepts in Prep.
You know... one plus one equals two.

Preps are cute in their own funny little strange way.

I can dress down (even more) for work what with all the finger painting and clay modelling and all.

They’ll have the crusts cut off the sandwiches in their lunch boxes and I love sangers with the crusts cut off.

I’ll be able to join them in their afternoon nap every day.

I will be able to expound my knowledge about things I know nothing of and they won’t remember what I said, dob me in to their parents and make me look like a fool.

They’ll follow me around like I’m Justin Beiber and I’ll feel loved again.

There may be some wee and poo accidents involved.

I won’t be able to understand a word they say.

I won’t be able to tell the girls from the boys with their unisex uniforms.

I’ll have to read The Hungry Caterpillar which always makes me hungry.

I’ll have to be nice to them when they hurt themselves instead of saying, “Harden up princess.”

The mums will be the same age as my children.

The kids might call me Grandma.

I don’t like paint or snot.

Apparently Preps don’t have naps anymore.

What do you think? Should I make the move?

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Will the real Channing please stand up? Please stand up?

It’s Mudder’s Day tomorrow in Australia!

We spent yesterday afternoon in the classroom busily creating loving tributes to Mum… well, my students did, whilst I sat at my desk cutting out pictures of flowers from old Women’s Weekly magazines for them to stick on to their cards. 

I don’t trust them to do it you see. Little Darius or Aloysius, always seeking a cheap thrill, are likely to find a picture of a lingerie model, draw massive nipples on it and go around showing everyone inciting shocked pandemonium in the classroom.

A few of the kids sat staring into space scratching their small heads.

I don’t know what to draw on my Mudder’s Day card Mrs Poinker…” moaned little Persephone.

Well, what does Mum love?” I prompted.

Her eyes lit up.

I know what she really loves! She LOVES Channing Tatum!”

Oh! She loves the movie ‘Grease’? Then maybe you could draw the Pink Ladies!” I liked Rizzo too!

Persephone gave me a strange look. “No, Channing Tatum the hot guy!” she scolded.

Ohhhh… then who was the Pink Lady in Grease? The name 'Tatum Channing' vaguely rang a rusty bell in the cobwebbed confines of my Friday afternoon brain.

Alright then,” I said. “Draw a picture of Tatum Channing.”

Channing Tatum,” she whispered to herself quietly.

When I came home I asked Scotto, “Have you ever heard of Channing Tatum… or maybe a Tatum Channing?

Yeah,” he replied. “Isn't he the bloke in that male stripper movie?

Is it Tatum Channing or Channing Tatum?” I enquired.

Dunno. That’s the stupid thing about when people have two surnames.

It’s true.

Like… Morgan Spurlock and Stirling Mortlock. One’s a documentary maker and the other’s a footballer and I never know which way their names go or which is which.

Anyway, one mum is going to get a lovely drawing of the venerated Tatum Channing/Channing Tatum tomorrow which is more than I’ll probably get. 

I requested the five of my kids get together and all bring lunch, so I'm optimistically anticipating the arrival of a frozen chook and a hot bottle of cheap champagne. That's if I'm lucky.

Happy Mudder’s Day to all you beautiful ladies out there!

                               I suppose he's alright.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Why I want to work in an all girls' school!

Miss Waddlington-Dandy,
Summerdayes Girl’s College for Eloquent Young Ladies,
Articulate Road,
Toff Hill.

Dear Miss Waddlington-Dandy,

I am writing to express my ardent interest in successfully applying for a teaching position at your refined and well-designed all-girls’ college.

Please allow me to convey how comfortably and quickly I would acclimatise to teaching placid, sophisticated young ladies as opposed to the fear and shocks of teaching in the confines of a classroom filled with rowdy and overly energetic ten year old boys.

I can easily picture myself wandering through your verdant grounds, reciting Wordsworth, accompanied by a small group of captivated pinafore-wearing ingénues. 

After a long leisurely stroll we would come to rest under an old gum tree and quote our favourite poetic lines from the Romantics at one another until, giggling and delicately perspiring in our white petticoats, we’d settle down to penning sonnets in our embroidered journals.

I cannot imagine even one of the young ladies dropping a ‘silent but deadly’ in the middle of our English lesson producing such an overpowering pong the rest of the class is wildly disrupted; urgently scattering in twenty-five directions with noses pinched and vociferous howls of objection.

The other girls wouldn’t then feel it was necessary to emulate the protagonist by forcing out excess, distasteful wind for the sole purpose of entertaining their fellow students would they?

The joke would not continue after lunch when a select few have refueled their capacity to manufacture the excess wind after eating cheese sandwiches and party pies with tomato sauce would it?

When gliding gracefully into the classroom clutching their satin-ribbon geography books, the Mademoiselles would never put each other in a headlock; tackle their victim to the floor and roll around screaming out things like, “Skylanders rule!” would they?

My charming young pupils would not dream of sneaking a collection of three hundred collector’s cards into their mathematics lesson and play with them under the desk instead of listening to their dedicated tutor waffle on about lines of symmetry I’m sure.They'd be too enthralled in my dulcet tones.

With these matters in mind, I reiterate my desperate plea that you might consider me for the upcoming position of teacher in your highly esteemed institution and I dearly look forward to hearing back from you. 

Please note; I gave birth to and reared four boys of my own. I feel it is time for a reprieve.

Yours Sincerely,

Mrs. Pinky Poinker

The Nuthouse


Thursday, April 24, 2014

U- is for Unattainable Dreams

A to Z April Challenge

As I walked my class up the road to the high school today for our ANZAC day assembly, one of my “bubblier” students, who’d only just returned to school after a sick day invigorated with dynamic energy, bounced around beside me. 

“You know what, Mrs Poinker?” he enthused. 

“No, Darius. What?” I asked, glancing back nervously to make sure no-one had slipped down a drain hole or anything.

“I’ve got $75 000 in my bank account now, Mrs Poinker!”

“Really, Darius?” I enthused as genuinely as possible, but realistically thinking it was probably more like $750 since we haven’t even learnt about five digit numbers yet and his mum and dad don't really seem quite that well off.

“Yeah, but I’m not allowed to spend it until I’m TWENTY FIVE!” he bellowed in outrage.

“That’s good. You’d probably just spend it on rubbish before you reached twenty-five don’t you think?” I replied, imagining what my own kids would do with $75 000. It’d all be gone in a week for sure.

“NO I WOULDN’T! I wouldn’t spend it on rubbish!” he bawled back. “I’d spend it on LOLLIES!”

The little girl marching beside me (who is also in possession of a unique brand of unnerving vim and vigour) interrupted.

“My sister’s only got $65 000 in the bank because she spends all her pay on shoes and clothes,” she remarked caustically. “Shoes with high heels, dresses for weddings; spend, spend, spend, she does. She wastes ALL her money. I can’t wait until that one gets married.”

‘I wonder where she’s heard that from.’ I thought to myself in amusement when I suddenly became aware of Darius still prattling on incessantly beside me.

“The ones with pig faces and sheep faces, Mrs Poinker! You know the ones!”

What was he talking about? What pigs? What sheep?

“The LOLLIES with the pig and sheep faces! That’s what I’d buy with me $75 000,” he sighed wistfully and stared off into the distance.

I can still remember when lollies were the most important thing in my life too. And staying up late.

And drinking limitless supplies of Coke. And eating ice-cream until it came out of my eyeballs.

What a pity I still can’t do any of those things. 

Bloody middle-age spread.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Pinky the Drama Queen!

 For the fourth year in a row Pinky’s class has been allocated the role of staging the annual Easter play where we re-enact Jesus’ journey to his crucifixion. 

Not exactly light subject matter and a definite challenge for a class of vigorous eight and nine year olds who can barely sit still for more than twenty-five seconds at a time.

Just between you and me, I think it’s the only reason they keep me on at the school. Most of the other teachers don’t want to do it so they pretend to my face I have a bit of flair in the theatrics department.

“But you’re so good at it, Pinky!” they cajole, gushing like the fox that fooled Aesop’s gullible crow.

Well, this easy to fool old crow has been functioning on overdrive all week struggling to get the performance to an acceptable standard for the Friday night showing in the church next door to our school.

It didn’t do my blood pressure any good at rehearsal on Wednesday when one of the kids inadvertently knocked over the wine on the font table when hauling Jesus’ large cross in. 

The entire church was instantly filled with the discernible bouquet of fruity red wine. 

Bedlam ensued with kids loudly blaming each other for the accident while I could only stare in dismay at the wine dribbling on to the floor wishing I could lie underneath and catch it with my mouth.

“It’s not even Good Friday and Jesus’ blood has already been spilt!” I moaned to one of the other teachers later in the staffroom. “It’s a bad omen I just know it.”

And the actual night was not without moments of anxiety. There was an element of concern when one of our diminutive soldiers arrived late because he'd been attending a birthday party.

Just as he was about to go into the church he turned to me wearing a pallid complexion and bleated, “Mrs Poinker, I think I’m going to be sick!”

“No you’re not! Now get on out there,” I replied, veiling my utter panic and hoping to hell he wasn’t going to throw up an entire box of cheezels and birthday cake in front of the unsuspecting congregation. 

He didn’t.

By some miracle it all went well and the kids put on an amazing display of commitment and devotion considering their youth and inexperience.
Maybe I do have a bit of a knack for the dramatics after all!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Parent/Teacher Interviews! The Day After.

Before I begin, please forgive me for my croaky voice today but I spent four hours straight gibbering on at parent/teacher interviews last night and even my vocal cords have their limit. It was a long day yesterday and I really hoped today would be relatively uneventful.

When I arrived at the shelter shed to collect my class this morning one of my little girls ran up to me in distress, “Mrs Poinker! Octavian is crying and he won’t tell us what’s wrong!”

Sure enough, Octavian sat in the line with small face buried in hands and shoulders shuddering dramatically.

“What’s the matter, Octavian?” I enquired gently as we all walked to the classroom.

“When I went out to see my dog this morning he had a big, bleeding cut right across here,” he sobbed, slicing his finger down his face.

“That’s no good! Did you take him to the vet? Is he alright?” I asked with genuine concern.

“I don’t know Mrs Poinker,” he choked. “Mrs Poinker… Do you know what mythical creatures are?”

“Yes…” I responded, thinking what a strange turn of conversation had just occurred.

“I think some mythical creatures did it to him because he’s a Bandog!” he declared passionately.

“What’s a Bandog, Octavian?” I’d never heard of this breed before. Must be some new exotic type, I thought.

“You know… a Bandog! The ones you’re not allowed to have. The ones you take pig hunting!”

Oooooh…. a “banned dog”, I deduced.

“Octavian, mythical creatures don’t actually exist, mythical means …,” I stopped myself before I went too far when I realised perhaps this was a line his parents had fed him and “mythical creatures” were a pseudonym for “disgruntled neighbours”.

Fortuitously, relief was at hand when we arrived at the classroom door as little Velveteen and her mother were standing there with a cage containing a couple of portly rodents. (I’d agreed she could bring them for show and tell a couple of weeks ago on the promise her Mum would stay and take the squealing creatures home after it was over.)

My class shrieked in joy; even Octavian who seemed to instantly forget the current state of his incapacitated hunting dog.

“Shoosh!” I cautioned. “Guinea Pigs are very sensitive animals.” I didn’t want any fatalities in the classroom today thank you very much.

The students formed a circle with fifty-two saucer like eyes staring at the cage in anticipation.

“Can I pass it around the circle?” asked Velveteen as she dragged the horrified beast from its cage. It had burrowed tightly at the back and was gripping on to the bars of the cage with the tenacity of a prisoner on death row about to be dragged off to the electric chair and I don’t blame it one bit.

“I don’t think that would be very nice for it, Velveteen. You just take it around and let everyone give it a very LIGHT pat,” I said, hoping to protect the animal from having its innards squeezed out of its ear holes like cream cheese out the sides of a cracker.

                             "This can't be going to end well..."

I politely declined Velveteen's kind offer of ‘a hold’ and in order to add an educational element to the occasion asked the class if they knew why guinea pigs were called guinea pigs. Naturally, no one knew, even me, but I thought I’d have a stab in the dark anyway.

“Maybe it’s because they look like pigs and come from New Guinea,” I postulated bravely, then noticed the dubious expression on Velveteen’s mother's face and thought I’d better just shut the hell up.

Eventually the (quite uninspiring) pet was placed back in its cage (still alive) and we all waved it a teary, overemotional farewell.

Incidentally, I looked it up on Pinkypedia and Guinea Pigs do not come from New Guinea. 

I wasn’t even close.

Why do you think they're called Guinea Pigs? No cheating!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Why Teachers Deserve Oscars


I have a collection of elaborate and contrived facial expressions I use in my classroom which are designed to express my displeasure... while at the same time save my vocal cords from a fate worse than Christopher Walken.

Firstly, there’s the refined, “Why are you using your Smiggles scissors to cut the Smiggle’s eraser your mother paid an outrageous amount for into twenty pieces?” look.

Every second day, it seems to be the “Get that poor, wretched grasshopper/cricket/moth you found on the oval and is currently imprisoned in your grass-filled lunch box out of the room as it’s distracting every other child in the class” face.

There’s also the subtle but effective, “Please don’t 'pick your nose/swing dangerously on your chair/poke the Smiggles pencil in your ear' when I’m reading the class a story. I can still see you because I know how to read using eye contact” look.

Sometimes I pull the “I wish you’d stop loudly calling out ‘Bugger!’ every time you break the lead in your pencil. I know you probably picked it up from Mum but it’s not really appropriate” look.

Occasionally I stand staring at the back wall with my quietly threatening, “You guys don’t know it but I REALLY hate standing in the frickin hot sun at Thursday afternoon sport and if you don’t shut the hell up we’ll all be sitting in the classroom when Thursday comes around learning about 3D shapes, so go ahead make my day” look.

And very, very rarely I give the psycho-killer look. 

The evil countenance where my eyes roll back in my head as if to say, “I just gave an explicit instruction, I role played it, I wrote it on the board, I had you repeat it twice, I played Hangman to reinforce it, I wrote a song about it and sang and danced it, I designed a board game about it and hung up bunting and made a cake to celebrate it… so, if you are standing here with that cute confused look on your face asking me ‘what are we supposed to be doing Mrs Poinker?’ you’d best ask someone else in the classroom if you ever want to see your mother again.”

This is why Botox injections should be tax deductible for teachers.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

How to Survive A Swimming Carnival!

The logistics of organising 700 kids into freestyle, backstroke and breast stroke races, booking an adequate amount of buses, begging for crucial parental volunteers, setting up tents and micro-managing rosters is no easy feat and our P.E. teacher at school, Alan, is a veritable genius when it comes to this type of organisation. 

It may very well have been a Freudian slip, not a typo, when our Deputy Principal sent out a group email one day addressing him as Anal instead of Alan.

It pays to be extra nice to Alan around the time of year when he’s busily coordinating the rosters for the 'Dreaded Swimming Carnival'. If you manage to draw the short straw you could end up as a “Team Manager” in the bleachers supervising a couple of hundred manic and well-chlorinated kids as they scream out their war cries like an agitated, drunken crowd at an Arsenal vs Manchester United football match. Your eardrums wind up peeling, then spontaneously detaching themselves by the end of the day.

Pinky was given a reprieve this year and was delighted to discover her favourite P.E. teacher in the world had rostered her on to one of the more prestigious duties. ‘Time Recorder’ was the official job description I think. 

Kaz and I were commissioned the dual task and were sat under a shady tent at a satisfactory distance from the uproarious mob.

I think Alan has finally noticed that I am indeed one of the oldest teachers on staff and am really verging on ‘frail little old lady’ status and thus took pity on me, God bless his little Adidas socks.

Not to say Kaz and I enjoyed a cushy day while our colleagues slaved in the sun. There were moments of intense pressure as every two minutes the eight top swimmers lined up for us to record their name, sport’s house and swimming time. We thought we had it down to a fine art until one little girl threw a curve ball.

“House?” I asked her as she stood dripping before me.

“Sixty-eight Park Drive,” she replied radiantly. I was thrown into confusion; it was hard to hear with the riotous background noise.

“No sweetie… what’s your HOUSE?”

“Sixty-eight Park Drive,” she repeated gazing patiently at the stupid teacher.

Kaz, noticing the exponentially expanding line behind the little girl interrupted.

“No dear, what’s your house colour?”

“Um… well it’s a sort of a greenish-grey with a white front door,” she answered thoughtfully.

I don’t know how but we managed to hide our giggles until she’d gone.

The day miraculously finished dead on time and after a more subdued bus ride home than on the way there, I bumped into one of the little grade three-ers on her way out the school gates.

“That was the best day of my LIFE!” she squealed.

So thank you to all P.E. teachers around the world. You do a great job and the kids do appreciate it.

And Alan… if you’re reading this I’ll make sure I slip another carton of Crown Lager under your desk next year as well!

Posting at "With Some Grace" for FYBF!

Friday, February 7, 2014

How being a Primary School Teacher can Destroy your Self-Esteem!


I was on playground duty the other day and a rather candid Grade One-er approached me with her head cocked to one side staring at me from under her long lashes. I smiled at her indulgently. Those little ones are so cute.

“Are you old?” she enquired with all the delicacy of someone slamming a blackboard ruler into my face.

“Apparently,” I replied after a few seconds stunned silence.

There was not much more to say.

I recall a couple of years ago some older girls strolled up to me in the playground. “Excuse us for asking Mrs Poinker… but are you expecting?”

I burnt that dress as soon as I got home… burnt it dead.

“What are these?” asked a curious eight year old one day, as he pressed the bulging veins on my wizened, thin-skinned hands with intense interest. “My Grandma’s got them too!”

Another time a young boy vigilantly ogled me with a wary look on his face the whole time as I read the class a story using my most dramatically expressive voice and facial expression. I thought he was interested in my excellent rendition of Roald Dahl’s “The Twits”.

“You look like Cap’n Jack Sparrow,” he lisped in horrified fascination when I finished the chapter and put the book down.

I was mortified last year when one of my boys greeted me in the morning with his frank, albeit blunt comment, “Are you tired Mrs Poinker? You have really big bags under your eyes! You need to go to bed earlier.”

Then I remembered I used to say the same thing to him when he arrived at school after staying up all night watching the State of Origin with his dad.

I used to be miffed when the kids accidentally called me “Grandma”. Now it doesn’t worry me anywhere near as much as when they accidentally call me “Grandad”.

On another happier note, please note the excellent Avatar my darling husband Scotto, created for me to replace the out of date profile picture I’ve clung to for the last twelve months.

There doesn’t appear to be a jowl, wrinkle or grey hair in sight! I only look about twenty-five! At least someone still thinks I look okay. Those overly forth-right kids know nothing!

Monday, February 3, 2014


Image Credit

I read in a newspaper recently that General Practitioners are in the firing line because patients take affront when they look things up on Google while the patient is still in the room. I’ve had it happened to me and it didn’t bother me. 

I’d rather they check the medication they’re about to prescribe, than for me to wind up lying on the kitchen floor with my legs twitching in the air like a baited cockroach. As long as he or she wasn’t checking for information on Wikipedia.

However, I would draw the line at my doctor running back and forth from the computer, waving a cold speculum around whilst performing a pap smear on me.

People, even doctors, shouldn’t be expected to know everything.

The same must be said for primary school teachers. Or perhaps I’m speaking for myself.

We’re learning about the subject of plants this term and I thought I’d take the kids for a stroll around the periphery of the oval to look at leaves, roots and other botanical things. Someone picked a flower from a tree and handed it to me.

“When a flower is pollinated this part of the flower swells, the petals fall off and it transforms into a fruit!” I informed them knowledgeably. “Then seeds grow inside the fruit, the fruit drops to the ground and the cycle starts over again.”

I was on a roll with all eyes riveted on me. “Do you know the difference between a fruit and a vegetable?” 
I challenged, knowing this titbit would blow their minds.

“A fruit has seeds whereas a vegetable doesn’t.” I waited for the inevitable discussion about tomatoes.

There was silence. Finally one bright spark raised his hand, “So a banana isn’t a fruit, Mrs Poinker?”

I stared hard at the small boy trying to think of an answer. In my mind’s eye I imagined the pulp of a banana rotting in the soil. Surely a banana is a fruit. But I’d certainly never cracked a tooth on a banana seed.

“Pumpkins have seeds!” added another.

“So do cucumbers and capsicums!” chimed another.

It seemed I was out of my depth. The eight year olds had outwitted me and were circling like hungry hyenas.

As soon as we arrived back in the classroom, I surreptitiously logged on to Mr Google while the kids put their hats away.

“Does a banana have seeds?” I typed, feeling ridiculous.

And guess what? They don’t have seeds. They used to but now, according to Dr Karl, “The internal dark lines and spots inside today's banana are the vestigial remnant of seeds,” and the seeds were bred out of them many years ago for commercial purposes. But they’re still a fruit.

As for all those other vegetables the kids were throwing at me (not literally)… they’re technically fruits as well, but from a culinary perspective they aren’t sweet so they’re vegetables.

Google came in handy this morning too when a student came in rubbing her throat and complaining her cat had scratched her. “I was asleep,” she whispered confidentially to me. “You know how cats think you’re dead when you’re asleep and try to eat you? Well my cat tried to eat me.”

I was fairly sure this wasn’t true but I Googled it just to make sure.

This is what I found!

A cat will begin eating a human body just a few hours after death. Even if the cat has plenty of food.

* This FACT about cats was brought up during a presentation of crime scene photos by a homicide detective at Eastern Michigan University. He said that it was common for cats to do this. He mentioned he has never seen a dog eat human flesh, but it probably would too if it got hungry enough.

Cat's just like fresh meat a lot more.

I knew it! (I'm not going to credit my source because my cat's looking over my shoulder licking its lips.)


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Pinky Poinker Goes Back to School.

Today was our second day back at school before the Rug Rat Army infiltrates the grounds wearing their spanking new shoes and wrestling with huge cardboard boxes full of books, pencils, and glue sticks for us teachers to spend hours sorting when we’d much rather be horizontal on a couch with a crisp Chardonnay in hand.

What do teachers do when they have no kids to teach?
Sit on chairs designed for three foot hobbits with our lower backs going into violent spasms and suffering the exact same droning lectures we inflict on our students that’s what.

At ten-thirty we plodded up to the staffroom like a herd of weary cattle for a recuperative cup of tea and a snack.

A symphony of twenty cans of tuna snapped open simultaneously; a legacy of too much festive cheer and indulgence over the six week break.

You want to know what we talked about?

The main topic of conversation centred on our Christmas break up party in November and where we should hold it in 2014.

Jaded as it sounds for only our second day back in the trenches, there is a fresh wind of change at school this year. 

My Grade Four cohort has been transformed and Pinky’s long-suffering buddy teacher Rach, has moved into an administrative role. 

O’Reilly’s buddy, Joe the Irish teacher, wisely absconded back to the mother country and has been replaced by the boisterous and dynamic Shazza.

(Placing Shazza and Pinky in the same year level may prove to be slightly dangerous and was possibly an oversight by the bosses but we’ll try to behave ourselves and keep our heads low so they don’t realise their mistake.)

My new buddy teacher is a graduate teacher, fresh from University.

“You’ll scare the poor girl to death!” commented Kaz, when we met the quietly spoken, slender, slip of a girl yesterday.

“No I won’t! I’ll be a great mentor to Gemma!” I retorted with all the confidence of a nonlifejacket-wearing saxophone player on the Titanic.

“Well for a start you can stop calling her ‘Gemma’,” replied Kaz drily, “her name’s Jenna.”

The truth is I’m delighted to be in the position to act as a tutor, supporter and cheer-leader for my new buddy and have compiled a list of important items she may like to take note of;

The Chicken Caesar Salad Wraps at the tuckshop are glorious and very cheap when you compare prices around town.

Never ask Pinky anything about computers, Smart Boards or anything technical because she will just stare at you with her mouth open until she begins to dribble.

Pinky is quite selfish about her Blu Tac and Sticky Dots so don’t bother asking to borrow them. However, she will be very generous with her Smart Board peripheral cable.

Don’t steal Pinky’s special parking spot in the morning. Anne, the office lady, tried it on one day and a bitter feud resulted which lasted for two weeks, until Pinky needed a sick bucket and saw dust sent down from the office after an unfortunate regurgitation by one of the students and was forced to apologise to Anne on the telephone.

Finally, never approach Pinky in her classroom before school as that’s her precious preparation time. Also... because old ladies like Pinky tend to suffer early morning flatulence of the kind that no Glade plug-in air freshener can ever hope to disguise. Just ask Rach!

Tomorrow night, a dear friend of mine, Sinead, will be presenting a guest post in which she tells a few lies and litigious falsifications about how she met Pinky.