Sunday, December 21, 2008

Two emails

Well, here’s the Life Christmas tree. Mr Life nobly did his stuff (aided by Daughter 2) with a saw and electricity and water – not the best combination for a man who had already erected his mother-in-law’s tree and now had a sore back and a desire to sit and watch “Scrubs” on tv. However, he lived to tell the tale. Three cheers for Mr Life!

Excuse my boasting (I don't get much opportunity really) but I got a lovely email from the mother of one of my students the other day. Further education teachers don’t have much contact with students’ parents – no nice hand-made-by-mum cookies for us - and this really made my day/week/term. After writing that his high school had been a bit unsatisfactory, she finished her email,

In contrast, he comes home from your English class full of enthusiasm and with a very positive attitude towards the English coursework which is markedly different to last year. He now knows that he CAN work to the standard required and, in our opinion, this change in attitude is entirely because of your teaching!

Once again, many thanks for being so good at what you do.

The result will be, of course, that I shall make even more strenuous efforts to be interesting and stimulating and get him through his exam. This lady understands the psychology of teachers… or indeed of most people. It’s a good thing for teachers to remember too: praise students and they work harder. (Sometimes.)

I’m now on holiday. (Little joyful dance.) My brother and his family arrive on Christmas Eve from their home in the deep south (of England), which will be lovely, but before that, on Tuesday, our darling son comes home for Christmas from his current abode in the slightly shallower south. (Enormous, jubilant dance, involving whoops of delight and the shaking of pompoms.) This morning I bought some of his favourite foods, including mangoes, which it has pained me to walk past in the supermarket since his departure. The rest of the family don’t eat them much since they taste a bit like soap, but he’s very fond of them.

He’s on night duty at the moment and emailed me after I had expressed concern that the population of Dumfries who had been celebrating not wisely but too well might be causing him extra work and trouble. He pointed out that he wasn’t on the emergency ward at the moment, but on Surgery. He wrote,

Happily the people who come into A+E having indulged in a little too much alcohol don’t come my way. Unless they develop pancreatitis, I suppose, then they’re all mine. So far it has been q-u-i-e-t (you’re not allowed to say it out loud by hospital law, just in case). [Girlfriend] was on late for Surgery and seems to have got the wards sorted out. She finishes at 9pm (when I start) and starts at 9am (when I finish). So essentially, we’re in charge 24 hours a day.

Oh, how delighted I am not to be in charge of anything but the Life Christmas.


  1. That is one smart lady. Not that you are NOT an excellent teacher - I am certain you are.

    However, I'm worried about your mangoes. They should not be tasting like soap. Methinks ur doin it rong.

  2. I'm also worried about your mangos...not only should they not taste like soap, they are generally (in the Antipodes, anyway) shades of yellowish/pinkish/orangeish when ripe and ready to eat. Perhaps yours are a different 'brand'. One which is green-detergent-based?

    So nice to get that email from a parent!

  3. Happy Christmas to all of you. It is so good to be with all the family.
    I too am worried about your mangoes. Someone has been injecting them with soap, obviously. We never get soapy ones here.
    What a great comment to receive. The sort that fills you with a rosy glow. Well done.

  4. Well, generally if mangoes are still green it means they're unripe and should only be used for chutneys etc. Ripe ones should be orange or pinky yellow.

    I'm surprised they're there at all in December in Scotland.

    Apologies for previous comment in LOLspeak. I got carried away, having just spent a happy half hour over at that cheezburger site.

  5. We all knew you were a good teacher.I never put an apostrophe on paper anymore without mentally repeating to myself your sage words on use of same! But it IS nice when a parent takes the time to commit her appreciation to paper!
    I am delighted for you that your tree is up and that your son is coming home, but I'm also wildly jealous! No tree up here yet[too much too-ing and fro-ing with ailing ancients,] and no sons from far away coming home either. So, even though we have sunshine it's not quite enough to make us do a joyful dance!!
    Merry Christmas Isabelle!

  6. Your tree is way better than mine but I'm pleased to have a tree at all this year just for lil ol' me. I did finally manage to get one of the dogs into a santa hat though!

    Lovely to be excited about Christmas coming - I am too. Family, friends, unfortunately for me no husband as he's away on the rigs but everything else.

    Have a great time and recharge the batteries ready to get back to stimulating those young mnds next term...

    Lesley x

  7. Oh, wise pupil-parent - the carrot is infinitely mighter than the stick!
    I won't add to the concern about your mangoes, except to say they may be impregnated with Fairy Liquid, which would explain both the colour and the taste.
    Very Happy Christmas to you all.

  8. It is nice that the lad's parent ackowledged your good work! A little praise goes a long way! I like your Christmas tree shot with the blurry light effect! Enjoy your Christmas break with family.

  9. What a lovely e-mail, and well-deserved, I'm sure. And whilst I am of course grateful for the picture of the mangos (I don't like them either) I would have really REALLY liked a picture of the pom-pom shaking!

  10. Well if your mangoes look like that Im not surprised they taste like soap! Those green ones are used by people from Asian countries who know how to make marvellous curries and things from them. Us antipodeans eat those lusciously overripe golden yellow/red ones with the juice running up to our elbows and they taste like absolute nectar! So lovely to get such a nice email - makes you feel like all the hard work and effort is worth it all. Wishing everyone in the Life household a very happy Christmas and lots of wonderful things in 2009. Z xx

  11. A true teacher, thou art. Congratulations on that affirmative email.

    Re mangos.....not soap, but gloriously sweet, slightly musky and the best place to eat one ( when it's good and ripe and a pinky/orange), in the SHOWER!!!! Well, sometimes. I've just eaten one after my supper and I was sitting sedately on the sofa!

  12. Well the slipperiness of mangoes could be described as soapy, but is part of their charm.

    Bravo you on the pat on the back, more than deserved, I'm sure. Go and buy yourself a roboraptor as a reward!

  13. I'm sure the Life Christmas is in safe hands, just like the people in Dumfries who need surgery from your son and his girlfriend!

    Merry Christmas.

  14. Well done on the well-deserved compliment. You're right, we teachers (esp. high school and beyond) don't get many kudos like that. So it's lovely when they do come.

    I blogged about some mangoes today - I'd send you some for your boy, but I don't think they'd survive the journey. Soapy doesn't sound like the right flavour....

    All the best for Christmas and the New Year.

  15. It certainly makes your job worthwhile when people let you know you are doing it well. Teachers of all types (from Primary to academic) are vitally important to their pupils, but I'm sure most of them don't realise the influence they have over some of their students. I was a miserable failure at arithmetic for my first six years of school, but when I had an intelligent and patient maths teacher in, I came top in my class, much to my parents' astonishment!