Posts from the “Thumbs Up!” Category

If You Could Change How Schools Work

This is today’s Post-a-day question…and here is my answer with a little help from some friends “Are you sick of highly paid teachers? Teachers’ hefty salaries are driving up taxes, and they only work 9 or 10 months a year! It’s time we put things in perspective and pay them for what they do – babysit! We can get that for less than minimum wage. That’s right. Let’s give them £5.93 an hour and only the hours they work; not any of that silly planning time, or any time they spend before or after …………school. That would be £ 41.51 a day (8.30 am to 3:30 PM with 60 min. off for lunch and plan– that equals 7 1/2 hours). Each parent should pay £ 41.51 a day for these teachers to baby-sit their children. Now how many students do they teach in a day…maybe 90? So that’s £ 41.51 x 90 = £ 3735.90 a day. However, remember they only work 180 days a year!!! I am not going to pay them for any holidays . LET’S SEE…. That’s £ 3735.90 X 180= £ 672462.00 per year. (Hold on! My calculator needs new batteries). What about those special education teachers and the ones with Master’s degrees? Well, we could pay them minimum wage (£ 6.90), and just to be fair, round it off to £ 7.00 an hour. That would be £ 7.00 X 71/2 hours X 90 children X 180 days = £ 850500.00 per year. Wait a minute — there’s something wrong here! There sure is! The average teacher’s salary (nation wide) is £ 25000.00/180 days = £ 138.90 per day/ 90 students = £ 1.54 / 7 1/2 hours = £ 0.20 per hour per student–a very inexpensive baby-sitter and they even EDUCATE your kids!) WHAT A DEAL!!!! Make a teacher smile (or cry!);pass this on this to show appreciation for all educators.”

My mate CM posted this on face book yesterday and it made me laugh and cry. Sadly the maths is a bit squiffy as you might teach 500 kids in a week but only 30 at a time, so the babysitting fee would only work out at 30 x £41      = about  £1,200 a day multiplied by 180 days is £221,400 a year…then take a way the rent for the school ( say 50%) a teacher would actually only earn £120,00 a year instead of £25,ooo…so still a big difference and laughable to look at it like this.

For the first four years I was a secondary teacher in an inner-London school I taught music to  500 students a week – 11-15 year olds – 30 at a  time. I planned until midnight most nights, and wrote 500 reports a year ( I knew all their names).  I am surprised my hearing is still intact as 30 kids smashing metallophones (very loud metal xylophones…) and all sorts of percussion for 26 hours a week must have some effect on the old ear drums. I taught in a freezing cold classroom room, the last in the school boiler chain of warmth ( the science labs were the warmest places) with an asbestos ceiling, and a bully of  collegue, who was possibly a signed up sociopath,  on a salary that would never even pay the rent on a  real flat in London let alone buy one ( morgages  repayments were 10% interest at the time and my first full time  monthly salary was £750 a month) I lost a whole octave of my singing voice and at the end of 4 years I was a black hole of my former self as I had given all  these kids proper care and attention ( and boy were some of them sadly lacking in that area) and a good musical education. Any possibility of me ever becoming a biological mother had been knocked on the head..

a) because I was too tired and had parented about 2000 kids and had no parenting left ( have parented that number since…and many more

b) because using the 2  working brain cells in my head I came to the conclusion there were waaaaay too many children in the world already. And I seemed to have taught most of them!

I cried every Saturday morning, in tantrum-like volumes ( usually in the supermarket) as I had held it together all week – Poor Mr. P.  I don’t know how he put up with me. Most teachers I know in London have no lives to speak of. It is hard to see them in term time unless you happen to drink in the same pub as them, or work in the same school as them. Their ‘best ‘ friends ( until they get a job at another school and then they never see them again) are usually their teaching  comrades, as no-one else understands what they go through, and the reward they get for their toils, like someone aptly put it after I finished my first Ofsted report ‘ will be in heaven as it definately won’t be here’.

So some say, it is a vocation, or calling – is that just a way of saying you have a gift but we are not going to pay you much for it? I watched a bit of Educating Essex on the tv with a magnificent bunch of educators and the teacher on it said that he knew people watching on the tv, the educators would understand what a great job they were doing and no-one else would really understands. Perhaps if parents had to pay ‘child care’ for 18 years they might think twice about having child number 3, 4, 5 ( sorry, but it is true).

Most people do not understand. They just moan about what long holidays teachers get….they should try it sometime, or perhaps try home educating their children for a couple of terms.

Bless you ….all you educators….Next time you meet a teacher, give them a big hug and some money to buy a drink, car, flat…particularly if you have brought kids into the world yourself.

And I don’t want anyone EVER moaning about the long holidays that teachers have…or I shall send 8C round, before school  with their metallophones.

SONG OF THE DAY – What I Go to School For -Busted

Many people have a gift for inspiring young people, everyone remembers their favourite teachers ( and their least favourite), and believe you me kids spend  a huge amount of time talking about their teachers, who is good and who is not ( just sit next to a couple of kids on the bus). So when this song came out we laughed….it is very funny!

The Clutter Won’t Clear if I am Down the Music Store….

I felt rough this morning. Well, quite down actually.  Woke up  and wanted to run away to the circus in Costa Rica, die my hair bright red, lose  40 lbs and change my name to Mabel Aspinall or something as exotic. Things did not get much better until I went to the optician, who told me I did not need to change my prescription, so realised I was quids in and sauntered down to the friendliest music shop I have been in a long time -to buy a new guitar.

Hobgoblin in Rathbone Place.

It’s not so much a guitar shop as a cornucopia of instruments from all sorts of folkly ( yes, folkly) traditions. Lutes, flutes, banjos, concertinas, wierd plucky things and bangy things I had not seen before.

I was after a guitar that was made of wood, rather than my ovation copy that has a fibreglass, or something back, so has no real depth of ring to it. As it is my quest to play more this year….I wanted a better sound. A fuller richer sound with more bottom end, if you’ll excuse the turn of phrase. Having walked through every guitar shop in Denmark Street and not one single sales assistant asking me if I  needed any help, or giving me a smile or nod , or anything that suggested I was a real breathing human being. I was almost floored when someone in Hobgoblin looked me in the eye and asked me if I needed some help! He  then proceeded to aid me through an hour an a half of my  painful strumming in the basement of the shop. He  gently supported me through my quest to find the guitar that gave me that ‘excaliber moment’. The lovely  chap was up and down the stairs about 10 times, checking that I was doing ok. Giving me useful advice without being in the slightest pushy – just very supportive. Mr P. sat idly by as I tried one after another, back to the first, and then another, and back to the second and then another, and back to the first……until I yelped…I’ll take two! I almost did but….

I was overruled and took one, the one with the most beautiful sound, second hand and reasonably priced. When I got it home I realised the body is so wide, from back to front, that when I stand up and play it I cannot see the neck! I did not notice in the shop as I was playing sitting down so the angle was slightly different. Anyway I have re-strung it, and I will learn to play blind or just sit down and play it, as the sound is so lovely.

The other guy  working in the shop  that day was funny, very funny and I got strings and two of the most marvellous plectrums thrown in . Cheered us both up.

After that we went for sustenance at a place very close to Warren Street Station. The bicycle outside caught my eye. Mr P. had cake and coffee and I had some hippy herbal brew as I gave up sugar 3 months ago………ah well.

So the tidying got put on hold for the day, but I don’t need to run away to Costa Rica…quite yet, as I have too much guitar practice to do.

SONG OF THE DAY – Good Time Gal – Mean Mary and her Pal

I heard a banjo being played in Hobgoblin today. I love proper good banjo playing and stumbled across Mean Mary  on you tube. A very talented woman who has  had some struggles in her life, as well as making great music.

Song of the Day -Thank You Very Very Very Very Very Very Very Very Very Very Very Much!

Today is a day to say say thank you. They say that is what prayer is – saying thanks for what you have. Remembering what you have that is good and there is always something good , however dark the sky overhead is looking. We so easily focus on the negative and forget the good things.  So have a little ponder….The Scaffold were a trio from Liverpool, the handsome one (?) was and still is Paul McCartney’s  brother, who wrote this song under his stage name.

The Song Words THANK YOU VERY MUCH (McGear) The Scaffold – 1968 Thank you very much for the Aintree Iron, thank you very much, thank you very very very much Thank you very much for the Aintree Iron, thank you very very very much. Thank you very much for the birds and bees, thank you very much, thank you very very very much Thank you very much for the birds and bees, thank you very very very much. Thank you very much for the family circle, thank you very much, thank you very very very much Thank you very much for the family circle, thank you very much, thank you very very very very very very very very much. (yes there are 8 ‘verys’ here) You don’t know how much they all mean, they seem better in my dreams It was simply spiffing and true, let me whisper ‘I love you’ Thank you very much for love (the word ‘love’ is the only word in the bar and falls on the second beat of two) Thank you very much, thank you very very very much Thank you very much for love Thank you very very very much. Thank you very much for the Sunday joint Thank you very much, thank you very very very much Thank you very much for the Sunday jointand our…(*spoken*) *cultural heritage, national beverage, being fat, Union jack, nursery rhyme, Sunday times, napalm bomb, everyone!* Thank you very much, thank you very very very very, very very very very much Thank you very much for playing this record, thank you very much, thank you very very very much Thank you very much for playing this record, thank you very very very much. Thank you very much for our gracious team Thank you very much, thank you very very very much. Thank you very much for our gracious team (Getting slower) Thank you very very very much!

Still lots of conversations about what the Aintree Iron was about.

The thing I like about this song is it’s attitude of grattitude. So easy to forget to celebrate the ordinary and say thanks…this song says it alot…..sing along! x x

Derek Sivers’ 40 Minute Video – Best Advice For Entrepreneurs

Derek Sivers

Yup…Derek Sivers has done it again! This video is aimed to help the entrepreneur. I never thought of myself as being an entrepreneur, as I always thought the ventures of an entrepreneur must involve taking a financial risk. Derek crushes that misconception for me. Hurrah!   I read somewhere else thatEntrepreneur  is a term applied to a person who is willing to help launch a new venture or enterprise and accept full responsibility for the outcome“. The important  part of this definition  for me is the ‘new venture and enterprise’ and the ‘accepting full responsibility’, which also means being free to do it my way!

(THE VIDEO! this is the link) by Derek Siver is 40 minutes long, and is split into what we call in the trade bite-sized chunks. I watched them all in one sitting.  A leisurely lunch – but not quite a lunch hour. Derek recalls stories that helped me to ‘get’, see simply, with humanity, the whole concept of creating  a new venture. A venture that  people will be excited about being involved in. Derek chats about what made his company CD Baby  such a  huge success
( where  millions of musicians sell their music…mine is on there too CLICK HERE TO HEAR IT!) , and encapsulates the most important questions we need to ask ourselves when starting a new venture.

Derek Sivers  is an amazingly generous entrepreneur and musician who continues with this video to freely give, like a really  good friend.  There are no frills, no nonsense – just Derek looking straight into the camera, chatting to me like an old mate. I felt completely engaged. I was captivated throughout. I could have been sitting in a cafe with him. His style is relaxed, friendly, clear and informative. Every time I read anything or hear anything by him, it is like the old eureka light gets switched on again. He has a clear set of key messages which make so much sense. I would take time out to watch this fine piece, which once again Derek has given for free.

Thanks again Mr Sivers,


Talking about people who are definately not pushing the boat up the hill, these 2 make me laugh so much. I posted their version of Rickety Tickety Tin post …this one is funny too!