Tag Archives: paranoia

Tutoring Tales

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The very warmest of salutations to you, lovely reader, on this long-awaited day of Fri.  On an unrelated note, my brain is very fuzzy and I am in desperate need of coffee.  Would you like anything from the kettle?

To supplement my rock ‘n’ roll writer’s lifestyle (ahem), I tutor some kids in English and Maths.  The kids are aged between six and ten, and I love them all to bits.  Some of them have their “challenging” moments, and to be perfectly honest I’m not always in the mood to rehash the five times table, but there’s no question that I love my job.

I also love the bizarre (but usually fairly sound) wisdom that my students come out with.  Here are some of the funniest, sweetest and weirdest things my little ones have said during lessons.  (By the way, I put a couple of these on Facebook as and when they occurred, so apologies for the repetition.)

1) The would-be dinosaur owner

Child: did the dinosaurs go to heaven?
Me: oh, yeah, definitely.
Child: do people in heaven get to have dinosaur pets?
Me: probably.
Child: you’ll go to heaven before me, because I’m only six and you’re about a hundred. Will you save me a dinosaur?

Yes, you evil little legend. Yes I will.  Although I should point out that I am twenty-five, which is A LOT nearer to six than it is to a hundred.  I wouldn’t usually mind too much about something like that, but we were at the ends of a Maths lesson…

2) The future feminist

Me: So what kind of characters do you usually find in fairy stories?
Child: Baddies and witches and a Prince Charming.
Pause.
Child: Why isn’t there a Princess Charming?
Me: I don’t know. Why?
Child: Because us guys are sometimes stupid and we need girls to help us.

The cutest thing about this one is that the kid genuinely wanted to know.  It was obvious to him that men need saving as much as women do, and he was baffled by the notion that men didn’t get a chance to swoon and women to ride in and kill the dragon.  Feminists, rejoice and be glad: this kid is a winner.

3) The paranoid artist

Child: I can’t finish colouring this picture in.
Me: ‘Course you can.
Child: No.  No, I can’t.
Me: Why not?
Child: I’ve been poisoned.
Me: …with what?
Child: Poison.
Me: Ok.  Who poisoned you?
Pause.
Child: Robert Mugabe.

Either this kid has been watching too much evening news, or he is an incredibly well-disguised political enemy of Zimbabwe’s current government.  I sort of hope it’s the second one.

4) The sibling swapper

Child: My brother is so annoying.  Do you have a brother?
Me: Yep.
Child: Do you get annoyed with him?
Me: Nah.  We used to wind each other up when we were your age, but we’re very close friends now.
Child: Is he nice to you?
Me: Yeah, he’s very nice.
Child: Can I borrow him sometimes?  You can borrow mine.

Seems fair, doesn’t it?  No?  I’m not allowed to abduct a six year-old boy who can burp the alphabet in exchange for my twenty-three year-old brother (who is pretty busy with his degree but would totally be up for this because it’s an excuse to play with Lego)?  Well, I wish someone’d said.  

5) The one who won’t be fooled

Child: Mum says I need to know about Maths for when I’m a grown up.
Me: She’s absolutely right.
Child: She says if I don’t know Maths no one will talk to me and I’ll have to wear a big pink badge saying “I don’t know Maths” and people will laugh at me.
Me: …
Child: I don’t really believe that, though.  I think I just need it for looking after my money and stuff.

God bless that mother, trying so hard to capture her son’s imagination when all she had to do was tell him the truth.  Apparently, six year-olds are ok with their future financial responsibilities.  Who knew?

Have a glorious Friday, you lovely thing.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Byrne

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Hello, dear reader!  How are you?

Today I turned 25, which is lovely because I have an excuse to eat lots of cake and do pretty much whatever I like (within the limits of physics, morality and the law, obviously).  Having said that, I am not actually very good at birthdays.  This is for three reasons:

1) The paranoia: will my friends turn up to my party?  Do they still like me?  Have they decided in the last twelve hours that none of them can be bothered to trek to North London for cake and scones?!  …Actually, what am I saying?  My friends would walk through fire to get to cake.

2) The perfection crisis: I think we all do this.  On our birthdays we expect perfect weather, green traffic lights, punctual public transport and shiny, healthy-looking hair.  It’s the one day of the year when everything is supposed to go our way.  People who are angry with us should automatically forgive us, we shouldn’t have to go to work and frankly the washing up can be left ’til tomorrow.  (That’s such a lie.  I’m definitely going to do the washing up once I’ve finished this.)

3) I have been known, upon  hearing the greeting “Happy Birthday!” to accidentally utter “thanks, you too” in response.

Luckily, I share my birthday with some awesome people who are better at this stuff than I am (and if they wished me a happy birthday, that embarrassing response would actually make sense):

  • Ed Byrne: one of my favourite Irish comedians, who also happens to be BFFs with Dara O’Briain and has some brilliant stories about him, such as this one.  I’ve met Ed Byrne (as you can see from the picture), and he’s lovely.  I hope he’s having a brilliant day.  (Milton Jones is lovely as well, so I hope his birthday is nice, whenever it is.)
  • Alex Pettyfer: you know him, the guy with the face who was in that film.  Yeah, him.  Apparently people tell my friend Ben that he looks a lot like Alex Pettyfer, but I think Ben has a less grumpy/confused-looking face, which is good.  (In fact, you can judge for yourself – he’s the blond chap in the picture.)  Happy birthday Alex; do try to crack a smile.
  • Mandy Moore: I always think that I should hate her, but I don’t.  She was very funny in Scrubs, she was excellent in Tangled and in general she seems alright at what she does.  So why do I want to hate her?  I don’t know.  Sorry, Mandy.  Have a nice birthday.
  • Theodosius II: born 401 AD, he became Emperor of the Eastern half of the Roman Empire at the age of seven.  That is one heck of a birthday present.
  • Vincent Jaskowski: not a famous man (although he should be, purely based on his generosity and ability to do strange voices), but one of my closest friends and the person who deserves to have the best birthday of us all.

Have a stupendously lovely day (even if it isn’t your birthday), and I hope that wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, cake will find you somehow.