From There… To Here

The social history of Wester Hailes

2 POEMS ABOUT…TEACHING BOOKKEEPING!

Journeying through the Sentinel archive in our continuing mission to re-discover and publish old poetic gems, we came across these two pieces from December 1991 and January 1992.

In the first, a bit of irreverent fun is had by pupil at the expense of teacher in the time-honoured fashion. The second is a rather plaintive retort by said teacher bemoaning his lot and the hopelessness of his task (in time-honoured fashion) before signing off with his own epitaph.

WHO WOULD BE A LECTURER?

Come with us and spend your day
Training at the WHMA
Accounts taught by Jon Corrigan
Now there’s a man who is far gone
His sleepless nights are full of care
Wondering how his pupils will fare
And what will the day ahead of him be
Thumping bookkeeping into some thick trainee?
Trying to make their small brains bigger
By quoting balance sheet and figure
“Oh no” thinks he “that will not do”
I’ll show these pests a thing or two”
Before I crack from sheer depression
I’ll do my Michael Jackson impression
When they start to drive me up the wall
My aftershave will sedate then all
So he fishes out a tape of  “Thriller”
And sprays on lashings of “Eau de Killer”
So if you’re bored and on the dole
And feel some laughter is good for your soul
Go to your Jobcentre right away
And sign up to come to WHMA.
 
– Elen Ford, Calders
 
CORRIGAN’S REVENGE
 
I am the Jon Corrigan portrayed in a poem published in the December edition of the Sentinel. Here is my defence. I’ve decided to let these rapscallion trainees at WHMA hear my side of the story so here goes.
 
THE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS OF TEACHING
 
Only after three years of expertise
Do I find myself upon my knees
Doing four jobs as one person
(I only have one head)
Including computers, accounts, teaching every lesson
It’s a wonder I’m not dead!
These things can drive a man to despair
And a constant change of underwear
Because of the aftershave poured on to quench
The cold sweat that will always drench
My fevered brow each anguished day
Working my guts out at WHMA
So if I seem a little strange
It isn’t that you pupils have managed to derange
A very balanced and capable man
Although you’ve done the best you can
I’m more than a little under pressure
From teaching trainees not quite up to my measure
So if I die just bury me
In the shade of any computer key
And print my epitaph with great pride
HERE LIES A TEACHER WHO REALLY TRIED
 

Come on, we can’t believe the experience for all concerned was quite as funny and fraught as these exchanges suggest. So, Jon, Elen or anyone else who attended the bookkeeping classes at the Wester Hailes Management Agency, why don’t you contact us with your memories of what it was really like?

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