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?