Monday, October 30, 2006

Not about teaching

The last few days of the half term were spent relaxing and trying to achieve at least one night's sleep uninterrupted by sudden night terrors about the number of lessons left until January modules.

I also received a big parcel of books from the lovely people at Amazon including three blogger-written tomes. The first one I read was 'Blood, Sweat and Tea' by Tom Reynolds. His blog 'Random Acts of Reality' is now firmly on my RSS list and will be on my blogroll when I can find some time to update my template.

It's an account of life as a London EMT (=paramedic, although there is a difference) I adore books which draw you into the world of a workplace or institution and this is a really, really good one. It's a well balanced mix of tragic stories, anedotes and fascinating nuggets, told with wit and huge compassion. There's also lots of toe-curling accounts of the impact of government targets, so it's great fodder for my continual howl against the corrosive effects on British life of league tables and the like.

The most extraordinary thing for me was the extent of Tom's enthusiasm, professionalism and sheer goodwill. He regularly characterises himself as hating everyone, but in fact he seems to be an outstandingly decent bloke who is remarkably optimistic in the face of the almost criminal stupidity of many people (such as people who lie about having heart attacks, which results in ambulance drivers hurtling across London at dangerous speeds, only to find that the patient has a bit of a cough which they've had for a few weeks now and won't go away...)

It has honestly made me stop and think. Sure, I have a tough job but hey, I've not had any HIV positive patients' blood in my mouth recently.

Didn't stop me being grumpy as hell today, though.

PS If you want to buy the book, I suggest you go to Tom's blog via the link above and scroll down, then click on the link on the right. But you know that. Sorry.

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