Evidence that the Muppets and uncooked pasta can appear in the same blog post

Two things that happened today.

1. In one of my English lessons, the students were experimenting with pronouncing the word 'monologist' (the speaker in a monologue). None of them could get it right, because if you start the word with the stress on 'mon' as in 'monologue' the word runs away with you and the 'g' ends up as a hard 'g'.

I had an epiphany. 'Think of the Muppets theme tune,' I said.


I sang it. 'MonoloGIST, doo-doo-dah-doodoo, monoloGIST, doo-doo-doo-doo ...'

Here are the Muppets doing it.


One or two of the girls laughed. Others smiled. Some looked worried about being in the same room as me. That's a shame, because they're trapped with me until the summer exams next year.

2. I'm lucky in that our school has a proper chef to cook the lunches, so the food is usually yum-yum. But today I chose a slice of ham and some pasta salad. The pasta was nearly-raw.

Sometimes in lessons I ask students to write poems about emotions, without mentioning the emotion itself, but representing it instead in concrete images. Here is a poem I've just written. Guess the emotion.

It's a train. The back end of it
pulling out of the station
where you stand
catching your breath,
clutching your ticket
to the theatre show.
You will see the second act.

It's a huge Valentine's card
with a velvet heart on its front,
a £4.95 sticker on its back,
handwriting you don't recognise
and a promise of love
in its centre.
You see the scrawl in the corner
too late to protect yourself.
A joke, from your brother.

It's a pasta salad
with peppers, onions,
juicy dried tomato, energy
for the long afternoon
and colourful on your plate
next to the plain diet ham.
You bite. You wince.
You nudge the pasta to the edge.
The ham comes out as the winner.

Did you guess?

'I guessed she meant 'disappointed'. Boy, I know how she feels.'


  1. Yes, I had disappointed....but I like the little pup showing his feelings....disappointed, disgruntled, disgusted...what a display.

    1. That pup looks like a human, it's so disappointed.

  2. I hope you got your money back for that pasta salad.

  3. I bet I'd enjoy being trapped in a classroom with you. I'm a good little learner and I like the Muppets. When lunch is free, I guess you take what you get. At least it's usually good, as you said. The chef had a bad pasta day, perhaps.


    1. A good little learner who likes Muppets. You are the ideal student!

  4. The pasta was rather too Al dente then ?
    I had a marvellous English literature A' level teacher who wore a string of painted pasta around her neck - a home made present from her young son. I will never forget her working on Lady Macbeth's speeches with us and how, " we fail " can be delivered so many ways. I always wait with baited breath when watching Macbeth a play I love because of that teacher.

    I expect your students will never forget your rendition of The Muppets' theme song !

    1. That's such a coincidence. I am about to teach that very scene to my students on Monday. I will forgo the pasta necklace but will try to be inspiring nonetheless. Thanks for the lesson tip!

  5. That puppy seems to have had an unfortunate encounter with a vacuum machine ...

    So it's monoloGIST , not monOlogist ? ( Not that I'm ever likely to say it out loud in company , given the current lack of four syllable conversations here , but one likes to be prepared .)

    1. Ah, you're splitting hairs now. They were trying to say MONologist, which got us into heaps of difficulty, as in the word 'MONologue'. But you're right: the middle syllable would need to be slightly stressed too. Bear all this in mind for the next party when you want to bore someone towards the buffet.

    2. Party ? Do you mean those gatherings with no chairs , not enough wine and far too many monologists ?
      Heavens , no .

    3. That's such a great description of the average party :) I love your comments.

  6. Teachers revealing themselves as human, with a sense of humour, too. Whatever next?

    1. The sense of humour is a survival strategy ...

  7. I wish I'd had you as my English teacher - instead of Mr Harris whose false tooth used to fly across the room when he got excited (it happened a LOT during Shakespeare's plays). Lovely post.

    1. He sounds most entertaining - we used to have one who stuck his tongue out every time he wrote on the board. Chalk in those days, of course. Chalk and talk, with not a whiff of group work or fronted adverbials.

  8. .. Hi Fran ... I hate hard pasta ... the softer the better for me ....
    I love the dog.. just gorgeous.....
    I have difficulty pronouncing words like this at times.....actually I can pronounce'this' very well... it's words like monologist I have difficulty with xxx .. .. have a great day .... Barb xxxx

    1. Ha ha! That made me laugh. Thanks, Barb. x

  9. My kids loved Ma Na Ma Nah so much they insisted I buy the record when it was released.
    it's a good way to learn how to pronounce monologist.

    1. I had Ma Na Ma Nah in my head for at least four days after I wrote that blog post. I had to try and keep singing something else to get rid of it. It's such a feel-good tune, though!


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