A Cookstown mathematics teacher of 21 years experience has been cautioned by the Education Board after his unusual methods were reported by angry parents.
Barney McGrath, who was born in Ardboe but moved to Cookstown in 1979, defended his style, claiming he had already coached over 1000 pupils to success in O Level and GCSE Maths as well as Additional Maths.
Tyrone Tribulations managed to acquire a copy of the latest homework he set his class. It included:
If you beat the head clean off 6 Derry men and kicked the tripe out of 4 Armagh men, how many men have you hammered?
Another puzzled posed was:
You make 16 bottles of illegal alcohol but the cops arrive and confiscate them all. However, during a fake road block you set up and the ensuing bloody shoot-out involving you and the police, you manage to retrieve a quarter of your poitin. How many bottles have you now?
Parent Josie Mulligan admitted she called the Board after her son produced this latest homework:
“Our wee Eoin was having nightmares and wetting the bed. We couldn’t put our finger on what was causing it until he started calling out things like ‘the square root’ and random numbers during one of his episodes. It appears Mr McGrath was terrifying the youngsters with his horrific sums. The man’s a headcase.”
Mr McGrath (49) admitted his methods may be considered somewhat outdated in today’s society but claimed you could hear a pin drop during his lessons:
“People need to loosen up a bit. Maths is maths no matter how you dress it up. My classes are memorable. For example, today I brought in 16 of my wife’s bras and asked the lads to hold up three quarters of them. They’ll never forget that sum.”
His school, St Bruce’s Secondary, revealed he was suspended this afternoon after he set another homework which included:
During an important match between Ardboe and Moortown, 14 innocent Ardboe players received limb fractures, 4 Moortown players pretended to have broken noses and 3 of the officials were slashed by knife-wielding Moortown women. How many people went home unhappy?
An aspiring astronaut, Jenny Quinn from Tyrone, has landed herself a job monitoring cashiers in ASDA after wrongly filling out a job application form to become a NASA Space Mission Engineer whilst under the influence of ‘a few bottles of Buckfast’.
Quinn (27), who boasts a First Degree in Astronomical and Biological Engineering and a Masters in Aerodynamic Mathematics, had hoped to get a job working for NASA after completing over 2000 hours of flying and getting her blood pressure down to 140/90 in a sitting position. Blaming a mild form of dyslexia mixed with booze bought in Portadown, she bemoaned the direction her new career has taken her:
“Yes, it was a bit of a shock when the job centre phoned and told me they’d the perfect post for me. I was over the moon, especially when she said the place I’d be working in was in Cookstown, about 20 miles away. I was surprised that NASA had an office in Tyrone but they’d be secretive about these things. It was only when I looked at the application form I had photocopied that the penny dropped. I’d written ASDA instead of NASA whilst half cut.”
The brainy boffin is now the most qualified worker in the shop but is determined to make the most of the error:
“I maybe had more than three bottles of Buckfast come to think of it but I can’t dwell on the past. I’m trying to apply my skills to this new job. I’ve already made a contraption where you put your weight into this computer and then scan your food and it tells you whether you really need it or not. There have been some teething problems after a hefty lad smashed the thing to pieces when it rejected his 2-for-1 pizza purchase. I’ll get there though.”
In a freak of coincidence, Pat ‘Red Boy’ Hagan (59) from Killyman, whose only previous job was catching chickens at Moy Park, is on his way to America after writing NASA instead of ASDA on his form.
A Dungannon student has admitted he is ‘afraid’ and ‘lonely’ after receiving news he has achieved 4 As in his A-Level results, and is currently considering leaving the country for somewhere like Japan or Denmark for a week or two.
Colin Rodgers, who was described as a ‘quiet and hard-working pupil’ by his teachers and ‘a bit…you know….odd’ by his family, is the first to do A-Levels in the Rodgers’ family history, dating back to 1455. He achieved top grades in Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry and Dance.
His father John, a bouncer outside The Fort Bar, complained:
“Our Colin would need to take a long hard look at what he’s at here. No one in our estate goes out and tries to get good grades in school. That’s just stupid. He’s asking for a kicking and I’m talking about around our breakfast table when he comes down those stairs. Who does he think he is – Graham Norton or something?”
News of Rodgers’ success has spread like wildfire around the greater Dungannon area with reports of graffiti such as ‘Colin’s a dick’ reportedly scrawled outside Curley’s Supermarket on the Oaks Road. Loyal friend and full cousin Kenny Rodgers added:
“I just don’t know him any more. He went off the rails at GCSE, getting nine A* grades and taking up the saxophone. And he never talks about DLA and dole queues and normal stuff like that. It’s like he’s sick or something.”
Colin hopes to pursue his academic studies in Cambridge University in England, studying medicine and law. His father added:
“England’s good enough for him. And when he’s a fully practising barrister he need not expect to come here looking advice on how to fill out forms for claiming stuff like looking after long-dead ancestors.”
The SELB have set up a hotline for anyone student seeking advice on how to cope with good grades.
Stephen O’Brien, an astronomy enthusiast and budding rocket scientist, has gone underground after achieving three ‘A star’ grades in his A Levels – the first pupil to do so in the greater Loughmacrory area. His father John, an unemployed handyman, says it’s no wonder:
“Typical of our Stephen. I’d have been at him for years to go out and be like the other lads, kicking tyres and clodding the police, but there was no talking to him. He’d always have his nose stuck in some oul stupid book about NASA or Aristotle. He was a complete embarrassment and we’d keep him locked away in the attic when the priest or other important person came around in case he let us down a barrowful with his big words and worldwide knowledge of current affairs. Some puke.”
Stephen achieved the highest grade possible in three subjects – Physics, Mathematics and Engineering – and was suspended for two months by Loughmacrory Integrated College earlier in the year for suggesting he took on another couple of A Levels. Headmaster Mr Leo Kelly, added:
“A real wee buckin smart arse. He had the teachers’ heads wrecked by knowing stuff before they taught it. We hate that. And he did all his homework, the stew. Well, he got what he deserved. He’ll have to carry those grades around his neck like a living purgatory for the rest of his life if he stays. I feel sorry for the parents.”
Stephen is talking about moving to Donaghmore where he feels he’ll fit right in:
“Loughmacrory isn’t ready for a boy like me. Over the last few decades we’ve seen local cross-dressers, bisexuals, Derry supporters and Muslims all come out in the area and not an eyelid batted. I just like reading but can’t come out about it. I’m off to Donaghmore where I can freely run about with a Hemmingway epic under my arm like the other youngsters.”
There’ll be a celebration party thrown tonight for all those deciding to stay in the area after failing the whole lot.