Working In a Pandemic

Surviving as a teacher in a school during a global pandemic

Photo: Max Fischer/Pexels

In a time where the message to most folks seems to be to ‘stay at home’ to keep people safe, I am allowed more bodies in my classroom than could view my covid-ridden corpse at my own funeral. Our collective school tolerance for coughing has moved to DEFCON-4: any kid so much as clears their throat, our blue-suited management team rush in like the secret service to spirit the kids away to one of our two lovely Covid-19 dungeons (yes, we really do have those).

We’ve entered a ludicrously high state of twitchy, leg-jiggling nervous readiness. It’s like living through…

Dust off your dragonbone armour and take one more arrow to the knee, for old times’ sake

Few games of the 21st century have shouted their way into the collective consciousness more loudly than Bethesda’s The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. I can’t quite believe it was released nearly eight long years ago. Remember those TV spots accompanied by the gravelly-Swedishness of Max Von Sydow? And who can forget the contribution that Skyrim made to online meme culture? I mean, I remembered right up ‘till I took an arrow to the knee…

Oh, then there were those YouTube videos of penguins and evangelical preachers collapsing to the mighty sound of ‘FUS-RO-DAH!!’. Skyrim even spawned that most niche of…

Why you should care and what you can do about it

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A few weeks ago I ‘celebrated’ my 32nd ‘name day’. Reflecting on a decidedly disappointing and unremarkable birthday (who wants to be 32, I ask you?), I realised I had been working full-time for a decade.

Ten years of work and I feel like my ‘working life’ has transcended ages of the Earth: I now teach kids who don’t know what ‘floppy disks’ are, have never known the wonder of a ‘Nokia 3310’ or who think ‘Mario Kart’ is a brand-spanking new smartphone game.

Educating about the finer points of 20th and 21st Century pop-culture, is becoming an increasingly tougher…

Or; how I learned to stop wasting my free time, by writing instead

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I have a confession to make — and given the current audience it’s likely to be a shocker:

Until little over a month ago, I had never even heard of Medium.

That is, until the moment my friend Stephen Moore casually slipped into a random, unrelated conversation, some details about his ’online’ jobs.

Wait a minute — A clandestine side-hustle, away from the 9–5 daily grind, as a successful online writer? How attractive!

Hearing that he had been writing for almost two years (also earning some decent…

Regrets on wasted time, poor life choices and some lessons learned from a first-year failure

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I’m not sure if I believe in ‘regret’ in the sense of ‘I wish that hadn’t happened at all’.

I like to think that every experience — no matter how shitty — adds Shrek-style layers to your character and moulds you into the (hopefully) well-rounded mammal that you are today.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing though —I now reflect on past missteps as I chart my course through school, study and work. I can’t help but wonder if just a few key decisions wouldn’t have made the whole messy saga of my 20’s smoother. Or less wastefully expensive.

I see…

Crazily ambitious ideas to fix broken interview practices

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If you are in any sort of position of power: in management, starting a company or growing your business beyond the confines of your garage, I expect you will be interviewing someone, at some point.

Even if you work in entirely on Medium and sip away at a vanilla latte while reading this, on a beanbag in your local artisan coffee joint, you probably still need some means of hiring the ‘right’ people to do your online bidding.

It’s a shame then, that interviews even in the mostly-enlightened 21st century, that interviews still seem to want to

It’s a shame…

They make for great introspection and even improve your pub chat with friends

Those of you who are around the age of thirty may remember the halcyon days of split screen joy. Maybe you have romantic memories of times where you were mocking your friends as you gleefully traded fired pixels back-and-forth in well-worn locations like Facility or Frigate. Or maybe you simply preferred chasing your big-headed friends around for hours as you attempted to paintball them into submission. It’s worth mentioning, too, that even solo play can be a social experience — albeit in a different way. …

Hints for visitors and tourists from a Scottish person

Photo by Luis Mayoral on Unsplash

The annual madness is upon us! The time when our quaint little capital more than doubles in population. The time when there are over 2 million tickets up-for-grabs. The time when you see mankini-wearing unicyclists, evangelical preachers, one-person theatre and penis monologues.

Today, I brave the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Pray for me.

Even for Scottish folks well-accustomed to the Fringe, it can still be a surreal, psychedelic and testing experience.

Especially if you are used to living in places with higher population densities of squirrels and sheep than people.

Even crossing…

The perfect, quick, cheap and thoughtful gift for a special person

Photo by Freddy Castro on Unsplash

For many of us, I’d imagine the thought of writing a personal, intimate letter or a ‘love letter’ to a special person, is horrifying.

It can be daunting to condense thoughts into sentences. Maybe you’re concerned that you won’t even get around to saying what you really want to say. Granted, it probably isn’t as easy as writing angry blog posts online.

Perhaps you just don’t want to appear foolish in front of your partner?

Worse, you might be worried that your kudos won’t ever quite be the same…

How you’ll have to beg, persuade and possibly shaft others to survive in your job.

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

I came down with the Chickenpox at 30 — A dark omen at the start of my middle leadership adventure.

Curse you mother for not sending me to a bloody pox party to exchange bodily fluids with the other sick children!

It turns out at that at the age of 30, the ‘pox’ is a decidedly different beast to the one that leaves kids itchy and scratchy. Especially when you are meant to be sipping your way from Blonde to Weissbier to Pilsner, in the wonderful Brussels, not laid up in hostels and hospitals.

Being asked to strip in broken…

Mackenzie Ross

Scottish Teacher and MSc student at Edinburgh Uni. All about Whisky, Beer, Board Gaming and Dogs. Getting back into writing after a long thesis grind.

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