Mr Ross tries not to count to No 7

Date: 19th August 2022

Our second blog from our Donald.

Mr. Ross tries not to count to7

As he starts his day with the new intake for S4, erstwhile English teacher, Mr. Ross stands up in the staffroom and makes his way along the corridor to the stairs, which lead to the floor where the English Department can be found.

It’s been a long week and one which he would rather forget…

But he knows that pupils can be very unforgiving…

Picture the scene…

During the week, Mr. Ross discovered that of his entire certificated classes, National 5 and Highers, only 7 passed.


That is the worst result that he has had, the school has had, the entire local authority has ever suffered.

Since the result was announced it has hit the local press, the national newspapers and local and national radio have been filled with irate people calling for all sorts of retribution, most of them painful!

But Mr. Ross must pick himself up and move on. His last appointment, in Leith, Edinburgh had ended prematurely. At interview he had made his case, that he had been let go before the fruits of his work had been fully realised. His new local authority in Dundee, had been convinced and wanted to help him restore his reputation. They had been very sympathetic and his initial success in Paisley, despite being some years ago had been enough to bolster his application and get him back in the classroom. After all, his new school had always been troublesome since the success it had enjoyed in the 1980’s. Many of pupils from that time were now demanding parents and grandparents…

Serious doubts were now beginning to surface amongst them all about Mr. Ross’s abilities.

But Mr. Ross had little doubt. He believed that he was the guy who could turn things around and was still walking with an air of confidence when he arrived at his classroom to allow in his new class.


Always a difficult year.

And this one was now the testing ground to prove he could teach. Teacher and pupils eyed each other with suspicion. Mr. Ross asked them to sit. They sat. Mr. Ross asked them to take their books out. They took their books out. Mr. Ross settled in for a quiet lesson. They smelled blood, there was no chance.

Within 23 minutes he had been interrupted 5 times by them asking daft questions until, they let go with a barrage.

“Sir!” one wee troublemaker at the back was to shout, inappropriately but with great vigour. Before Mr. Ross could reply, the little scamp asked his question. “I am stuck, sir, it is asking about the days of the week. Now how many of them there would there be?”

Laughter was rippling form the back of the class.

Mr. Ross, having been hopeful of getting things back on track, realised his error of judgment.

He fixed the young terror with as frightful an eye as he could muster and responded, “look it up.”

Then another hand shot up.


The source of the interruption was down the front. “Sir! I was watching one of them old films the other night. I wanted to write about it today, can I?”

Mr. Ross thought this might be some relief. Oh, the fool.

“Sure, son. What film was it?”

“Oh, a western, The Magnificent something or other. Any idea sir, what it as?”

Mr. Ross fixed him with a stare. Then the really bright kid at the back of the class. The one that never causes any issues pipes up as an explanation. “That’s a really good film but not as good as the 1954 classic that it’s based on by Akira Kurosawa. What’s that one called sir?”

“Seven Samurai.”

The voice filled the room, and the red head was all to familiar to everyone in it. “Good to see Mr. Ross, that you have an S4 class filled with such bright prospects. I am sure that not one of them shall let us down this year. Will you class?”

The battle lines drawn at that very moment, headteacher of the Jim McLean Academy of Dundee, Mr, Spence turned on his heels and departed. The nonsense was done, the serious business begun.


Whilst the author asserts his right to this as an original tale, there is still no evidence that there is a Jim McLean Academy, unless you know differently, so this is clearly a work of fiction, though Jack Ross may rue the number 7 for some time to come.

The fact is that during the week, Dundee United, having had praise beyond praise for their European first leg tie against AZ Alkmaar, fell to the joint heaviest European defeat by a Scottish side. They were leading 1-0 from the first leg, and United conceded five in 23 first-half minutes. Jack Ross told BBC Scotland, “I would like to apologise to the travelling fans. For every plaudit and praise we received in the aftermath of last Thursday, we will deserve every bit of criticism we get on the back of that.” And they got plenty…


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