Look, I know I've been keeping very quiet about this for several years now, but I feel the time is ripe for an outing - and I don't mean a day-trip to Margate. You see, it happened quite by chance, after I dropped a few of them on the floor when I was working at the London School of English many years back, and since then I've been hooked on it. I mean, I made a prediction at the time, and it came true!
So what am I on ... about? Why, the rods, of course, the rods! I've been predicting the future with the aid of my trusty cuisenaire rods for a good ten years now, and I have to 'fess up that I'm a convinced (but perhaps not convincing) Cuisenairomancer. And that's nothing to do with shagging in the kitchen, by the way.
In fact, although the noble art of Cuisenairomancy is not recognised by the NHS (or anybody else), I firmly believe that every teacher who has a few of these magic rods in his/her box of tricks possesses the ability to divine the future. Let me give you an example or two, and see if you're with me or not, eh?
Firstly, it's important to use just seven long rods, and take them out of the bag one by one, as you softly intone a Nepalese mantra. The pale colours should emerge first - yellow, light green - leading up to the darker ones, such as dark red, blue, and black. Place them gently and randomly on the desk in front of you, then stand up and turn round twice.
Are all the rods in the same place? They should be! Have you fallen over? If so, you're probably pissed or still hung over, and the whole exercise will be futile. Go back to bed and try again tomorrow.
Now, take all of the rods in your left hand and throw them gently into the air. Remember to stop singing the mantra and keep your mouth closed as you do this, otherwise the consequences could be fatal. As the rods lie resting on the floor, recite the names of Liverpool's greatest goalscorers. Close your eyes and inhale deeply for one minute exactly.
Now, the position the rods have assumed upon landing on the floor is the most important thing in the art of Cuisenairomancy, so pay careful attention to the following details. Get this wrong and you might be assigning yourself a place in hell, or end up committing yourself to a British Council contract in North Korea for two years.
Closely study the patterns that the rods have made on the floor. Two dark rods pointing away from you mean that you will have to work hard for anything useful in your life - but as an EFL teacher you probably know that already. If you can decipher the shape of the number four made by any of the rods, that means trouble at the workplace - so you might want to go and pick a fight with the DoS, just to gain the advantage of surprise.
However, the most important sign is an unbroken circle or square (OK, perhaps even a triangle). If the rods make such a shape or pattern on the floor, you can make a prediction - which will definitely come true! This is what happened to me that fateful day at the LSE back in 1999, and I correctly predicted that I would get the sack by the end of the week. Amazing!
To date I have also predicted England beating Germany 5-1 away, the winners of the past three Grand Nationals, and Alex Case getting married. Of course, there have been a few 'near-misses', too, notably my prediction that I would be chosen to represent the Science Fiction Loony Party in the last UK elections. Unfortunately, I was arrested for thieving a couple of Robert Rankin books instead, and was doing a small spot of porridge at the time the rest of the nation were choosing their political masters. But the odd bum prediction should be seen as casting no shadow over the entire science of Cuisenairomancy, I believe.
Of course, it takes a good while to understand every secret message behind the manifold permutations of the seven magic rods, but have no fear; my book "Cuisenairomancy for Teflers" will be appearing soon, and the discerning EFL teacher can add these rare and exotic skills to his/her ever-expanding range of off-the-wall teaching techniques and quirky classroom tricks.
As for my forthcoming predictions, let me see ... Yes, Scott Thornbury will marry Pete Sharma, and Brighton and Hove Albion will avoid relegation. There will also be a severe earthquake in Harrogate during next month's IATEFL conference, and every Tefl guru you can name will be swept out to sea in the ensuing tsunami.
Don't believe me? Just come back here in a year's time, and we'll see who's got it right or not, mate!
PS: If you don't have any rods at hand, frozen chipolatas might just do the trick instead.