Monthly Archives: October 2012


A dangerous case of ringworm swept the school. We were all on red alert, viewing everything we ate and drank suspiciously and employing the most unpopular children as our official tasters. I’m relieved we reached the day without incident although I did see one child scraping his arse along the carpet (to be fair though, he did this before the outbreak).

My birthday, which has always before coincided with half term, resulted in my hangover’s hangover having a hangover. Bleary-eyed I stared at the first lesson plan. How many times can the children clap in a minute? Shout their name in a minute? Jump up and down in a minute? I wanted to scrape my sorry arse all the way out of there.

I told my class I was 175 years old, for that’s how I l felt. I expected at least one of them to question it. They didn’t even bat an eyelid. One child commented that I “might be older than the head teacher” (should I pass this on?) another that in his original country “you are killed when you reach hundred”.  Dear Loyal subject, congratulations on reaching a hundred! Sorry about your impending senicide, signed Queenie.

The downside to stepping on behaviour in the first term is you make the occasional enemy. When making their potions I appeared in a few too many cauldrons for my liking, one thankfully contained a thousand slags (although I regret she may have meant slugs).

The last day of term provided the children with the opportunity to meet not one, but two living legends. Admittedly one was only pretending to be living, as an actor portraying Mary Seacole. The children were caught up in her incredible story. “Oh if only someone would let me help the soldiers!” our ‘Mary’ wailed “Lord just show me a sign”. At this point her mobile phone went off. She let the potentially good news go to voicemail.

Later we visited our local library and met Michael de Souza, creator of ‘Rastamouse’. I was yanked from the audience to play the ‘eponymouse’ hero. No amount of bling could stop my attempt at Jamaican patois from avoiding a round trip to Essex and crossing the Atlantic a few times. I realised I could never try to take a day off with ‘Foreign Accent Syndrome’.

Happy Half Term!


The whole of the moon

Sometimes the weight on my shoulders is not just caused by the amount of books I’m carrying home to mark. Not giving my class an inch is proving to be energy zapping. I was caught doodling during an Inset, by the Head teacher. I’d drawn a picture of me in bed surrounded by a crowd of shouting faces.

At least the children remember to humour me sometimes. During a role play between a nurse and a soldier, one piped up with “Thank you for curing me, I can’t wait to get back to killing people!” The creepier version followed with an odd child embracing the nurse and whispering “Thanks for the medicine, I will never forgive you, I hope you want to die”. That’s gratitude for you.

To break the unease from the scene, a new child arrived unannounced. It turned out he was one of a family of 11 that had been given the green light to join our school. His father was still dressed in his dressing gown as he dropped him off. With two wives in tow, I could forgive the Hugh Hefner of North London for letting himself go a bit.

I met one of the younger brothers in the line at the school canteen. He was in the midst of telling me that if I ever owned a lizard he could sort me out some frozen crickets, when he tested how hot the soup was by dipping his hand in it. Luckily for him the salad counter was both on and then in hand…I went for the cream crackers and gave the jelly a miss just to be on the safe side.

When a drama company ask you to be a part of their production you can’t help but be flattered. When they tell you it’s because they’re short of a racist, you can’t help but feel a bit paranoid. Do I look racist? Do I walk like one? The white hood and burning cross could have been the giveaway. The story concerned Ruby Bridges, the first black girl to enter an all white school. I had mixed feelings as my class congratulated me on being a “first class bigot”.

When a caretaker asks to borrow your internet you fear the worst. Thankfully he just wanted help with a job application. I was reluctant to type it all out for him but after he’d picked up the mouse and tried to talk into it, I knew he couldn’t do this alone.

My mouth reminded me it was time to go home when I mispronounced a single word from the sentence “Take your shape sheets and sit on the carpet”. My class didn’t take my request literally.

Teaching sometimes rids me of the time to stop and appreciate things. As I watched the new kid trudge sorrowfully home after Dad had said he couldn’t afford for him to join the football team, I caught sight of the moon in all its glory and thanked my lucky stars.