Monthly Archives: May 2013


The reactions to my leaving were many and varied. My lovely NQT mentor had tears in her eyes as I broke the news. The Head Teacher was equally devastated “We’re going to miss you Tom” she muttered. I didn’t bother to correct her.

I set to marking their SATs papers. “I taught them well” I thought as I read that ‘bats sometimes pick other people’s noses” and ‘hedgehogs have a second brain in their nipple’ (blame the internet for that one). I’d told one child “you won’t be able to copy your partner in the test!”. She proved me wrong and did. On the plus side she got better than expected results.

The trials we faced were many and varied too. Technology has let us down so many times in the end I stopped one lesson and asked “Has anyone booed a computer before?” There was the inevitable “I have!” ignoring this, I instructed the class to boo the laptops for a full minute. It didn’t amount to much, they didn’t learn anything but we all felt marginally better.

What I didn’t expect after this was the merest mention of any form of technology would be greeted by at least one “boo!”. The passing Deputy Head misheard it as a “moo” and reminded me they were a little too old to be taught farmyard animal sounds.

The other trial involved what I entitled the ‘Massive Arse Covering Exercise’. I don’t mean by this I have an arse the size of the Rock of Gibraltar; rather, I needed to create the illusion I’d been more efficient that I actually was, hence ‘covering my arse on a global scale’.

The last trial of the week has already gained folklore status. In fact several of the staff contravened healthy and safety regulations just to build a campfire, to retell the ‘Tale of the Titanic Turd’. This is my version…

I only venture into the children’s toilets to either stop children doing the old ‘soap in a sock as a weapon’ trick or to correct the grammar of the graffiti. On this occasion I heard a child scream. By the time I arrived he was speaking in tongues and pointing at the cubicle. It was then I saw it. It was like the monolith from ‘2001’ if it was made from Winalot.

It was balanced precariously on the toilet seat. It could only have been created by a child levitating over the seat…and were those arms reaching out? Without a thought for my own personal safety I attacked it with the only thing to hand…

I’d forgotten the kid was still there. By the time the ordeal was over, I turned, breathless and holding a dented bog brush. Although the boy was clearly still in shock, I felt like we had both experienced a ritual, a purification of sorts. I nearly passed the bog brush to him and over a symphonic swell announced “Take it, it’s yours now”.

It wasn’t long before the conspiracy theorists had set to work. “The rule of three!” they exclaimed. It had happened on the third day of the third week, in trap three and needed three flushes.

Next, how to find the culprit? The only clues we had were that it was a boy and he was on a high fiber diet. Look away now Sir Jamie of Sainsbury, but to avoid suspicion kids spent their lunchtime gorging on processed food just to avoid suspicion. We may never know unless we catch the floater that did the floater red-handed.

To segue to shit’s smaller in size (I don’t mean it of course), I’ve spent the last few days report writing. To wrap up, a quick guide for parents about what to watch out for in their children’s reports;

(name) is the centre of attention/full of beans/a real character – he/she is broadly reviled.

 (name)  is a very enthusiastic participant in every food tasting session – he/she is morbidly obese

(name) is willing to have a go – don’t ever expect to see them on a podium

 (name) keeps himself to himself – he’s our number 1 suspect for what happened in that cubicle


Wants and needs

Nerves were perceptible. My class were sitting their SATs and I was awaiting an interview. I felt better as I was wearing my lucky pants. I also felt vulnerable as I’d forgotten to wear anything else.

We had a shift around which meant we were in another classroom. Our own classroom is so small I imagine it was once used as either an asylum cell or interrogation room. The extra space was liberating. I found myself teaching in an extravagant style, with lots of hand waving and walking around the classroom for no clear reason. I even laid down in the library corner, just because I could.

In the Science lesson that followed we looked at changes that occur from children to adults. One child remarked that when you’re an adult “your craziness grows”. I thought it was an odd remark until I sat in on her Child Protection Meeting and heard just how crazy her life had become.

I remembered her once recounting a dream in which an alien had entered the classroom. This was a chance I felt to assuage any concerns and make her feel safe. “I bet I got rid of it” I said, looking at my most assertive and determined. “No” she replied “you ran around screaming”

I felt like I had ants in my lucky pants as we then sat through the most interminable of class assemblies. It says it all that when we got back to class I asked them what it was about. One hand went up. “It was about eggs, I think”. I would have turned a deaf ear if my class had started booing them. At one point I hoped a giant whisk would appear.

Messages then started to appear on my whiteboard. They began innocently enough, then gradually got weirder. I’m expecting by next week to have a message asking me to raise a million pound and hide it in a hollow tree trunk in Hyde Park. I’m less concerned about raising the money as I am about getting a hollow trunk onto public transport.

The interview was a protracted affair. If I smile for too long, I eventually look like I’m being coerced into doing it at gunpoint. The lesson I taught involved me telling the class they were designing a climbing frame for the playground. Their responses were so enthusiastic it occurred to me they thought I was from the local council.

When the news reached me that I’d been successful, I felt a bit like the hollow trunk. The truth is I’m only moving schools because I’m moving away. I was very relieved to have it but this was no time to run around screaming.

As I arrived back in school, I was greeted by my class with such an enthusiastic group hug, I felt even sadder that I would soon be gone. I wondered if the children in my next class would one day do the same thing.

I somehow doubt it. Their first words will be “Where’s our f*****g climbing frame?”