And it shall come to pass that a baby will be found lying in a manger. It also came to pass that I found a baby lying in the middle of the staff room. On further inspection, it was the baby Jesus having been used and tossed aside post-nativity. I shoved it in a cupboard in the hope that one day a Ofsted inspector may also come to pass.
Nothing sums up Christmas in a Primary School better than the cleaner wearing a flashing ‘Santa’ hat while cleaning up puke. Equally though, it’s the wonderment and excitement that emanates from the children. It just needs a couple of adults to try to fuck it up.
As I pulled on my Father Christmas outfit for the last time this year (stress related weight loss has at least meant the trousers are fashionably ‘low slung’), I was determined to ride out the last day with a smile on my face. There were all smiles from the woman from the local council. She was hearing how well the autistic child in my class was progressing.
“That’s all very positive” she beamed, rubber stamping the idea that he will be at School for the day, increasing his current half day embargo. I’d been forewarned to keep things light, so I sat there trying to mirror her positivity while wondering just how catastrophic the effect a full day of his behaviour will have on the rest of the class.
For the moment, the rest of the class were looking…larger. Teaching Tip #1: Don’t tell your class that if they come in on the last day of term they will receive a present. You will end up with more than 30. It was heart warming to see them open their presents though. Each year I have to write in the card; Dear (Name of Child) I wish you an equal amount of Christmas merriment as your classmates, Your Teacher. This is to avoid calls of favouritism. To avoid any suggestion of favouritism among the nest of vipers that are the adults in my year group, I got them fuck all.
One child had appeared to write the ‘f’ word repeatedly on the envelopes of the cards he was giving out. He pleaded his innocence. He is from a large family of six, so I asked each of them to come in and write the ‘f’ word on my ‘Learning Wall’ in order to find the culprit. Let it never be said I’m not thorough.
The last Assembly was unintentionally entertaining. One child placed his fingers in his ears as the local reverend talked of the real reason behind Christmas. We couldn’t establish if it was a reactionary religious decision on the part of the child, or if that he, like the rest of us, found him unfathomably dull.
Some girls from the local dance club were on hand to liven things up and being dressed as Father Christmas meant I was an obvious target to copy their dance moves. I hadn’t danced sober in public…ever. At least once I’d got my breath back I could tell the School my ‘Father Christmas’ story.
I’ve told this story so many times I’m beginning to believe it myself. I relived a moment 15 years ago, looking out of a window, with my nephew on Christmas Eve. Suddenly there was a flash of light and something shot through the sky. This was all the excuse I needed to say that it was Father Christmas.
Over the years the story became embellished with the sound of bells, the sight of reindeer etc but as I told the story I could see even the more cynical, older children beginning to believe. It was truly a beautiful moment. It was. It was until one of the knitters at the guillotine from my year group, burst out laughing.
The spell was broken. I hurried to the end of the story and took my leave. I knew full well the snake in the grass wasn’t laughing intentionally. She laughed because she couldn’t stand to see me have this moment. Sadly, it’s the culture within my year group that the critical eye never fails to find a flaw.
Revenge was sweet. The autistic child pinched her arm. Her child-like reaction to it, meant I needed to go through the motions reprimanding the child, while secretly hoping he does it again. If there’s any justice it will be a double whammy delivered on the first of the month.
We finished the day sewing glove puppets. The class worked so diligently I felt inspired to open a sweat shop. All joking aside, the New Year may prove to be a time of alternative job hunting. The pupil progress meeting could be summed up by the disappointment of being told my class were not making enough progress, with the suggestion, albeit put nicely, to ‘work harder’.
My last Christmas present, an ‘After birth sensation pelvic floor stimulator’, raised the intended end-of-day smile. To be fair to the confused child, I was still wearing the fat suit.