Not even a pair of thumbs stapled together (I’m not sure how I did it either) or the sight of ‘Twins Club’ (like a nightmare you never wake up from), could take the glow from the last few days before Christmas. Being the sole male member of the school it was inevitable I would be asked to be Father Christmas for the Christmas Fayre. This, I thought, would be the perfect opportunity to gain revenge on the kids that had pissed me off this term.
The reality was very different. As soon as the children entered the grotto, all nervous and wide-eyed, my heart melted. I loved it. In fact I needed to be asked by the Head Teacher to ‘pick it up’ as the queues to visit were so long; the punters weren’t spending money on other stalls.
I made a great Father Christmas. I adopted a voice that at first I couldn’t place, before realising it was Mr Kipling. I guffawed, smiled widely, slapped my knee and generally Christmas camped it up to good effect.
The trick, I found, is to listen and pick up on their cues. I was able to create the illusion to them that I really was this omnipotent, all-seeing magical being. In fact I was so good; I intend to be Father Christmas for two months of the year and a psychic medium for the remaining ten. It’s the same process. “What do you want for Christmas?” “I want Lego” “Lego! I knew that was top of your list!” is not dissimilar to “I’m getting the name…John, is there a John in the audience?” “Now John it’s not been easy has it?”
One visiting mother told me she wanted to “swap her kids”. I was initially stunned. “For what?” I thought. The only things I had to barter with were some hastily wrapped treats from Poojah’s Sweet and Savoury. Eventually I discovered she was saying “swab her kids” for an undisclosed illness. I asked her to leave a couple of mince pies and a carrot and I’d do my best to bring her some antibiotics.
The Xmas Nativity play arrived. As I watched the excluded children pressing their faces against the glass door and watching, I envied them. Only because I happened to be sat in front of the most tone-deaf kid in my class who to her credit, sang with great monotone gusto.
We’d asked the parents to provide white sheets with holes in them. Meaning holes for their arms, not for their eyes. My class were supposed to be angels; instead it resembled a meeting of the Klan.
One child was scolded for gyrating during the Nativity scene. Now, strictly speaking, Section 5.2 of the Behaviour Policy states ‘There IS something wrong with a little Bump n Grind’ but I’ve also sat through enough school plays to know that parents love anything that breaks the monotony of the school play.
This child, to be fair, had not had the best of weeks. He’d grafittied the playground (rookie mistake number 1: don’t write your own name) and then used an ICT lesson to type up some choice words for a previous teacher (rookie mistake number 2: don’t then print it off on my printer and sign your name at the end of it). The fact that this child had raised the blood pressure of a teacher I particularly dislike made it all the more pleasing to give him ‘Star of the Week’.
The same repellent teacher had declared that she ‘loved her job’ which set my teeth on edge. Between witnessing her bullying of children, the general atmosphere in the staff room (or as I’ve renamed it ‘Dragons Den’) plus a paltry seven of us showing up for the Staff Christmas Party, the signs are clear it will soon be time to go. I made my intentions all the more drunkenly obvious by suggesting we toast to “new beginnings”.