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Friday, November 30, 2012

The long slog to Christmas


So, as is usually the way, I find myself in front of a class typing because I am too self-conscious to read openly!

I have not done very much teaching as, surprise, surprise this is an Examination Period in this school!  Who would have thought it!  So my timetable is taken up with revision periods and invigilation.  Invigilation may be easy money, but it does produce marking which I think that I am expected to do with enthusiasm and a closed mouth!

I have been somewhat hampered by my totally understandable reluctance to accept that today is Friday as it feels like a Monday to me.  If you have not taught for the rest of the week then there is no reason to suppose that a sudden day of institutionalized repression will produce anything other than dour Monday blues!

I suppose that everyone should return to a past school at some point in their professional career to get the sort of response that I have been treated to.  Little squeaks of delight and chanted choruses of my name as well as effusive hugs and kisses from the colleagues I left a comparatively short time ago are just some of the demonstrations of glee at my return.  It can’t last, of course, but I will make the most of it while it happens.

Significantly I have had the headteacher breathe, “Thank you!” into my ear which was accompanied by a significant look and I certainly intend to build upon that implied debt!

The first repayment will take the form of my departure this afternoon when my timetable is blank.  The second repayment will be not going to a meeting on Saturday morning which occurs tomorrow!  There is another afternoon when there is a timetabled space and yours truly will not stay around in school to sit sulking when there are OU units of work to be completed.

The only remaining question on my first day is whether or not I will have lunch.  As most of the kids now know that I am back in the school the excitement will have abated a little and I will be able to take my lunch in relative peace.  This will probably be more possible because the staff dining room is hidden away around a corner from the pupils and what for them is not immediately visible does not really exist.

By Monday my reappearance will be old news and I will be accepted as if I had never left.  Even as I walked between one building and another this morning kids were stopping and asking me questions as if I had been with them since the beginning of term.  I suppose all kids look for stability and they are able to go back a few years in my memories.  Even if their names still do and ever will escape me!

Visible changes are few and inconsequential to my view.  Apart from the subtle rearrangement of the front office and the addition of a few more lockers for staff everything seems very much as normal.  It will take another couple of working days before I note anything worth noting about the differences between what was and what is.

I don’t think that the full effect of what I have let myself in for has really struck me yet.  I can kid myself that there are only about twenty days of teaching but that does work out to being more than three full weeks in school – and I have not done more than a week of teaching since I retired again!  It should be interesting if nothing else – and I should never forget that favour thought this might be it is, after all a paid favour!

Getting up at 6.30 am was not as horrific as I expected it to be – though it was full darkness and there is something inherently wrong about such an approach to mere work!  The roads were clear, but it was clear also that if I had delayed my departure by anything more than a few minutes I would have been caught up in delays.  It is a harsh reality of working in Barcelona that prompt departure and indecently early arrival is essential if one does not want to waste one’s life by sitting and fuming in an interminable traffic jam.

My arrival is now old news and it is rapidly seeming that I have never left.  Monday sees the start of a full week though, in a reversion to my school days it seems as if I will have two afternoons off!  Ironically enough the meeting tomorrow (to which I am not going) would be the final touch of my normal school week when I was a schoolboy!  Throughout my time in school from the age of 11 to 18 we had four lessons on a Saturday morning and then either Tuesday or Thursday afternoon off!  One is tempted to say it ends as it began with a school career in which I am not in school for a full week!  How poetic!

Meanwhile the decision time for the OU task is immanent and should be made by tomorrow.  I want to get started on this and get it done long before Christmas.  Such enthusiasm!

Now, after a long half day in school, the relaxation of the weekend and catching up on my OU studies!


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