The first part of the lesson was going in to the Exhibition which is mounted by the Art Department each year and that was excellent – though we had to get in in a rather roundabout way as the doors were locked. And the film wasn’t working because everything was switched off and . . . but the content made up for everything.
The kids, given a relatively short time to take it all in, seemed pleased by the visit and I made them write illustrated letters of appreciation to Suzanne on their computers. As someone who has had to live on benign neglect as far as her efforts have been concerned, she is going to have the shock of her life!
One of the less able, but obviously more intuitive children asked, perceptively that wouldn’t Suzanne suspect that I had incited them to this act of simple courtesy! She will know immediately! But I suppose that it is a sign of maturity to understand that knowing this is not to negate the positive effects! They have much to learn. Which is why they are in school, of course.
The timetable has been suspended for today and after my two hour stint with the 1ESO and the quid pro quo being that my time with 3ESO was taken away, I found myself with nothing that I had to do until almost 4.00 pm. A nod, as they say, being as good as a laugh to a dumb hyena, so I departed in faith and fear and went out to lunch with Toni.
And very pleasant it was too – and this time both of us had a decent meal, apart from one false choice on Toni’s part involving the dreaded cheese, which of course worked in my favour and gave me a tasty extra morsel.
I am now back in school waiting to do my bit in a darkened room keeping recalcitrant schoolchildren from wrecking the furniture by showing them a film. So, my last teaching lesson in my career will be babysitting! I am sure that there is a moral to be drawn from that somewhere, but I will leave it for others to do the drawing of it!
So I wait. Tomorrow the Big Day when the comedy will be over
I suppose, looking on the bright side, I could not have had a better “lesson” to end my career than babysitting a group of Year 7 pupils on the penultimate day of term at the end of that day – because it couldn’t have been worse.
Over thirty years of teaching experience and I was struggling to control a small group of off their heads students! If nothing else it gives scaffolding to my resolve to give up. Teaching I mean! Though at the end of the day as I walked, shell-shocked from the classroom, I was probably ready to give up more!
When I went back to the staffroom I met other veterans of the Year 7 Campaign, all equally traumatized. Thank god I am not going to have to cope with this year after they come back refreshed revitalized and ready for further frays. My colleagues are, very sincerely, welcome to them. And any residual ideas of the “odd day” of supply vanished in a spasm of concentrated horror at just how bad young people can be. They are now, officially, someone else’s problem!
As another teacher said in rather more trying circumstances, “It is finished!” My contract is ended, the money is in the bank and I don’t have to go back. The Third Floor beckons and the OU material is begging to be studied and assimilated.
The “fiesta” was rather more subdued than usual with far fewer parents turning up – or so it seemed. The Tóm-bola as opposed to the Tom-bóla was its usual odd self. There is no competition in this event and the only amusement it affords is watching rich people deliberate over spending small amounts of money for a good cause.
The meal was excellent and the pleasing effects of the Cava Sangria were augmented by the stimulating conversation of my colleagues. The speeches came and went with three colleagues being honoured for their joint efforts in giving three-quarters of a century of service to the school!
The best speech was given by a redoubtable Scottish lady who commandeered the microphone and, ignoring the increasingly hatchet faced directora regaled the company with a lively and amusing Cava-fuelled speech which almost ended in a tug or war over the microphone, but she won and continued to great applause!
The actual end was a series of kisses and hugs and that was it. A career over and the spacious days of summer to look forward to.
Home and a swim: a clear indication of how the immediate future should pan out!
In the Old Days, after the drunken debauch that the end of the summer term usually entailed, I did all those things that the pressure of work precluded my completing.
There will be the ceremonial packing of the ties; the putting away the white shirts and folding the black socks. The black shoes will be put back in their accustomed places and await their regeneration for funerals, weddings, operas and official occasions.
The subscription to The Guardian will be reactivated and my daily drive to the swimming pool will recommence.
Life without Institutional Education begins!