The Great Lie of the teaching world is that the end of the summer term will be easier because some of your classes will have left and you will gain free periods. Year after year this turns out not to be true and hard faced timetable organizers come and demand your “free” period for something else because you “should be teaching now” and resentment builds on hatred and the bitterness of foiled relaxation takes over again.
I have discovered that the only way to keep your gained free is physically to leave school, and then you only have to worry about some demented timetabler wandering the school howling your name to come and take over a class which is without an adult presence. That fear, however, is only momentary and can safely be dismissed because even if the person is howling away, it is nowhere near you and the situation will be over by the time you return.
So it was in my generally abortive visit to the tax people; I had surges of guilt when I thought that I might have been used – but they passed and nothing was said on my return.
So, Monday, first thing, told that a “free” had gone and it means that I will be teaching the 2ESO for two periods on the trot: a delightful thought. They can bloody well revise because I’m damned if I am going to do anything positive with them other than keep them in the room and stop them climbing the walls.
My uncanny luck in having a swimming lane to myself continues and I have decided to regard it as normal in case the situation comes to think of itself as extraordinary and suddenly cease in the screaming rash of brawling babies splashing about enjoying themselves when it is clear that swimming pools are solely for monomaniacs who plough up and down in straight lines ignoring all other pool users.
I must say that I am enjoying the new pool and have now slipped into nodding acquaintance with various users and, even more tellingly I do not have to order my double-bag cup of tea in the café I merely have to appear for the people there to prepare my tipple.
Perhaps fortuitously the “extras” the café has in the way of cakes is so mind-bendingly boring that there is little incentive to indulge. Yesterday, for example there was a spiral cake which looked unnervingly like a flattened, icing sugar coated dog poo. Nothing daunted I ordered one and, as a good customer I was given two. They had the consistency of reconstituted sawdust but, alas without the flavour. Under the steely gaze of the lady of the counter I ate them both and that, I think, is the end of my experimentation with the comestibles on offer. I will stick to my cup of tea.
On a far more positive note the working days left with the kids has now fallen to single figures: nine days left! Admittedly these days are going to be filled with the joyousness of exam supervision and marking but there is something magical in single figure days to the end of my teaching career. No more getting up at six thirty in the morning; no teaching the absurdity of six periods in a single day; no more meaningless marking; no more listening to the self pitying whining of needy privileged kids; no more education and no more passives, gerunds, phrasal verbs, conditionals, indirect speech, transformation sentences, word formation, sentences to show the meaning of words, inserting words in spaces and all the other soul destroying minutiae of learning English as a foreign language. Great happiness!
Next week sees the end of the course for the kids and by Friday they will be gone! There is a simple unalloyed pleasure in writing such a sentence that only a teacher working his way to retirement can truly understand and appreciate.