By James, our supply teacher from London
I’m feeling a lot more at home in the school since half term. People know who I am at least, if not quite yet my name. Staff appear more familiar and the kids are by and large easier to manage in the classroom.
I’ve got my second birthday invite to attend this weekend, a Saturday night event in a themed bar in Hammersmith.
There are about 20 of us intending to go, plus the birthday girl’s other friends. I may have commented in an earlier blog just how incestuous I’ve found staffrooms in general. As a teacher you are thrust up close and personal with other teachers in often very stressful situations and naturally you can develop strong bonds over a relatively short period of time. Thus far though, bar one ‘interesting’ night out you’ve already read about, I’ve kept a low profile.
But with me being more free of spirit these days, and single, I’ve decided that this weekend, if the opportunity arises I will make the effort to get to know certain people better. Now before you switch off in disgust, I actually mean that literally, it’s not code for trying to sleep with someone (honest). The staff here are friendly but you still have the cloak of professionalism shrouding all conversations that take place in school. It seems it’s obligatory to talk about your difficult year 8 class or the printer running out of ink yet again, or even the faltering heating system, and not about more illuminating topics. And I was never one for formalities or superficial courtesies; I’d much prefer no chat at all, just a slight nod of the head or a smile, than time consuming and superficial pleasantries.
In fact in my previous school some years ago (confession time) so fed up every Monday morning with enquiries as to how my weekend was that I decided to conduct a little experiment. In response to all such queries I would reply, in all sincerity, saying how awful it was. Their reactions were varied and often priceless. Those who were merely jumping through socially decreed hoops couldn’t cope with a negative response; that wasn’t in the manual, you have to tell everyone your weekend was fine, or good, or all too brief. You weren’t allowed to be real, to say it was awful. That way I weeded out the crap, not to mention making myself less popular in the process, but I really didn’t care. The way I saw it I was saving us both the time and effort. Of course there were the few who then genuinely wanted to know why my weekend was so bad which left me in the difficult position of either explaining my experiment or lying. Not sure always how the individual would react to the truth I usually took the second option.
I’m painting a lovely picture of myself aren’t i?! Anyway, this weekend I’m looking to start building some meaningful friendships, both male and female, away from the spectre of students and books and radiators. Of course, if sparks do fly then I’d be a fool to ignore them…..