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Sunday, 15 May 2016

Evidence that Fran may soon need a permanent carer to get her through the day

I caused a panic at school on Friday.

I went to my classroom, expecting to teach a class of 14 year olds. They were late arriving.

I laid out on each of their desks their marked books and an A4 resource page for the lesson. I turned on the projector and put in my password to display my lesson notes.

Where was the class?

I peered into the corridor, sure that I would see them come hurtling round a corner, puffing and panting, worrying about being late dawdling along from Art or Science as though on a beach in the Algarve.

But, no. Not a fourteen year old in sight.

I waited another few minutes. Perhaps another teacher had lost track of the time or not heard the bell.

When they were ten minutes late, I scurried along to the school office to see if I had missed a newsletter item saying they were on a school trip or having immunisations in the hall. Perhaps they had voluntarily signed up for immunisations in preference to learning about irregular sentences. It was possible, and reasonable.

'I've lost 9H,' I said to the three ladies in the office. 'Any ideas?'

'The Pied Piper?' one of them said.

Except that she didn't. I just thought of the joke, and wish she had said it, as it would have made my story funnier. So I put it in anyway.

Just then, along came a member of the senior management, in charge of that year group. 'You've lost 9H? What's happened?' She looked alarmed, as well she might. If I'd mislaid them, she'd be the one informing the parents that police were combing the building for their offspring, checking the drains and investigating a crack in the playground for tell-tale threads from blue blazers.

As Oscar Wilde's character Lady Bracknell would have said in an educational version of The Importance of Being Earnest, 'To lose one pupil may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose twenty-two looks like carelessness.'

But then one of the office staff located the class's timetable. 'They're in Maths,' she said. 'Period 5, they have Maths.'

'But I have them for English now.'

'You have them for English in Period 6. This is Period 5.'

I checked my watch. My face went hot like a slow cooker like an electric hob like a gas hob like a match on a puddle of petrol. You know how being embarrassed is called 'having egg on your face'? I could have had a fried one.

'Oops,' I said. 'Senior moment. Sorry to cause a stir.' And I turned back down the corridor, their laughter following me, to do some marking in an empty room with its books and papers all laid out for a phantom class.

When my students turned up, bang on time for Period 6, I told them all about my mistake I said absolutely nothing, pretended I'd just got there, like them, and taught them about irregular sentences.

Later on, I met the senior manager in a corridor. 'I'm sorry about earlier,' I said.

She patted me on the shoulder. 'You cheered me up so much,' she said. 'Other people's inefficiencies are always so encouraging.'

'At least I was there for a class which wasn't,' I said, 'and not the other way round. It's much more humiliating to be fetched from the dining room where you're helping yourself to leftover cake to be told you should be in Room 2 teaching eleven year olds about war poetry.'

'Or teaching them about mnemonics,' she said.

Except that she didn't say that. But I wish she had, because it would have rounded off my story nicely with a touch of irony, and I do love a bit of irony.  So I put it in anyway.


You come with me, children. I'll take you somewhere you'll never have to study an irregular sentence again. 










20 comments:

  1. I always like to be on time or a little early and a little fib goes a long way.

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    1. I do too. I think I was taking 'getting there a little early' too far this time, though.

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  2. Fab when others have these kinds of experiences. Funny, funny, funny 😀

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    1. I'm happy to fail if it cheers you up, Debsy-baby. :)

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  3. That could NEVER happen to me--but only because I don't teach a class!!

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    1. I KNEW there was a remedy! I will resign immediately.

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  4. Well at least you were well rested before they all came charging in. I have no idea what an irregular sentence is. By now, at 63, I probably don't need to know.

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    1. If I tell you that an irregular sentence is one that is missing an essential grammatical element of a regular sentence, does that add anything to your life? Nope, nor should it!!

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  5. I think many of us have probably had moments like this, Fran... what wisdom in those words "other people's inefficiencies are so encouraging." You certainly brightened your colleagues' day - and ours, in reading your story!

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    1. Thanks, Sheila! I have moments like this so often I do wonder whether my brain is still functioning. I'm glad it cheered up your day!

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  6. .. I love this post Fran......
    years ago our best friends failed to turn up to our daughter's wedding... as soon as I could I phoned them and asked why they didn't come to the church and were they coming to the reception, only to be told the wedding wasn't until the following weekend....
    naturally I was shaking my head ans saying .. 'no.. it's today and you missed it' ...... it makes me laugh when I think of it now.. xxxx we are still best friends.. xxxx
    have a great day.. hugs .... Barb xxxx

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    1. No! Gosh, I bet their stomachs still turn when they think of this! Mine would. It's great to have these funny stories to think back on though. Thanks for your comment, Barbara. x

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  7. Never mind; no one need ever know that you're losing your mind. Oh, wait...

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    1. Exactly!! I'm not exactly keeping it secret, am I?!

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  8. Great story, Fran. I did laugh. I can relate. At least you were prepared :)

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    1. Thanks, Nicola! Yes, 'be prepared' is my motto, except that this time I think I took it a little too far.

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  9. I hope you improve my comment by adding in a wisecrack or two. Thanks!

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  10. It's not all bad ... at least you were in the right building .

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    1. Ah, but plenty of times I haven't! I went to a writers' conference not long ago and wandered around London for a while trying out several different buildings. I eventually got there a good half-hour late. Embarrassing.

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