The Father, the Son and the aggressive Headteacher
July 28, 2020
Working on a spaceship is very exciting, which is why the Mother can’t wait to get to work this morning. Of course, the Mother doesn’t really work on a spacecraft – that would be silly. After all she has no training in interplanetary travel. Besides, she gets very travel sick which means intergalactic flights are out of the question. However, the school she is currently working at looks quite a lot like the Starship Enterprise.
Stepping inside every morning brings a smile to her face, which on some occasions lasts for several seconds.
“What child wouldn’t want to go to school here?” says the Mother to herself.
Constellation Primary School is an unusual place. It is completely round with a glowing white, shell-like exterior. The building is set across two floors and is unusually modern for a London school. Inside the strange-looking building, it is shiny and gleaming, a mass of windows and sunlight. Remarkably for a school, there is only one flight of stairs which takes you from the ground to the first floor and back again. The stairs curve around stylishly as they reach the ground floor. The Mother loves this descent. Sometimes, when she isn’t pretending she is Captain Kirk, she glides down the stairs, like she is Shirley Bassey, but in jeans.
The school had only recently been built and was designed by a team of Swedish architects. The Mother found this out the week she started work there, which was a quite dreadful experience.
One morning while the Mother was teaching a literacy lesson, three people in grey suits walked in unannounced. The Mother had no idea who they were or why no one had told her about the visit. Her first thought was that perhaps they were teachers there to observe her. Then a more frightening possibility entered her head.
Perhaps this was an Ofsted visit, and they had come to observe her lesson. “Fuck, fuck, fuck, this can’t be happening.” A visit from Ofsted is like contracting some hideous tropical disease. It comes on quickly. One day you get the warning signs, and the next day it hits you. First, the blood drains from your face, and your tongue feels like it’s swelling up inside your mouth. Next come the sweaty palms, nausea and faintness, and then the onset of a speech impediment. Finally, complete memory loss, followed by utter despair. There are people out there who think the Black Death was bad. Well, those people have obviously never been in a school during an Ofsted inspection.
The Mother had got through the nauseous stage when she heard the group talking and talking in another language. “Ofsted inspectors don’t usually speak Swedish,” thought the Mother, “except of course in Sweden.” Did they even have Ofsted there? Their schools were all so fucking brilliant, they probably didn’t need them. Having ruled out Ofsted, she steadied her nerves and carried on with her lesson. As she continued to enthral her class with talk of homophones and suffixes, she noticed the Swedes examining the beams and windows. It was evident that the visitors, much like the children, were not remotely interested in her lesson.
“Phew, that’s a relief,” thought the Mother, but little did she know more discomfort was to come.
The head teacher of Constellation Primary School was a small but formidable woman with a hard stare and a 40-a-day smoking habit.a recent morning briefing, the head had reiterated the school rules regarding drinks. Not Friday night drinks, you understand, for that would be criminal, but rather hot drinks on school premises. She reminded everyone that tea and coffee must never be taken out of the staffroom. And that the only drink that should be by a teacher’s side throughout the day was a bottle of water. The deputy head then went on to talk about the health and safety regulations and how they related to hot drinks, which was all very interesting. Meanwhile, the head continued to smoke her way through the whole meeting, holding her fag out the window between puffs.
The Mother wondered, if this rule was of such importance, why it was not engraved on the huge plaque of the golden school rules which hung in the hall. Perhaps they could add it just after rule number 11: “Children must not disrespect or cuss other children.”
Although the Mother had to admit the rule on drinks was quite sensible, she still had no intention whatsoever of adhering to it. If the Mother was not able to have a coffee in the morning, how the hell was she supposed to cope with a class of 30 kids, never mind their parents? Louise, the bright young thing teaching Year 1, pointed out that, if the Mother got into work just 15 minutes earlier, she’d have time for a coffee in the staffroom. Ha, just 15 minutes early! Like that was ever gonna happen. The Mother didn’t even grace her with a response.
Two days later, the Mother happened to be leaving the staffroom with a coffee in the morning when she spotted the head teacher on the prowl. The Mother turned to walk around the mezzanine floor, with the head trotting a little way behind. She knew that if she turned to walk down the stairs, the head would see the mug in her hand straight away. So instead, she sped straight past them and continued around the circular floor.
Unfortunately, the head teacher also walked straight past the stairs and was quickly catching up with the Mother, despite her tiny legs.
“What am I going to do?” thought the Mother. “I can’t just walk around in a giant circle like an eejit. I must formulate a plan and fast.” A second later, she opened a random door to take cover in a classroom, quickly closing the door behind her.
Now, although it was a relief to be away from the watchful eyes of the head teacher, she got the distinct feeling she was not in fact in a classroom. She couldn’t be sure of this because she happened to be standing in complete and utter darkness. “Most classrooms have windows, don’t they?” thought the Mother.
After fumbling around for a minute or two, she managed to find the light switch. Once everything was illuminated, she deduced that she had actually stepped into the RE cupboard. Well, that wasn’t very clever, was it? And what was she going to say if the head happened to open the door? Make some tenuous joke about being in the presence of God? On the other hand, there was a positive side to this. At least she knew where the RE resources were kept now.
While standing there contemplating her predicament, she noticed something. Something quite, quite shocking. There had been an act of selfishness committed in that cupboard. One person or possibly more than one person had done something quite unthinkable, something that no school would tolerate. The incorrect and careless storage of artefacts and resources. In layman’s terms, it was a mess, Now, if you happen to work in a school, you will understand the seriousness of this offence. If you don’t, well, it is an infraction akin to biting the head off one the royal swans or urinating on the Cenotaph. In the land of teaching, things don’t get much more serious than this.
A copy of the Quran was in a zip wallet next to a crucifix, poor old Buddha had been stuffed into a box full of rosary beads, one of which had got twisted around his neck and was practically choking him. As for Ganesh, the elephant god, he was sitting proudly on top of a copy of the Torah, while the Bible was being stored in a carrier bag along with several sets of digital scales. “Bloody hell,” thought the Mother, “those scales aren’t even in the right cupboard. Someone is gonna have hell to pay.” The Mother could only speculate as to what punishment the perpetrator might face. Maybe they burn in hell for the whole of eternity. Worse still perhaps they would have to tidy up , sort and labels everything in the entire cupboard.
She was beginning to feel uncomfortable next to all this religious chaos. She decided she had to get out, even if it meant coming face to face with the permanently angry head teacher.
Flinging open the door, the Mother headed straight for the stairs. Keeping her head down, she looked at no one. She’d almost reached the bottom when she heard the head teacher shouting at her. Fortunately, and for once in her favour, the head teacher seemed to have forgotten her name and called out aimlessly into the air, “Miss, Miss!” and then even worse, “Teacher!”
“Teacher? Ha, sod you,” thought the Mother. “Three weeks I’ve been here, and you still can’t remember my name, I’m stopping for no one, not even you.”
And with that, she happily entered her classroom, cup of tea in hand, and began searching out her lesson plans.