Tuesday, 11 January 2011

A Woman of No Importance

So, when I started tutoring I was installed in a little office at the top of the English block. It is a nice little office - it has shelves, a desk and a couple of chairs, plus an armchair where I can slob and eat my lunch and read the newspaper or do a spot of writing. Other members of staff pop in and out occasionally, to make a cuppa or say 'Hi!' or rummage for an important piece of paperwork that might be lurking therein.

Most importantly, in this chilly weather, the desk stands against a radiator which means I keep nice 'n' warm; perhaps a little too warm when the sun reaches the window at about 1 p.m. But it is s good space in which to tutor, and I have been left undisturbed to do my job for well over two months.

Until yesterday. Yesterday, a woman turned up half-way through my first tutor session.

'Oh,' she said, as she came through the door. She had a shopping trolley in tow and was toting a briefcase.

I looked at her. What was 'oh' supposed to mean? My tutee looked at her, too, and yawned, not because he was bored by her arrival but because he'd been up all night having an 'X-box 360 sleep-over' with one of his mates and planned to make a good start to his school week on approximately 2 and a half hours of sleep. I know, what can you do? Keep poking 'em with a pencil to wake 'em up, that's what.

Anyway, it transpires this woman has been brought in by the school to 'oversee the running of the English department in the absence of a Head of Department.' I know, how weird is that? A core subject without a Head of Dept. Hey ho.

And she had been told by 'someone' (identity unknown), that she could use this little office to work in on Mondays, because apparently one can run a core subject department on one day a week, so that's all she'd be doing.

'Oh,' I said, not wanting to be outdone in the 'oh' stakes. I threw in an 'er' for good measure. 'Er, would it be possible for you to use the office vacated by the old Head of Department, as it's empty and for one day only?'

She looked at me like I'd asked her, in Ancient Arabic, to remove her camel from my bike rack and make me a toasted armadillo sandwich.

'Well,' she said. 'The thing is, all my stuff is up here.'

Stuff?? What stuff?? It was 9.20 a.m. What 'stuff', exactly, can one accumulate within the space of five minutes of one's Royal appearance??

'Perhaps you could work over there,' she said, pointing out of the office, across the corridor and into the room that the lady-who-specialises-in-dyslexia uses. 'It appears to be empty at the moment.'

Well, what I really wanted to say was 'You go and work it in then, Mrs Hoity-Toity One-Day-A-Week-Turning-Up-Late-Psuedo- Head-Of-Dept' but I didn't because there was a minor in the room, even though he was half-asleep, drunk on his X-box marathon.

'You can finish with this student if you like,' she added, graciously. 'I'll just sort out my 'stuff'. Ignore me whilst I potter.'

Fat chance, I thought. Potter? Pah!!

Still, I completed tutor session number one of the day, and I gathered up all the tutoring 'stuff' that I have accummulated over the last two months (yes, two months, not five minutes.) And then, dear reader, because I wanted to make my point and one isn't allowed to swear or resort to physical violence in a school unless one is a student, I SWEPT dramatically from the little office, and I STOMPED across the corridor, and I FLUNG 'n' SCATTERED my 'stuff' across the table used by the lady-who-specialises-in-dyslexia's desk, who, thank goodness, doesn't work on a Monday because if she did she would have been well within her rights to tell me to 'offer bug.'

And I spent the rest of the day at lesson changeover standing outside my relocation relocation relocation calling across the corridor to my students, 'I'm over here! I've been kicked out of our usual room. Sorry it's so cold in here, but if I switch on the heater we shan't be able to hear ourselves think BECAUSE IT MAKES A NOISE LIKE A HELICOPTER TAKING OFF!'

'Why are we in here?' asked tutee number 4, who is very keen on chickens and is getting very excited about possibly being allowed by the council to keep chickens at his house, well, garden, so I've given him a how to keep chickens book, and we are learning about keeping chickens during his tutor sessions.

'I'm afraid I am a Woman of No Importance,' I said.
'What does that mean?' said he.
'It means I should know my place and not get ideas above my station. Ask Oscar Wilde,' I said.
'Who's he?' said the tutee. 'One of your chickens?'
'Yes,' I said. 'Him and Lady Bracknell, with all her 'stuff.'

No comments: