Thursday, 20 December 2012

Advent Day 20

'Reverse Advent box psychology today,' say Primrose and Daisy, presenting me with an empty Advent box. 'You have to put something INTO the box, rather than take it out.'
'How about a cat?' I say. 'Cats like boxes. And some cats need to be put into boxes to stop them harassing Christmas trees.'

For 'tis not only Pandora who is tree-fixated now; oh no, Monsieur Le Tybalt has become very tree-enamoured since the French sheep wool crocheted angel has taken up residence three branches from the top and slightly to the left of centre. He sits on the arm of the cuddle chair and he sniff, sniffety sniffs at the angel, and he tries to climb into the tree to get to the angel and it all becomes very wobbly and dodgy.

'Not what we had in mind,' says Daisy. 'We were thinking more along the lines of putting away all the things that define you as a teacher.'

Yes, of course it is today that I spent my last day in a school classroom. It was a good, if slightly emotional day. Small children arriving at various points of the morning bearing cards and little gifts. Colleagues doing the same. My last sixth form lesson spent very pleasantly sitting around chatting, laughing and eating biscuits. Hugs. Promises to stay in touch. More hugs. I drove through the gates at the end of the day feeling slightly emotional, yet relieved at the same time.

'Okay,' says Primrose. 'What are you going to put in the box?'

And so I hand over my playground whistle, my planner, my lanyard with dodgy photo therein. I also stuff in the fretting, the worrying, the sense of over-whelming tiredness, the feeling of never being quite good enough, the effing lesson plans, voodoo figures of certain members of Senior Management and data. All the data. Every bit of data I can find, and before I put it in the box I squish it and pop it like bubble wrap to make it as small and insignificant as possible because that is exactly what data is in teaching - small and insignificant because it completely fails to take into account that in teaching we are dealing with people who are, by their nature, individual and unpredictable, and have good days and bad days and were not produced in a factory, and do not therefore have a default setting when their dog dies or they fall out with their best mate.

And finally, I add Monday morning playground duty and the acts of moderating assessments and anything to do with tracking and intervention, because if you are doing your job properly you do these things instinctively, and do not need to deal with them separately, thereby making more work for yourself.

'Feel better?' says Primrose, for I am looking a bit pink with all the data squishing.
'Much,' I say. 'Can I be a writer now?'
'You never really stopped,' says Daisy.


Vera said...

Lovely, lovely post, Denise. You must feel like a weight is off your shoulders. Hope the cat and the angel do not collide. If they do, not to worry, can always send another angel over to you!

Denise said...

Thank you, Vera. I have been light of foot and heart today. And so far, Sheep Angel is safe!

I love your new lambs. I hope the rest arrive safely and the mothers adjust to their roles.