"My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together." “When I hear people say politics and religion don't mix, I wonder what Bible they are reading.” (Archbishop Desmond Tutu)

"And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, and to love kindness and mercy, and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6.8

"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Philippians 4.19

"Work out your salvation with fear and trembling." Philippians 2.12

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Bah Humbug!

I am not in a particularly good mood.

This has been a long term and I don't seem to have recovered from the clocks changing even though I gained an hour. I can't be doing with the early start in the cold and dark and the nightmare of winter motorway driving. I could particularly have done without the appearance of this morning's heavy gusting sleet the moment I hit the motorway. There is no joy to be had when you can only see hundreds of pairs of break lights suddenly light up as all the vehicles in front decide as one organic body to slow to a crawl from a very fast speed at the same time.

The school website carries a slightly sinister picture of the school with what appear to be seasonally clad single celled organisms wishing us a merry Christmas. I take my one-man "let's all celebrate Advent" campaign to the technician responsible via e-mail. I have had no reply. ("Oh God, it's him again on his soapbox. Ignore him and with luck he'll go away.")

So far there has been no evidence amongst the kids of any particular Christmas spirit. I've not yet had the "Advent conversation" with any chancers hoping for a DVD instead of a lesson. ("But Sir, it's Christmas.")

However my cup will soon runneth over.

I am a stand in Form Tutor. Mrs. Rashid is on maternity leave and I've copped for her lot. They are a perfectly reasonable crowd: mainly nice with a couple of irritants, one out and out nutter and a couple of dodgey characters. Par for the course, I'd say. At the pastoral meeting this week talk turned to the Christmas party. (But it's only Advent. "Shut up, no one cares.") By which I really mean Christmas parties, as in parties by form. I have to provide an event for my lot (Sorry, Mrs. Rashid's lot) for an hour before their final assembly.

You are joking? I'd rather lick my own a**e!

My beloved, as ever, is very upbeat about all this. (Perhaps she'd like to come in and host it.) We discuss what the kids might like to do.

They're fifteen. I say. They don't want to do anything.

"Shall I do a pass the parcel?"

At registration this morning I mention the party, herein to be referred to as "an hour of my life I'll never get back". As usual they choose not to respond and carry on with their own coversations, hitting each other, stabbing each other with pencils, hiding each other's bags and the rest of the usual stuff.

Eventually I get through to them. This would be best achieved by multiple texting but (in theory) they may not have their mobile phones on in school.

How about mince pies? as I get out my pen.

"Eeuuwww! Gross!"

I take it that's a no then?

"No sandwhiches either. They only get thrown away."

I've never done this before (much to the amazement of many of my colleagues) and so it's all a bit of a mystery to me. We end up with the following menu:

Crisps ("Only Pringles, Sir.")
Chocolate mini-rolls.

"So no alcohol then?"

Dream on.

Oh, and I forgot to mention - my form room is a science lab with fixed tables.

Just to add to my joy, one of the Christmas assembly activities is some community singing. Last year every form was given a verse from "The Twelve Days of Christmas" to sing. I say sing. What I mean is SCREAM because the powers that be decided to make it an inter-form competition. This year the premise is the same but each form has a line from Slade's "So here we are, Merry Christmas", a piece already characterised by it's over-the-topness.

I am expected to "rehearse" them.

I'm sorry, but you may be confusing me with someone who gives a sh*t.

I can hardly wait. Bring it on!


  1. Sir, methinks the problem is, you're too nice. :)

  2. There are advantages in living and teaching in countries where Christmas (and Advent) comes in summer and at the end of the school year. You can have picnics at the beach or park. Even better, lots of the older (15 and up) kids do not bother to turn up in the last week anyway.

  3. Karen: on the basis of the evidence above, you are too kind!

  4. Rather you than me.

    No mince pies? Outrageous.

  5. our lot are avoiding the shenanegans by carting off all 400 of year 11 to the cinema which is closing its doors to the public that morning. Mind you the thought of sitting through 'the thing' with 400 hormonal teenagers makes me shudder. DVD and party may in deed be the easy option