Friday, 19 June 2009

Pigeon holed in one

Since the swine flu episode, there are tell-tale signs that my popularity, never high with those at the top, has waned even further.

My pigeon hole has been moved. It's now right next to the inward opening door.

It's also so low down that anyone entering the staff room in a hurry stands a real chance not just of decapitating me but, with a little effort, favourable draught and suitably placed receptacle, achieving a hole in one.

Then there are the memos. Hate mail I could deal with. For one thing, I could mark it out of ten, write 'Next time, don't forget to include your name,' and then blu tack it to the notice board, in the sure knowledge that the offender would be pathologically unable to resist writing out any spelling mistakes three times and thus be unmasked.

But anonymous hints and tips on report writing is another thing altogether.

'"Sings well unaccompanied." "Enjoys performing to an audience."' I read out to the deputy head. 'Am I really that incompetent?'

'No.....' she says, though with her eyes cast firmly downwards as if hoping to find her next cue woven into the heavy duty carpet fibres along with the biscuit crumbs and tea stains. 'Though I do think you might consider checking that all the children you do actually write reports for are still at the school.'

This is in reference to my glowing tribute to a pupil praising his inate musicality, impressive vocal range and prodigious recorder skills. It was written at speed just as the second bottle was taking effect and despatched to the relevant class teacher with a glowing sense of a job well done. As, indeed it would have been, if only the child hadn't turned out to have left after only one term.

I look through the latest sheet of photocopied comments again, and a pattern seems to emerge.

'Oh, my God,' I say. 'Listen. "Needs to spend more time practising to improve performance skills. Needs to develop sustained listening skills" I don't think these are about the children at all. They're about me.'

The deputy head stares down at the list. 'I think you could be right,' she says. 'Especially this one. "Needs to listen more carefully to instructions and respond more positively."'

'What rubbish,' I snort. 'What did you say, anyway?'

Breakfast coarse

'Had a good time at the sleepover?' I ask Deborah, as I collect her from Vicky's house.
'It was great,' she says. 'We stole all the DVDs with sex and violence, pretended we were asleep, then watched them till 3.15 am. Actually, we didn't need to pretend because Vicky had gone to sleep on the kitchen floor. And guess what we had for breakfast?'
Chez Vicky, it's anyone's guess.
White wine and nachos?' I venture. 'Vodka smoothies? Coco Pop crudites?'
'Breast pancakes, of course,' says Deborah brightly.
'Well, of course,' I say, looking back down the street to see if a social services SWAT team is even now breaking down Vicky's door.
Not that much later, I call Vicky to ask when exactly it was that she decided on anatomically correct portion control as the way forward in children's catering.
'It's a special mould,' she says, sounding, for her, a tad shamefaced. 'Lindy gave it to me ages ago and I'd shoved it in a drawer and forgotten about it. Little buggers nicked it. Still, it could have been worse,' she says.
'They didn't look in the other drawer. If they had, it would have been penis on toast, instead.'