Still smiling

I think that I may be hearing beeps in my sleep. Enjoying my new job – the distinctly unglamorous role of Checkout Assistant in a local supermarket. The contrast between this and my day job couldn’t be more marked, but smiling at people all the time instead of asking them to “Sit down”, “Quieten down” or “Please write some answers down” really does lift the spirits! I finish the shift with a smile still on my lips and cheerfully weary I make my way home to iron my school ‘uniform’ for the morning.

Prickles and Pongs

Bribery is the order of the day and, like a carrot, the children are allowed a couple at a time to peer in the box from a safe distance and say hello to the temporary new classmate…in return for producing the required piece of work beforehand. It works. Even the most reluctant scholar perks up and completes the allotted task on time! Unfortunately this coconut-sized bundle of prickles, seems allergic to its fellow students and keeps sneezing – unless it was Pandora’s new perfume which could also be used as an insect repellent as the weather warms up!
Prickles and pongs


They are climbing the walls today – literally. Enrichment offers the climbing wall experience. I get vertigo trying to look up and see how high some have reached. Some have been watching a lot of Spiderman by the look of it, fearlessly they swing from side to side on silken ropes, others lean back and walk back down with straight legs. I watch the ones ‘bouldering’ and stay safely near to the ground. Besides I have the first aid kit!


Bittersweet late Christmas present…
First day of the Spring term and a bag full of presents greets me on the table at the back of the class. I couldn’t come in on the day we broke up – these offerings have sat patiently, biding their time until today. When I get home I sit and unwrap them.
Chocolates by the ton and body cream, vouchers and candles, my lovely class, still the presents come…wine and a beautiful Guardian Angel to sit and watch over me. I leave one until last. The child is away, mourning the loss of her sister and we grieve for her grief. I open her gift, carefully wrapped and thoughtfully chosen. I am ‘someone special’, according to the pen, also enclosed is a plaque to celebrate Christmastime – tears sting the back of my eyes as I read; ”Believe in the spirit of Christmas”…
Bittersweet offerings


The whole class gets distracted by an almighty ‘thud!’ and clouds of dust billowing up outside our windows.  The children are allowed to line up along the sills and watch as the last part of the old school is demolished before our eyes.  The digger marches determinedly  up and over the huge bank of rubble while his mate claws her way through the debris, picking out pieces of roof tressel, loft beams and wooden edging strips from displays that were covered with our World War II topic work just a few weeks before. Caleb says that it looks like it must have done in the war.

From the newly revealed houses opposite, one of the residents takes a photo of the dust-blanketed Mercedes that sits huddled on his driveway. He gets in his car and dulled rear headlights emerge through the fog of disinterest that permeates the site.   Our teacher comments that her car is over there somewhere too.  With a rising sense of foreboding, I realise where my own is…directly behind the man-made mountain that now fills the space before our eyes.

Gleeful at having found such a handy parking space, one of many in a usually packed street, I dashed in to work without coming to a logical explanation for this unexpected bounty.

The children’s faces mirror my look of horror when I blurt out this realisation and they turn to me with round eyes and open mouths.

Thoughts of volcanic ash clouds and what happens to plane engines flit through my increasingly irrational mind as I go to collect my car. It has almost completely changed colour from a usual metallic green to a greying beige, glowering sullenly to me as I approach.  I offer a few words to any kind soul that might be listening before turning the key in the key in the ignition.

It is only us who are choked by the destruction of this place so filled with memories. The engine flares to life.


It’s five minutes into the afternoon session and I am told that they desperately need me to teach the little Year Twos. I go downstairs to find out what lesson they are supposed to be doing. It’s PE. Not good. The only lesson that I really feel under-equipped for….and I’m going in with no preparation time whatsoever. Luckily we have the hall and the children are so enthusiastic that I could play ‘sleeping lions’ with them all afternoon and they would think it was great.
We are animals in the woods, we make shapes and letters, we play follow my leader and work in pairs. Then comes the pièce de résistance…my famous ‘Pose of a Gnome’ game.
This is a sure fire way of having them calm right down ready to go back to class in an orderly manner. We had fishing gnomes and golfing gnomes and piano playing gnomes and singing gnomes and, best of all, what looked like a group of brass band gnome players all performing silently and in a frozen-statue-like manner.
Ahhhh such blissful silence!

Like Dr Who?

We are thinking about career paths in class today – ok they are only 8 years old but it’s good to plan ahead. Caleb tells me with a sneer that Sam wants to be a time traveller.
“You need to tell him that he can’t be one Miss!”
This proves to be a little harder than anticipated, Sam is adamant that is all he wants to be when he grows up.
“Maybe you could be an inventor and discover how to travel in time…?”
“What like in Back to the Future?” asks Caleb with round eyes.
“I want to be a Time Lord and save the world!”Sam can’t be dissuaded and at this point I am suspecting that he is suffering from Dr Who overload.

Caleb says he would like to act in some adventure movies. This seems to be a little more reasonable and something that we can work with (I am hoping that Sam will get inspired to think of something more suitable).
“I’d like to be James Bond and get lots of gadgets from a man in a white coat.”
There’s nothing like aiming high.
“So you need to work hard at maths, so you can crack codes, and technology so that you can work the gadgets Caleb.”

Harry decides to enlighten us as to his own plans.
“I want to be a prankster.”
I am a little perturbed at this.
“Do you mean a comedian?”
“No I want to play pranks on people.”
“Maybe a magician?” I am hopeful.
“No, just a prankster.”

I think it was easier talking to Sam about his plans to shift space and time…

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