No 1, 10.09.12 Author: Ian Young
Knowing the intensity with which teachers play ‘Inset day’ games, we should not be surprised by the Principal’s accident. And he was not ‘acting’ either… (‘scuse the pun). Mild-mannered we teachers may be during term time; during Inset day the school roofs positively glow with the white heat of competition. Of course, adults playing games designed for 9 and 10-year-olds is destined to end in tears; so it proved to be. During a hotly-contested game of ‘Help’ Clarence deftly pirouetted to avoid a chaser’s lunge; his leg cried ‘Enough!’ and we found ourselves in an interesting position where the traditional start-of-term benediction ‘break a leg’ seemed a little inappropriate for once.
Thankfully, the trials afflicting us adults have quickly been replaced by the serious business of teaching the children. The opening assembly was notable for the array of bright new faces among both children and teachers, and there was a discernible sense of positive expectation as, one by one, the class teachers attempted to condense the year’s curriculum into two meaningful – and preferably humorous – minutes of dialogue. The Dear Children slot is the moment when the new Class 1 teacher is truly placed on the rack, particularly when the teacher is new to the school: three hundred children, 25 years of tradition, a couple of dozen professionally curious colleagues wondering whether you are up to the task and, at the centre of it all, a class of wide-eyed six-year-olds contemplating the enormity of ‘big school’. If past experience is anything to go by, uppermost in the minds of our latest intake was the one truly important question that dominates the school day: how long until snack time?