Term of engagement

Speaking to Favourite Daughter (also a teacher) we decide that only teachers can understand the end of term collapse which has to be disguised to anyone outside the world of education for it is unlikely to find a sympathetic audience. ‘Yeah, right, you are feeling tired and emotional because you have got a six week holiday? Let me cry you a river and then you can paddle board yourself off into the sunset and relax.’

In truth, we do not expect your sympathy, but I am curious to know whether any other profession can cram as much variety into 7 weeks (i.e. a summer term) and come out smiling. Judge me if you will, but at the start of my long vacance I am too tired to write a full blog, so I will try and get away with some edited highlights from the last few days in way of an explantation for potential radio silence.

If you need me, I will be somewhere quiet and forgiving, however I will now try to summon up the energy needed to bullet point some end of term antics:

  • I give you Activities Week. 5 full days of floor-to-ceiling entertainment (see last blog). I live in the hope that in years to come, students will look back and realise that a trip to Thorpe Park is not part of the National Curriculum and that they lucked up being out of the classroom and stuck on a coach for 3 hours.
  • I give you a heat wave – an Amber Warning even. This falls too early in the week to allow teachers to start playing end of term quizzes or show that Black Panther film promised since Christmas. I give you two days of students being allowed to wear their sports kit and two days of local residents phoning the school to complain both about the length of girls’ shorts/skorts and the fact that students are even being allowed to go outside. I give you a subsequent two days of trying to get students back into full school uniform.

    Students start a spread betting scam to decide whether term will end early or if the school day will at least shrink. Our students are sadly disappointed – they have clearly forgotten the strengthening of our moral resolve during home school learning. They are shocked to see that teachers have also ditched their ties and that some are rocking a tailored short and some nifty body art.

  • I give you the Attendance Line – I happen to sit in close proximity to the control centre for this military operation and hear the absences creeping up at a level reminiscent of the pandemic. First day of heat wave, the Attendance Officer puts the following call on loud speaker: ‘My child will not be attending school this week, she is a red head’ – the Attendance Officer deftly alerts the parents to Vue Cinema’s free cinema ticket offer for red heads, before realising that that she is calling the parent back on an international dialling tone. Watch this space.
  • I give you an end of term assembly. Teacher brains are now so frazzled that it will be a miracle if the House Championship is actually awarded to the House that earned it.
  • I give you staff leaver speeches and staff leaving ‘do’s’. I leave you with the knowledge that on account of our Head Teacher leaving, I discover a new sport that I am rubbish at – darts. The good news is that I can at least have a great night out saying goodbye to the Head while collecting evidence for my new found weakness. I am expecting a Bullseye themed pub, but instead I am introduced to Flight Club. I may be rubbish at darts, but I am a champion at photo bombing anyone else’s celebration video and I soon get the hang of ordering cocktails from the booth. This is so much better than bowling. I play darts with my glasses on, with my glasses off; it makes not a blind bit of difference, but still the cocktails keep arriving and still I keep missing the darts board.
  • I give you an empty school. I give you a staff body that are too exhausted to actually bag up and leave site. Admittedly, some are still a little jaded from the staff BBQ the previous night and some are perhaps a little too invested in a Proseccogate which spawned from a staff BYO, and an invite to camp overnight to anyone foolish enough to attempt the walk of shame into tutor time the next morning without a change of clothes. As ever, staff rally, put, ‘out of office’ messages on school computers : ‘parents we are no longer here. You are on your own. We will be back in September,’ and go for one last snifter at the local before returning to their families for a LONG school break.

I call Favourite Daughter to see how her end of term is going. I know she will understand my tired and emotional state. She does not return my call; it turns out that I finish a day before she does and she is not yet ready for a collective punch of the air. No doubt she will be heading to the pub after work and then off to her darkened room. I will call her next week.

I collapse in a darkened room myself knowing that I will rally, knowing that an end of term collapse does not last for ever and that it can be medicated with some self-care, some good food and some avoidance of exercise book and classroom until there is energy enough to go on a REAL holiday and chance some luck at an airport.

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