Friday, 17 January 2014

Alternate Ending

'Here you go Dr. Weasley.'
'Thank You Hermione. Still not comfortable with first names? Please, I've told you, we've been seeing each other every Friday for, what is it seven years now? You can call me Ron.'
'Sorry, er, Ron. I just, I think it's better to maintain professionalism in front of the patients. I think it helps set a standard.'
Hermione, of course, thought no such thing. She had always heard things about the gangly ginger-haired Doctor and his wandering hands and she didn't want to be the next victim, sobbing in the staffroom. Seven years and it had not happened to her yet. Maybe he was getting better. As the two of them walked into the room where the patient was, they knew that Harry certainly wasn't.
He was sat in the spartan room, rocking gently irregularly backward and forward in the lightweight plastic armchair as if metering out the rhythm to a song that no-one, save himself, could hear.
'Hello Harry.' Doctor Weasley said in the tone he always used when talking to the more extreme, or as he called them, hopeless, patients.'How are we today Harry?' The young man of nineteen looked up from his jiggling, just pausing a little to look into the eyes of his two most regular visitors before the shaking took him over in jitters of excitement.
'Ron! he cried happily. Hermione!' We did it! we saved the world. He's dead. Voldemort's dead! I was the last horcrux! It was so simple really! And Neville! Neville! he saved us in the end.' In one of Harry's hands he was brandishing the 30 centimetre ruler that he had acquired from the creativity space some seven years ago, when his delusions became so serious that he couldn't live with his Aunt and Uncle and cousin anymore.
'I see the delusion has not subsided.'
'No, but it does appear to be changing in nature. This, er, task that he has been obsessed with seems to have resolved. He is mentioning Neville again.'
'That's the brother, yes?'
'Yes. He mentions him occasionally, and he had a period a few years ago where he seemed to save him in some way.'
'Has he visited recently?'
'Strange. Well. Not much to do here I guess.' There was never much to do with Harry Potter. From time to time another psychologist would become interested in his case and write a book citing him. Some world famous name like Lupin, or Moody would take them under their wing, but they would never penetrate what was still popularly known as one of the worst cases of Post-Traumatic Stress disorder that had ever followed parental abuse. He was, in a way, quite famous. People often wrote letters to him, not that he ever read the words they wrote, but it had a cathartic effect. The staff used it as a tactic often, Particularly after the Doctor Black incident, to hand Harry envelopes to open saying it was from Black. He enjoyed that; smiles would light his face like a magic trick.
Dr Weasley and Dr Granger thanked Harry with all the politeness that is borne of knowing that someone isn't really listening, but that courtesy is important.
'I take it he has been told?' Ron's voice punctuated the sterile air after they had closed the door and headed to the next patient.
'About their release?'
'We have told him, but we're not sure he has taken it in.'
'Perhaps the resolution of the initial delusion indicates this. Maybe he is readying himself for the trauma.' Ron didn't seem thoroughly convinced by his own words, but it was better that than walking in silence, and Hermione was clearly having none of his advances today. Perhaps next week he might find her more amiable.
'They won't be allowed to meet him will they? Not after what they did?'
'No, No, of course, but you know the media. There will be renewed interest. He is not a child anymore. The media will have a field day. Photos of him on the front page next to them walking out of prison. A close up of the scar. I imagine they'll track down Neville. If they can find him.'
'He hasn't visited for a while.'
'Well. Who would want to be reminded of that?' Silence fell over the pair of them, and they continued the walk along the daunting corridor of the old mansion in silence. The paintings of old owners and masters seemed to flicker and dance in the afternoon light that streamed uncertainly through the window as if it was not sure whether it was a welcome visitor or not. Across the great ornamental lake the darkness that hid in the forest stared back at the house and dared it to come closer and find a final answer to the centuries-old stand-off.
Harry heard the footsteps fade down the hall and his smile fell a little from his face.
'Hermione?' He asked to no-one. 'Ron?' The air around was still and cold as the flickering sunlight died like a childhood dream behind a steadily overcasting sky. He stood up out of the chair and looked out of the window where the gardener, a giant of a man, was tending to the little menagerie of furry animals kept so that some of the lesser cases of the building could have something to care for before their release. Harry turned his head away from the window and walked to his bare bed, still clutching to his breast the ruler; an object that had worn to the point of having a visible handgrip on one end. He lay down and pulled over him the thin and threadbare blanket that was his only relic of his father and that he clung to regardless of the offers of better, more modern bedding.
His head gifted the pillow the weight of his unkempt hair and his gaunt head, not devoid of the glasses that found their diurnal resting place on his bed side table. He closed his eyes and the room disappeared for him. A bird, maybe an owl, called through the darkening air as Harry just let himself slide out of the woken world. His lips managed to slide a single word as he fell asleep.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Wednesday morning bad teaching joke

I totally just thought of this as well.

A janitor in a school finds a piece of paper with a maths equation on the floor of reception. He goes and finds the head of department for maths and shows it to him and asks him whether he knows anything about it. The head of maths turns to him, looks at the paper and says quite bluntly,

'I'm sorry, but this literally isn't my problem'


Monday, 6 January 2014

Morning Briefing Bingo

We've all been there. We all know what it's like, to be sat, bored, tired and cradling a cup of tea or coffee as if letting it go will immediately condemn your soul to the very inky blackness that it reflects. Instead of the rage overflowing like your marking pile, why don't you get together with the other teachers that genuinely don't give a shit/actually see things for the way they are/aren't terrible people and play a little morning game to wake you up?

And with this in mind I present:

Morning Briefing Bingo.

The game is simple.
Print out a game board then write out, or print out all of the game cards of all the things you might (will) see and hear in your morning briefing. Divvy up all of the cards and stick them on your game board. Then cross off the things that happen as they come up. Squares are one point, lines are ten points each, first to a full house wins automatically.

I suggest forfeits for losers such as a class set of marking, lunchtime duty, a round at the pub or death.

Bingo Card:

And here are your choices of briefing bingo bonanza . (I suggest you print out a few of each. and share them around)

Please enjoy, and tell me how it goes on @calamityteacher Photos are always welcome!

Sunday, 5 January 2014

The Return to School Checklist

It's spring term eve, which means disney should be selling a special commemorative mouse or dog or something, but as my students don't love me enough to buy me gifts i will have to cry myself to sleep tonight. I would say that these tears falling onto the cardboard box I have used for a pillow since my Academy froze our pay in 1250BC are unusual, but it would be a lie to proffer any other idea than that which is true: I cry. A lot.

And through these tearstruck eyes that blinker the outside world from view I can just about read, written on the side of a sodden Amazon box, my list of tasks i need to complete before i return to the hallowed halls of hubris and hefting humanity that is my alleged work(house)place. I reproduce this, shoddily no doubt, here.

1: Wipe internet search history normal history, temporary files and any incriminating photos. Check the dvd tray for THAT film and possibly consider just defaulting the whole machine to factory settings or encasing it in concrete, dropping it into a river and claiming to IT tech that you lost it/left it in the back of a taxi.

2: Shave off comedy facial/body hair

3: Check that the new piercing/tattoo(s) can be covered by current haircut or work wardrobe.

4: Change out of the pajamas that you've been wearing for three solid weeks.

5: Finish marking/ marking bonfire

6: Practice not swearing at everything.

7: Practice getting up before midday.

8: Read the book you're meant to be teaching/ watch the film of said book/ read the wikipedia/ImDb summary of the film of said book.

9: Sober up.

10: Kiss goodbye to your loved ones/pets/photos of celebrities. You won't be seeing them until February.

11: Stock up on comfort food/booze/kleenex

12: Book that first counseling session of the year.

13: Cry. Aimlessly and at length.

14: Apply for a new job/Uni course/The Dole

15: Fabricate a convincing cover story to tell in the staffroom/classroom to explain that scar.

There you go. Plenty to be getting on with. I'm going to pick out my wardrobe for the next few days so that i can essentially operate on autopilot.

Cheers. Here is to blessed, half-awake absolution.

Friday, 3 January 2014


Reasons to be excited about start of year INSETS:

1: My Christmas was better than yours.
2: Free breakfast
3: Free Lunch
4: Arriving at school exactly on time, as opposed to the usual two hours early.
5: Leaving school exactly on time, as opposed to the usual two hours late
6: No children. None. Literally none of the little bastards people to interfere with the paperwork.
7: The sublime joy of seeing other teachers in their own clothes and thereby gaining a tiny glimpse of an insight into the lives they live outside of the razor-wire fences of the school's perimeter.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Are You Sure You Are In My Class?

Just before the end of term I was followed around by that most rarest of thing: A new teacher. This endangered species, under threat as it is by the scaremongering of the popular teaching press, the strong arm of the unions, and a tortoise on a pole, is a beautiful polished surface with which a teacher of some relative long-toothedness can reflect upon their own practice. I did reflect upon my own practice, and deemed that, in many ways, I am not quite as awful as I had previously believed. 

There was one thing, however, that struck through my heart (and you’re to blame). I was sat, nonchalantly watching my pet new teacher with year ten and I looked at a student. This student was sat, quite quietly scribbling down notes, in a seat that I realised is in an almost total blind spot from my desk. She is a beautiful living stereotype of an invisible student: small, plain looking and quiet and as such, of course, I have no idea what her name is. Even with the register at hand I had difficulty choosing between two or three similar quiet girls. It required the expected us of the blessed class photo option on SIMS to finally identify her and, to be perfectly honest, even that was somewhat tough.

I think there is a lesson in this anonymity. Perhaps it should be common practice for every teacher to watch someone else teach their class purely so that they can spot the little eccentricities of daily class life that just fly their tiny wings underneath the radar. I teach, as I imagine many of you do, about 150 different, individual, hormonal, stinking,shrieking, bags of desperate flesh a week. It's easy to miss the nice quiet ones unless you look at them from a different angle.

New Years Teacholutions

We all know that term one is a total write-off. We all know that those two long terms are just a case of getting to the Christmas holidays with only a minimal amount of thrown chairs, swears and pulled out hairs, but next term, when the students are painfully subdued by the dark and the coming realisation that their lives are as insignificant as an individual aphid in a biology diagram, there is hope for us to, perhaps, prosper as individuals. @Badheadteacher (real name I am assured, changed by deed poll no doubt) has presented a list and I, as one to never leave a bandwagon unjumped upon, are duly following suit with my own convoluted and impassioned vacuous tripe:

Resolution number one: SCREW YOU DATA

This year I solemnly swear to ignore all data that does not actually matter. I will only take note of the following things that contain numbers:
1) The Time
2) GCSE results
3) Canteen Prices

Resolution number the second: SCREW YOU PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT

I am outstanding teacher. I have no proof of this, and I require none. If  someone asks me to prove it then I will write myself a certificate, decorate it with stars and present it to the questioner by rubbing it, quite literally, into their headface.

Resolution number three: DON'T GET FIRED

I simply cannot afford it. I will exact this by avoiding situations where i could get fired, such as lessons, and school, entirely. This should keep me safe. I will hide under the bedclothes until the bad things go away.

Bonus Resolution: I will actually teach a child something that might actually help them in later life.

like crochet knitting. Or how to read. I dunno.