Saturday, 5 September 2009

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars . . . and the TES jobs pages.

I went back to work on Friday. It was sooooooooo hard. Firstly, when my alarm went off at 6am it was still dark. It was also teaming with rain and the windows were rattling in the icy wind. The bedroom was bitterly cold, as I am still not allowing myself to use the central heating.

Friday was an INSET day. I am not exactly sure what that is an acronym of, something about training. Pompous Pilate, our glorious leader, had put together an agenda full of his usual inane bluster. The thing that annoys me more than anything else is the unashamed sycophancy on display at such events.

'fantastic agenda Pompous.'

'I feel so motivated and inspired by your speech Mr Pilate.'

'I know you feel as I do Pompous, that it is our privilege to work with so many wonderful colleagues and inspirational children. Today has really made me feel blessed.'

Pompous Pilate is almost a Dickensian caricature. He is hugely rotund, beetroot-red, jowly and as has a Yorkshire accent you could cut Wensleydale with. He firmly believes he is an expert in everything. I have never met a more arrogant and egotistical clod.

So, on Friday I dragged my weary carcass back to the School of Hard Knocks. Pompous Pilate was the first person I saw. Let me describe his ghastly attire. He was sporting the kind of jeans sold in Mothercare. There was enough fabric in them to provide shelter for a family of wandering nomads. The jeans were fastened, precariously, just under his chin. He was also modelling a lambswool sweater in a pale mauve. This highlighted his impressive 'DD' cleavage. The mauve clashed terribly with his lobster-hued skin, (he obviously had not spent his holidays in the North East, selflessly nurturing homeless sighthounds).

Pompous seems to be terribly enamored with the colour pink. His usual work attire is a navy pin stripe suit coupled with a garish, pink, checked shirt. I know the Boden catalogue is full of swarthy, labrador-hugging, corduroy and welly-wearing Adonises bedecked in pink shirts, but someone needs to tell Pompous that it is not the look for a balding, corpulent Yorkshireman.

Anyway. The first thing on our agenda for the day was a team-building activity. Pompous had collected a selection of quotes about education. We had to identify who said them. This took several hours, as each quote gave Pompous the opportunity to pontificate and soliloquise.

'Ah then, now you know, Ghandi, he agreed with me that . . . .'

'Yes, Mandela and I both feel that . . . '

'Of course, this quote of Wilde's is just what I always say to new teachers . . .'

At that point I whispered to a fellow Stepford,

'Wilde? Was that in Kids in America, do you think?'

Of course, my wit and irony was completely wasted. The brainwashed Stepford disapprovingly shook her head at me before throwing Pompous a look of fawning adoration. Sometimes I feel I am living through the 'The Emperor's New Clothes'.

The day was crammed full with banal activities. It ended with Pompous's delivery of his 'vision' for the School of Hard Knocks'. I shan't bore you with it, but there was one moment that I feel really sums up the innate nastiness of the man. One of his values is professionalism and respect: respect of colleagues, parents, children. Of dealing with people with respect and compassion, no matter what provocation you are faced with. Of course, who could argue with that? This speech was accompanied by a slideshow of images from our school. Suddenly, a picture of our school canteen and lovely dinnerladies popped up.

'Ha, look at her. . .she looks like Les Dawson. I think she's got a beard! Blimey, she's enough to put you off your dinner!'

Shamefully, lots of people laughed at that. I didn't. I gave him my iciest glare. So much for his respect of his colleagues.

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