At school this week there has ensued a furore. A hullabaloo. A brouhaha, if you will. Concerning toilets. It all began in 'briefing' on monday morning. Briefing is a full staff meeting at the start of the week before registration (between 8.05 and 8.25) in which our deeply uninspiring Head tells what happened in school last week and what s going to happen in school this week.
(As an aside, I must add here that a secondary school Head gets paid in the region of £80,000 - £100, 000, which arguably is fair enough, though I wouldn't want to do it, no responsibilities outside of the classroom for me thanks... I would have thought that for that amount of money a person should be expected [amongst numerous other requirements] to be able to orate at least adequately to a crowd, lets say at least in meetings with their own staff. Unfortunately our current Head has all the charisma of a boiled potato. Not only that but she regularly fluffs her lines, gets so tongue-tied she makes no sense, miserably fails to produce powerpoint presentations of point or appropriate use (she reads 'em to us!), and has even been known to bottle meetings and leave her minions to deliver bad news to us. However, she never fails to turn up to your lesson, grade it according to her 3 page 'tick sheet' and then deliver a verdict on how good you are at teaching [judged on whatever the latest 'buzz-standards' are]. Naturally, as someone who battles internally a far greater foe, when she criticised me I told her what I thought... she just replied "righto, i'll come and observe you again next week." Curses.)
Anyhoo, this week during briefing I was awakened from my usual dead-eyed trance on vaguely hearing the word "toilets". It seemed that on tuesday (that'd be today) the local water company would be doing some work on the local mains which would require turning off the schools supply of water mid-afternoon. This news (unlike all else, which is met by uninterested silence) was greeted by a rubarby rumble of discontent...
'What about the toilets?' someone cried
'Oh, we'll put buckets in there for flushing' (I kid you not)
'What about having water available in case of chemical accidents in the labs?' chimed a canny science teacher
'What about drinking water for the kids at break?' enquired an english teacher (famed for being a thorn in the side of the old head)
'Oh yes, we'll, er, have bottled water in for them'
'Well, how big is the header-tank?' calls the maddest maths teacher on the planet
'Erm, (she's flapping madly now), OH I DONT KNOW ABOUT THESE THINGS BUT EVERYTHING'LL BE FINE AND NORMAL...'
Cue end of meeting.
On my way back to my classroom, I happened upon one of the deputies. "You know, the school should be closed really" I suggested (just for mischief), and was treated to the most insincere sincerity I have faced for a long time: "Ah, yes. People. Like. You. With medical conditions... good point... phone that across to the head would you." Did he seriously expected me to phone the Head and suggest either a) the school be closed because of my UC, or b) I should get the day off while everyone else soldiered on, or c) ask for a 'Shitbox' for my classroom? I use the word insincere here because, despite outward appearances, this guy is not actually interested in your interests. It is his modus operandi: he's a blagger. But, he only blags himself. He thinks we all think he's a 'great guy'. So wrong. He asks me every day when he passes me 'So, how are things?' It was when he asked me again passing him the other way that it really twigged. It wouldn't matter if I said 'well, my family were massacred last night, so I've been better', because his answer would still be a smoothly ejaculated "Good, goooooooooooooood..."
The resolution of all this? Well, within half an hour there was an email from her headship, the school would be shutting early tuesday after all. Somebody must have pointed out to her that keeping open a building with nearly 2000 people in it (1750 kids, 150+ staff) with no running water or toilet function was not really a good idea...
Rituals of Loss
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