De-teachification: my 5 steps to total relaxation this winter break

Before the holidays began, I made a solemn promise to blog naked from the waist up. Quite why, I forget.

Many people ask me: “Whats, how do you remain so perennially serene? You’re my idealised vision of a gnomic deity.”

That second part freaks me out a bit, to be frank, but then I remember that I’m wearing a t-shirt with all that written on it. I ought to get a second one and rotate them in the wash. Maybe a third one, so I can wear one, wash one and have one drying.

Having three of one t-shirt with an obscure statement on it may seem like an indulgence, but it’s my firm belief that indulgence is precisely what teachers deserve during our hard-earned holidays. After a term of total teaching, it’s essential that we unwind completely.

And what better way to replenish, rejuvenate and recharge than with Whatonomy’s (in the 3rd person) five step De-teachification?

If you meticulously follow my De-teachification process, I can personally guarantee that you will effortlessly transition from this:


Me, last day of term.
…to a far more sedate this:


Note the placid sheen of my cheeks. Like edam wax.
And how to achieve this edam-wax sheen? Here are my 5-steps to complete and utter de-teachification:

Step 1: Get extremely drunk

It is completely essential upon first entering the holiday season to get totally legless on Lambrusco; preferably to the point where you wake up the next day with a lingering anxiety that you may have shown your piercing to a polite yet visibly discomforted member of SLT. This anxiety should last the entire duration of the holiday. In January, you will attempt to establish the veracity of your ‘big reveal’ with said SLT member and they will go a bit pale and dart a look at your privates, before (again politely) changing the subject by asking you if you have any “Prince-outs – I mean print-outs of last year’s reading age data”.

Step 2: Indiscriminately slap people on Twitter

A vital second step in my De-teachification process is to pick a few pedagogical fights on Twitter. This will release a lot of the nervous energy that has been building up towards the end of the calendar year.

In order for your Twitter spat to be maximally replenishing, it is important that its topic be as completely irrelevant to teaching as possible, but must be with fellow teachers. Here are some suggested topics (all related to Star Wars and Mother Theresa) for your holiday slapfest:

1) How Mother Theresa shares the same technical capabilities as the Death Star.

2) Your argument could start by claiming that her tractor beam is less powerful than Darth Vader’s. 

3) You might also want to engage in conjecture upon how she might have dealt more benevolently with Alderaan.

Soon you will be bickering away joyfully, each slap/tweet taking you, cheeks numb, a step closer to serenity.

Step 3: Stare intently at moss

One cannot possibly de-teachify without a good long look at some moss, preferably on a wall. We’re all familiar with the sight of teachers standing by walls looking at its green stubble.

Only this morning I felt the tension slip from me as I placed my eyeballs as closely as possible to some moss on a wall. Additionally, one might imagine that the moss is a jungle canopy and one’s eyes are soldiers in a military helicopter. Move your eyes slowly over the moss whilst humming The End by The Doors: hey presto, you are in the intro to Apocalypse Now!*

Step 4: Visit friends and family

The holidays are a really important time to remind yourself of husbands, wives, uncles, friends, pets and all the living things that are not related to your job of teaching.

Two days ago I found a hamster that I’d forgotten I had, stuffed down the back of the sofa. I had some quality time tearfully cradling its tiny skeleton: each sob an ebb towards my goal of ultimate relaxation.

Step 5: Grow a beard

Yes, regardless of your gender, it is entirely essential that you grow a hearty beard during your holiday (even bank holidays are long enough to grow a small moustache).

However, in order to maximize your personal relaxation, it is absolutely imperative that you follow these additional five steps in both the form and slow deletion of your facial hair. Ideally, you should shave your beard off in these stages, emerging with a broad grin to reveal the incremental results to a cohabitor:

1) Grow a full-on, fuzzy Christmas beard à la Father Christmas – something of sufficient size to house the contents of a small pencil case;

2) Shave it to a goatee – a cross between the Charles Dickens and the Charles Manson should suffice;

3) Reduce the goatee to a Village People biker’s handlebar moustache – perhaps topped off with a peaked leather cap. If you can keep the moustache connected in one fluid swoop to your sideburns, you’ll be well on the way to a state of utter grace.

4) You should now “shave the handlebar” down to a spivvy, pencil moustache, much like the BBC stereotype of a 1970’s used car dealer. You might want to procure a sheepskin coat. You might not.

5) This final stage is a little thorny. You’ll now be down to a tiny, square moustache, which you may choose to pass off as either Oliver Hardy (with bowler and bow tie), or Adolf Hitler. Choosing the latter path may result in you goosestepping around your living room in front of your long-suffering husband/wife/cohabitor/hamster. This is no longer – I repeat no longer – funny. Not even the third time I tried it.

At the very end of the holiday, it’s vital to remove this final square of facial hair before returning to school the next day. Should you forget, garble something to your SLT about getting into “another fine mess”. On no account goosestep away from them.

So there you have it. If you have faithfully followed these five steps, you will have assuredly attained gnomic deification.

Try printing that lot on a t-shirt. Twice.

My, but it’s cold.

*Please note: it is extremely difficult to hum The End. Although not featured in the original intro, you may wish to substitute it with Riders on the Storm, which is a substantially more convincing hum.


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