Teach Like a Mortal


To your health.
Oh, what it is to be alive in this age of Claudia Winkleman, vacuum-packed chicken, fly-tipping and disability-badge fraud!

[sips sherry]

Mired in an age of hyper-significance in which intertextuality has been stretched to such a degree that I actually recognise people in Strictly Come Dancing, this is a most testing time for the teaching profession.

[allows a South African red to swill around the palate]

Never before has our profession been so weighed down with such a myriad of diverse (and some would say unmanageable) expectations. Only the other day, a parent asked me (with the straightest of straight faces) to walk her dogs, unblock her sink and choreograph a flash mob in a train station on behalf of her estranged and clandestinely orchestral husband.

[draws on a frothy Stella]

Admittedly I do moonlight as a handyman during the holidays, yet at the choreography I found my absolute limit.

[Champagne bubbles tantalise my nostrils]

I say ‘limit’; it did in fact turn out rather well; Liverpool Street came to a standstill and we are currently trending behind Escape to the Country on Twitter. Some way behind, but behind all the same.

[whiskey corrodes my sternum]

The dogs escaped.

[Never has a Blue Nun looked so erotic]

A teacher is the architect of a learning experience. He or she is a parent inasmuch as any adult is when handed the responsibility for a child. But a teacher is, in reality, the parent of his or her own children. Ask my children and they will tell you.

[How do you spell Cointreaux?]

They love their teachers.

[siphons off the last of the Hungarian National Spirit – Christ!]

I say ‘love’. Let’s be honest: if one of their teachers dropped dead, the shock and sadness would be profound but would the sense of loss be as prolonged and achingly present as the loss of a parent? Really?

[the worm in this tequila is looking at me with such intensity!]

A teacher is an architect of a learning experience. He is entitled to put his tools down and lift a glass. Through that glass he might regard, refracted, his own wife and his children.

[pours absinthe into a trepanned skull]

My profession is where I am and what I do: my family is where it’s at.

[eyelids: leaden weight]

So here’s to us: and a guilt-free Christmas we are entitled to enjoy.


Teach like a mortal.

[Boxing Day: wakes up rudely in a chicken coop]


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