What chocolate bar are you, as a teacher?

What does your favourite chocolate snack say about your teaching personality? Zoë Crockford opens the foil and takes a bite
26th December 2020, 4:00pm
Zoe Crockford


What chocolate bar are you, as a teacher?

A Range Of Different Types Of Chocolate Bar, Truffle & Biscuit

I don't know about you, but around this time of year I am surviving on carbs and carbs alone. 

I am fully aware that out there are many thousands of teachers who live a wholesome and healthy life - mainly because they never shut up about it - exercising regularly, eating clean and raw, restricting alcohol and taking supplements. But for every one of these enviable (read: annoying) educationalists, there are at least 10 others who are running on caffeine and sugar in all its forms.

Having had the undeniable pleasure of working in several schools across the years, I've found they have one thing is common: the nearer to the end of term you get, the higher the collective reliance on sugar.

Cakes start appearing in the staffroom. Biscuits are passed round before lessons, Haribo feature heavily in coat pockets during breaktime duties, and bars upon bars of chocolate of every variety are snaffled in hurried moments. 

How much of a Yorkie can you cram in on the way to assembly? If you speed-eat a Mars bar before your year team meeting, will the sugar rush be enough to keep you awake? Will Year 8 notice if you are still picking pieces of Snickers out of your teeth while you take the register?

All of which got me thinking: what does your favourite chocolatey snack say about your teaching personality? Is there a direct correlation between your pedagogical style and the amount of caramel in your chosen guilty treat? Well, of course there is. Probably. 

What does your favourite chocolate say about you as a teacher?

Using a methodical and data-driven approach, not at all fabricated for ease and speed, I have taken a cross-section of teachers who qualified between 1970 and 1990, and found an astonishing correlation with a range of vintage confectionery. My findings are remarkable in their accuracy.

1. 1970s: Amazin' Raisin 

A hefty combination of milk and dark chocolate, nougat and raisins, this 5p classic is everything that is good about this era of education. 

If this was your school-based snack, then you are probably a polymath, equally adept at teaching cooking, country dancing and maintaining a nature table - or the core subjects, as they were known back then. 

Like the contents of the Amazin' Raisin bar, your dress sense is eclectic, and you aren't afraid to mix styles and textures. Rumour has it that the bar contained brandy, which would be about right because your head of department had a bottle hidden in his desk drawer.

2. 1980s: Spira

This Cadbury's triumph took a Flake and harnessed the engineering principles of Brunel to create a structural curiosity. 

On the outside: two fingers of lumpy chocolate, slightly reminiscent of a Ripple. But - oh, my word, people - on the inside: a vaguely twisty segmented skeleton structure, spoke-like in appearance. 

The Spira teacher has hidden depths. Average in appearance and unremarkable to many, this teacher has an alter ego. It might be a weekend job as a tightrope walker, a penchant for taxidermy or a sideline as a burlesque dancer. Beneath that Marks and Spencer workwear lies a crazy, exotic, rampaging cultural beast. 

You are a relentlessly reliable staff member. You toe the line and never question the stress-inducing "incentives" you are burdened with. You don't need to because, outside the school gates, you are Roxy De Boom with a homemade fox-fur trim.

3. 1990s: Time Out

It came, it went, it came back again. Two fingers of wafer, sandwiched with some chocolatey goop and covered in chocolate. 

Surprisingly quick to eat - so perfect for a 15-minute break, leaving enough time to get to the loo, collect your photocopying and bark at some kids. 

If you began teaching in the 1990s, you were there during the heady days of grant-maintained schools, when budgets ran to outside catering for training days and fully funded Christmas parties. 

But, like the pots of direct government dripdown dosh, the extravagance of the two-finger Time Out was unsustainable, and it was withdrawn only to return at half the size. 

You are the teacher who started with everything, then felt the pinch. You probably left, either to work abroad or to have kids, and have since returned to a smaller, more pared-down version of what you thought teaching was. 

Time Out is your mascot chocolate snack because, despite everything, it is still there. Though, yes, it provides comfort in smaller quantities now. Much like your salary

4. The timeless classic: Mars bar 

And so to one of the all time greats. Like many teachers, the poor old Mars bar has hung on through thick and thin. 

Once a decently chunky, substantial and sensibly priced gluttonous indulgence, dear old Mars has taken the hits of economics, marketing, ingredients and peer pressure.

Are you a teacher who is in it for the long haul, has seen others come and go, has developed over the years (king size, ice cream, mini, cake bars…) but beneath it all are still the same solid, traditional, iconic, stalwart of education that you've always been? Then you are a Mars bar teacher. 

On the first day of my current job, the headteacher gave me a gift of a mug and a Mars bar. He told me it was to remind me to keep work-life balance in perspective

I was so taken aback (and slightly concerned by how much work might be coming my way) that, despite many days when I may have needed that Mars bar, it is still in my bag - albeit a bit more squished now than it was that first day. 

In theory, I am saving it for a real emergency munch. But, in reality, every time I see it, I just feel it epitomises all that I am as a teacher: old school, yet open to change. And a bit sickly.

Zoë Crockford is an art teacher at a secondary school in Bournemouth

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