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The shock of witnessing a teacher in the wild

Teachers really aren’t supposed to exist outside of school – so bumping into one in the supermarket is a fascinating experience for a primary pupil

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When I was 9, I opened my bedroom door at 11pm and found myself face-to-face with my class teacher. I was wearing my favourite Snoopy pyjamas. Miss O’Grady was sporting a bottle-green dress with huge shoulder pads and was standing calmly on the landing beneath the photo of my grandparents’ wedding and a wall-mounted ashtray depicting Pope John Paul II. The encounter surprised us both, but me most of all. I emitted a sort of gasp before beating a hasty retreat to the bunkbeds where I urgently told my sister.

When you’re at primary school, running into teachers out of context is disconcerting. ...

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