When people warn you off from a teaching career, they might mention the long hours, the constant scrutiny or the existentialist angst of being forced to use eight different types of punctuation per sentence. But there’s a greater danger that every teacher must face, especially at this time of year. I speak, of course, of the perils of the display board.
- Backing-paper back The display board is the Dorian Gray of the teaching world: in desperate need of backing paper to hide the pin-speckled soul that lies beneath. Backing-paper back is the price you pay for covering this unpalatable truth – and pulling a muscle in the process.
- Staple nail No matter how good your staple remover purports to be, there’s always one really stubborn staple that gets stuck. You could take the mature approach and accept it. Or you could do what most of us do: lose your temper, attempt to rip the damn thing out with your bare hands and rip a nail off instead.
- Laminator rage You’ve heard of road rage, right? Well, this is its little-known cousin. In a move to perplex even Goldilocks, your pictures will be too stiff, then too floppy, but never just right. And then, the machine will jam. Woe betide anyone who walks into the room at this point – a flying laminator can do a lot of damage.
- Repetitive strain injury The idea of having 100 tiny origami dinosaurs on your science board display seemed like genius at the time. But now that you’re three hours in and your wrist is starting to seize up, you’re wishing you’d paid more attention to the "muscle damage" part of your own science education.
- Wonky-lettering syndrome Not all scars inflicted by display boards are physical. There’s also the mental trauma of wonky-lettering syndrome. Just as you’ve finished your artistic and informative display, you spot it. The "A" and the "E" in the title are slightly out of alignment. Everyone else will tell you they can’t even see the problem, but it will bother you for the NEXT THREE MONTHS.
Kate Townshend has been teaching in schools in Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire for more than 10 years. She tweets as @_KateTownshend