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Hark the Herald's angled wing

Forgive me for resorting to seasonal cliches for this one. But the editor has just e-mailed me to tell me that the deadline for this article is rather sooner than I had anticipated.

As a consequence, my proposed piece on the simple, natural remedy that not only acts as a side-effect-free alternative to Viagra but also enhances one's mental capacities to the extent that it is possible to wheech up the chartered teacher scale in a matter of weeks will have to wait. Instead, you'll get that old chestnut,"my New Year resolutions".

This year I intend to climb Ben Nevis, cut down the amount of sugar I take in tea, double the number of phrases I can say In Urdu (OK, six phrases still isn't very impressive but it's a start) and learn to use an electronic whiteboard.

Save for the Ben Nevis one, which is reliant on my hill-walking friend and I being able to fit around work and family commitments, all of these are "do-able". More dependent on other people and on external circumstances are my ambitions to once again own a Triumph Herald and to achieve publication in a book.

Naturally, I have the usual laudable wishes for 2003 - a peaceful world, health and happiness for my family and friends and so forth. Professionally, my desire is that at this time next year I will still be in charge of my subject and recognised as such.

Let me explain. I am an APT physics in a department where there is a PT science. After August 2003, there will be no such thing as an assistant principal teacher. My understanding is that we go on to point 3 of the chartered teacher scale - or we opt to be PTs and get job-sized, if this fits with our employers' management structure and provided that this is in tune with our own career plans.

Another way of saying this is that I don't know what the hell is happening. Perhaps I will by the time you read this.

Here's my suggestion. Let those of us who want to be PTs become them. We will inevitably be job-sized as little ones. Make it clear that our jobs will not exist after we retire, move on or are abducted by aliens. It shouldn't cost any more than putting us on the chartered teacher scale and more people will be content and fulfilled.

Whatever happens, the sun will still rise, weans will still get taught and male teachers will still buy shirts from George at Asda. Happy New Year!

Gregor Steele was going to resolve to give up gratuitous vulgarity but couldn't be ersed.

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