Election rigging and accusations thereof happen all the time, whether it's hanging chads in the US, Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier pre-printing "Yes" on presidential ballot papers in Haiti or Daniel accusing me of cheating because I wouldn't give him his pencil back when he put it in the ballot box in 3T's school council run-off. It's a tough business. He didn't win.
I've just started my primary PGCE and it's a daunting task, even without writing about it. I am going to be scrupulous about anonymity whenever I write. That's why, for example, I changed Jason's name to Daniel above. I'm a professional from the off. It's also why I'm not going to tell you where I'm training (though if Radio 4 broadcast an everyday story of country folk called The Carchers, this is where it would be set).
Kick off was in a nearby school. This is when you start to discover what kind of teacher you want to be, what you need to work on and that life isn't fair, especially on election day. You can be the most diligent returning officer in the world, spending a good half hour making a ballot box, lovingly chopping out a hole in the top and painstakingly covering the thing with glitter, but they will still accuse you of vote rigging.
Back at the faculty, we haven't yet decided on our PGCE group representatives, but I've got my attack ads ready. And I take a leaf out of Daisy's book and use the hustings to tell everyone that I simply want to be more important and special than them. Amazing, isn't it? An honest politician. She won.
"So, what do you need to work on?" I sense you wondering. I also sense you wondering whether to flip straight to the job supplement, because you're probably ready for a headship by now. To answer your second wonder first, you definitely are. I know I am. As long as I address the answer to the first. Which is being a grown-up. It's much harder than it sounds. My parents made it look so easy. When my Mum was my age she was buying me a Muppets lunch box for the first day of school. When I was my age I was doing exactly the same thing.
One of the many tremendous things about going into primary teaching is that you can, for want of a less punchable phrase, embrace your inner child. But I've also found that I need to embrace my outer adult, and that's a great deal harder and more frightening. Particularly when the last job I had before I started training was as a dinosaur singing a hymn. But I'm working on it.
So, school experience for a week, seeing the smalls start school; then to college to join the bigs starting school. I have already learned many things. Here are some of them.
- Whether you're 4 or 40, it's very hard to shut up in a classroom when you first sit down. There are so many exciting things to share with your friends first thing in the morning. It is rather moving to see that lecturers also have to wiggle their fingers to get their students to be quiet for the start of the day; more moving still to see it work on people long past puberty.
- Cath Kidston must be making an absolute fortune. I was told by a pedachum before the course that virtually everyone would have a Cath Kidston bag by the end of it, and she was not wrong. Even in week one the growth is exponential.
- The ATL and NASUWT teaching unions give away better freebies than the NUT. The ATL won in terms of quantity, but the NASUWT had one of those tokens you use for shopping trolleys and lockers, and I've wanted one of those for ages, so I'm joining them.
- Teachers are marvellous. The first week of the course has combined being given masses of information with being given masses of warm encouragement and lovely speeches of greeting from faculty members. Everyone's tremendously kind, but it did reach a stage when so many people had told us we were welcome to the profession I started to think they might be jumping ship.
My journey has begun (I understand from TV that I have to be on a "journey") and I'm somewhat overexcited. Which can only be a good thing. Not to mention that there's a satchel in the window of Cath Kidston with some dinosaurs on it. Not singing a hymn, mind, but some stuff I'm just going to have to let go.
Angie Jenkinson is studying for a primary PGCE.