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No pupils please, I'm teaching my dog

Multicoloured kilts, fantasy love affairs and reincarnated mothers-in-law are among the challenges that new teachers could find themselves confronted with in the staffroom.

Contributors to The TES online staffroom have been discussing the more eccentric colleagues many of them have encountered in the profession.

For some, it was merely of sartorial eccentricity. One contributor described how she was regularly confronted with the lurid kilt, sporran and socks of a colleague to mark the arrival of a newly qualified teacher, which he would pair with a loud patterned shirt and novelty tie.

But many teachers would have welcomed eccentricities that could be solved with a pair of dark glasses. One described a colleague "who told a GCSE class that she was having an affair with me. She couldn't work out why she thought I was a bit psychotic".

Another worked with a new convert to the Hare Krishna religion. "She had a rat in her garden, but wouldn't call in Rentokil, because she thought it was her mother-in-law who had been reincarnated," she said.

Unconventional colleagues can often be avoided, though some NQTs may find themselves answerable to more unusual managers. One contributor said: "My dad worked with a teacher who brought a dog into school, threw out the class he was teaching, barricaded the door shut, and proceeded to teach his lesson to the dog."

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