A couple of years after this column started, I carelessly outed myself as a teacher at Lanark Grammar. The then head, a fan of the fortnightly musings and private HMI fantasies, called me to his office and pointed out that I would now have to be careful of what I wrote.
Thus, when I moved to a new school, I never revealed where it was beyond "a rural school at the edge of South Lanarkshire". Rustling of maps. Ah, yes, Biggar High School.
Anyway, I've been away from the place for over a year now, so I can really dish some dirt and they can't touch me for it. So here goes: (several blank lines follow, accompanied by the whistling of wind and images of tumbleweeds...)
If I wanted to, I could list a few things that riled me but, without putting in the good bits, that would be like expecting people to judge David Bowie's musical output on the strength of his "Laughing Gnome" single. Ultimately, I don't have room for the good bits in 380 words.
It's true that I had a tough time after coming back from secondment. I wrote about it here, and a regular correspondent emailed to say she assumed I was exaggerating for effect. In fact, I was grossly understating how I felt at the time (though I am now exaggerating, for effect, the regularity of my friend's correspondence).
I now have theories about what was happening during that period, but none of them involve blaming anybody, perhaps not even myself. Do I want to go back? No. There is too much I'd miss about my new job (as an education support officer, with an organisation based near Dunfermline, and that's all I'm saying), but I wouldn't be in the new job if Biggar hadn't been so good to me.
Around a year after moving on, I was back in the town with my wife. As we walked up the high street, three pupils stopped me and were kind enough to tell me that I was missed. I chatted for a short time, then darted into the Elphinstone Hotel for a coffee before someone else could shout: "Hey Baldy, we've got a great new physics teacher now!"
Gregor Steele will henceforth refer to the organisation where he works only by its initials.