Backward lesson on gravity

16th October 2009 at 01:00

Ye cannae change the laws o' physics. I'm with Star Trek's Scotty on that one. Yet, on the day of the Livingston versus Queen's Park game, the laws of physics as I understood them seemed to warp.

It was nothing to do with Liam Fox's superb equaliser. Astonishing though it may have seemed, it could doubtless be explained in terms of Newton's laws of motion. No, it was the presence of my daughter at my side that highlighted the anomaly. She has just turned 20. I know that this is true because I've checked the figures. Yet, it is not possible. She cannot be in her twenties, because I'm still in mine.

Almost everything that defines my adult life happened in my third decade. Graduation. Teacher training. Landing a job (I had a choice of schools!). Marriage. Birth of aforementioned child.

Teaching didn't help. For many years, possibly even into my forties, I felt like a young teacher. This was partially because there were no younger teachers to be seen and partially because, every so often, something would happen in the classroom that made me feel like a useless twit who had learned nothing since qualifying.

The first of these reasons is no longer valid. And you know how in old Scooby Doo cartoons they were always running past an ever-repeating backdrop? Barber's shop, drugstore, milk bar. Barber's shop, drugstore, milk bar? Always running, never really getting anywhere?

It seemed that way at school as section three followed section two followed section one, year after year.

Yet it was never the same. Even if we had not been in a state of permanent curricular flux, section one with John the Champion Farter (he almost achieved Yogi Flying until the unfortunate laxative chocolate incident) in your class wasn't the same as section one with Wee Mark who cursed under his breath like Dick Dastardly's dog. RassenumfrassenumbassardumMrSteele.

On the day of my daughter's 20th, I looked out a photo album that had a picture of me on mine. Grinning broadly, sporting a bright yellow T-shirt bearing the words "absolutely cosmic" and with plenty of boring hair that I don't miss, I am climbing out of a pond in Holyrood Park. I was thrown in by my friends. I can't pretend I look like that any more, nor would I want to.

Having cast myself adrift from teaching, perhaps I can finally feel my age? No chance. In an education support role, I meet many people, some of them colleagues, some of them teachers, who are so knowledgeable that I don't feel 20 again - I feel about 12.

This is great. I feel licensed to listen to seventies music and laugh at double entendres and, above all, licensed to learn.

Gregor Steele's next birthday is `significant'.

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