Gemma Warren column
Gemma text = But I didn't mind sacrificing a week on the Costa del Sol to attend all these celebrations. I thought they might provide a little light relief from the rigours of the teaching year, if only by providing plenty of opportunities for meaningless small talk, rather than in-depth discussions about the inner-London allowance and rolling out the key stage 3 strategy. But, strangely enough, I spent more of this summer talking about teaching than ever before. Am I the only person in the profession to have noticed a worrying new trend at weddings? Who went to a wedding this summer and ended up sitting at - drum roll, please - the dreaded Teachers' Table?
It's an awful place. You're chatting pleasantly enough through the reception, you're buying a few drinks and everything's fine. You go through to dinner, and there's normally a table plan. Oh good, you think (naively), a chance to talk with people, to socialise like only adults can when they're safe in the knowledge that they can stay out as long as they like because they don't have to spend all Sunday marking; a chance to discuss nice things like films and books and even the weather - anything but school. You sit down. You introduce yourself to the people around you. You find out how they know the bride or groom. You say what a lovely service it was and how lucky we are that it's not raining like it was last weekend.
And then you find out what they do. They're all sodding teachers.
Are there really that many teachers in the world? Is it really true that all teachers are over 50 and heading for retirement? It can't be; the ones I met this summer all seemed to be in their late twenties with lots of friends who are getting married. You look sympathetically at your husband, whose heart is sinking when he realises where we're sitting yet again. And now he'll have to listen to us all trying to outdo each other with funny stories about senior management.
A note to potential brides and grooms: I know you think you're being wonderfully creative with your table plans, but you're not. Just because we're all teachers does not automatically mean we will get on. We can mate with other species. In future, sit me next to a rocket scientist, please.
Or a milkman. Or anyone who doesn't want me to email them a list of circle-time activities. Otherwise, potential lovebirds, next year it will definitely be the Costa del Sol.
Gemma Warren is acting special needs co-ordinator at a London secondary school. Email: email@example.com