Holly, ivy and bad dancing

15th December 2006 at 00:00
Ah, the staff Christmas party, circled in red on the free teacher's wall calendar. It's right up there, with Ofsted and Activity Week, and now it is imminent.

The thing that most fascinates me about the Christmas get-together is not so much the event itself, which usually contains minor variations on the same themes: drunkenness, very bad dancing, and adorning the shoulders of bemused deputy heads with party popper entrails (it was funny at the time, honestly it was). The thing that fascinates me is the response it invokes.

There are those who only go because they have to - people such as senior managers who obligingly "put in an appearance" and then disappear before the innuendos start, back to the sanity of tea, crumpets and extended episodes of Law and Order. There are those who go because they absolutely have to: the kings and queens of the staff-room, who feel it is their duty to be at the centre of all things social and gossip-related.

There are those who believe attendance is a political issue and do not go on principle (bah humbug!). There are those who go to drink, and there are those who go to nurse the one glass of house red all night (allegedly it interferes with their medication), while keenly scrutinising the antics of those of their colleagues who prefer to go to the other extreme.

Then, there are those who, like me, attend with the intention of drinking and cavorting in healthy moderation, but somehow get confused and end up harassing nubile male NQTs with wilted bunches of mistletoe, while singing Girls Just Wanna Have Fun over the loudspeaker system.

I would like to say I have learned from my mistakes and will never make them again, but truthfully I think it is wiser to use this opportunity to say a big heartfelt "sorry" to anyone I may encounter this coming Friday night Louisa Leaman is a London teacher

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