"TWENTY-THREE is, like, the best age to be a teacher, because you're still so open. No offence, but, like, someone your age, you probably do the same thing every term, the same way? I'm Ryan Ryan Egoe. Sorry, bit trippy, just back from Honduras. Woo-hoo! Who are you?"
"Emily Shark. I teach English."
"Oh, right. Yah, Guatemala was incredible we have so much to learn from Mayan, like, ancient wisdom? I'm, like, wait, we still put children behind desks? That's, like, so cruel."
Oh, inhuman. We should sacrifice them to the sky god instead. Who is this person and how do you make him stop?
"Anyhow, good to meet you. I'll be studying geography here."
"You mean, teaching geography."
"Yah, you can put me into that power thing if you like. I guess you can't help it it's your age again. Personally, I think we're all, like, on a learning journey and I see myself as a co-learner? There's this amazing book I read and there's this part about a hermit with a pile of cinnamon sticks. You should read it. It's called Teaching the Internal Teacher to Listen..."
They should have called it Teaching the External Prat to Keep Talking. Well, Ryan the Mayan, I wonder which lucky children will have you today?
Oh, I would love to see what they do to him. So far this week, no one has met a wide-eyed and puppyish new class. My Year 7s are as spiky and sparky as breaking glass. Given time, they could be fun but only after a good pounding of high-speed spelling tests and industrial-strength homework.
Ah, that's better here comes Jennifer Boney, cardigan flapping with gossip joy.
"Emily! Have you heard about Melinda and Jon? Over the summer, they... "
"Hey, are you the art teacher? I'm Ryan. I'd love to talk with you about how your subject and mine connect... "
Melinda and Jon did what over the summer? Split up? Got engaged? He can't marry her! A gorgeous chocolate labrador and a rabid poodle bitch. Wrong, wrong!
"Er, hello, Ryan. Sure at lunch, maybe?"
Yes, not now! Go away, Ryan! Go and stand by your Mayan. Let Boney...
"Great... Yah, that thing in the art room, with the, like, gold mask, that is so, like, nearly authentic? I'd like to suggest an improvement to you. Oh, Emma, I hadn't finished telling you about dream symbols, and I think you need to hear this..."
"Sorry, Emily, gotta go. I'll tell you later."
"I had this like, amazing dream in Mexico about a tree full of tiny green birds, you know, like, really happy birds? When I woke up, I just knew I had to be a teacher."
Incredible. I had an amazing dream in Middlesex about crocodiles, you know, like, really sarcastic crocodiles? When I woke up, I just knew I had to kill you.
More from Emily in a fortnight