Mince pies and sympathy
I hate it when people say that. It's always followed by something personal. And as it's Melinda, she may as well say, "Don't take this personally, but if you were on life support I'd switch you off."
"Peer observation will help you, Emily. We'll focus on one thing at a time. You'll progress faster that way."
Er, did I just dream the bit when I taught for years as a qualified teacher?
"We all think we're experienced, but our skills need updating. Also, this school could be inspected at any time."
I bet she finds inspections a turn-on.
"Now, I noticed that you didn't state your aims and objectives in the lesson I observed today."
"I know, Melinda. I didn't want to."
"I don't understand ... "
"Mysteries are fun sometimes, and ... "
"Look, Emily, if Year 7s are to hit their targets, then they must know what we expect of them. They must always know exactly why they're doing things."
"Do you always know exactly why you're doing things?"
"Current thinking is that all learners have the right to know what aspect of the curriculum is being delivered. To optimise your contact time, you must ... "
"Why are you talking like this?"
"I beg your pardon?"
"Are you going for the head of department job?"
"I ... How did you know about that, Emily? It hasn't been advertised."
"A lucky guess. Anyway, carry on."
"Oh, dear. I really didn't want to have to tell you this, but someone has to."
"Well, there is serious concern ... don't quote me, but actually it goes quite high up ... anyway, Alison may ask me to take over your Year 7s."
"What! But ... "
"It's not a personal criticism. It's just to help you cope. Then, if we were inspected, that class would be in safe ha ... "
"No! They're all ready to do their dragon thing."
"Cheer up - it may not even happen. Look, I must go. Please, don't panic."
All right, I won't. Melinda's probably making it up anyway. I'm going to forget her and tidy up ... Wait! What's this?
"Please see me about handing over your Year 7s to Melinda. Bring your schemes of work. Thanks - Alison."
Shark, this does not mean you're a bad teacher. It will blow over. And you've dealt with much worse ...
"Emily, what's the matter?"
"Hello, Jon. Oh, nothing. I'll be OK."
Mr Gorgeous! Back in school at last.
"It's Melinda, isn't it?"
"How did you know?"
"You're not the only one she's been slicing up. Have one of these."
A mince pie. A beautiful one too.
"Oh, Emily, don't cry. Come here."
A hug. A beautiful one too.
More from Emily in a fortnight.