Send for the steak pies

5th March 2004 at 00:00
don't know whether my piece four weeks ago about "real characters" in teaching offended anyone but I live in hope. Real characters are going to make an appearance again today, but first you must brace yourself for a stunning revelation. After 20-odd (and I choose my words carefully) years in front of weans, I have temporarily gone over to the Dark Side.

To use more formal terminology, I have been seconded by the local authority advisory service to work with them on a number of initiatives and to help deliver in-service training for a year. The codename for this mission, which I chose to accept, is "Working for Auntie".

Though I had my successful interview (a phrase that was an oxymoron to me for a number of years) in December, I have yet to start full time. This is due to a chronic shortage of physics cover teachers for my somewhat top-heavy timetable.

At the moment I am only doing a day and a half a week. This is tougher than it sounds because everyone knows that as soon as you leave the classroom behind you become a useless git who is completely detached from reality.

Reattaching myself to reality twice a week fair takes it out of me and I sometimes feel the need for a wee lie down or a steak pie supper when I get home.

As was the case when I last changed post, the first day was the most awkward. I was shown my office. I have never had an office before, even one shared with other people. Would I start saying David Brent type things like "the eagle may soar high but the weasel never gets sucked into the intakes of jet aircraft"?

Apparently, "hot desking" was de rigueur so I decided that's what I would do - as soon as I found out what it meant. I located the gents' loo. It was one floor up and had an open window level with the end of the urinal.

Suddenly I knew how I could end my career, should I ever need to.

Back in the office, most of the desks were cold. Folk were presenting courses or visiting schools. A handful of computers taunted me with log-on screens for which I did not have a password. My line manager came in and gave me a rundown on the staff I would be working with.

And that's when my words came back to haunt me. The people I was about to share my space with, I was told, worked hard but were good fun. I'd enjoy myself because I was a character.

At this point I should, in cinematic style, have sat bolt upright in bed yelling "Nooooo!" but it was not to be.

More tales from the Dark Side anon.

Gregor Steele sometimes has problems parking his Skoda at his new workplace.

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