Shake your booty

25th April 2014 at 01:00

"What a pity you weren't able to join in," Mr Jones says. He is still purple from his exertions.

"Yes, having an arthritic ankle is a pain in the bottom of the tibia," I reply.

My fall from physical perfection has been a cruel one. Long walks in the Yorkshire Dales are little more than a pub crawl around Grassington these days. But I miss games lessons most of all. The joy of carving my way through Year 6 defenders is nothing more than a distant memory now. My Lionel Messi body swerve and John Terry shoulder barge have been condemned to the dressing room of history.

This morning I couldn't even limp into the men's lavatory quickly enough to dodge the headteacher. But it's not all bad news. I did have an excuse for not taking part in what has been described by some as Zumba Hell.

It is the end of term. Exhausted teachers have staggered into school. Their plan is a simple one: survive the day, go home, lie in front of the television, eat chocolate, drink Pinot Grigio, enter oblivion.

Unfortunately, Mrs Hyperactive has come up with an idea that will turn surviving the day into little more than a forlorn hope. It involves every child and teacher participating in our Egg-cellent Easter Zumbathon. For anyone who's been on another planet for several years, Zumba is a popular dance-based fitness programme. Mrs Hyperactive, who lives on sugary food and energy drinks, is qualified in the art of all things pelvic and has been duly licensed. To kill, I think.

If you happen to be reasonably lithe and rhythmically coordinated, Zumba is a great way to exercise. But if you are a little overweight and massively uncoordinated, there is a distinct danger you might do what my Uncle Ron did at our Julie's wedding (15 years on, he still needs painkillers and a mobility scooter to get to The Dog and Duck).

At the end of a long day on the dance floor, our teachers are broadly divided into three categories. Those judged outstanding are mainly the young, the fit and the wildly enthusiastic. It comes as no surprise when our Zumbathon Star of the Day turns out to be a 12-year-old teacher with a background in competitive cheerleading.

Most of our experienced staff are judged to be good with areas for development. Their performance comments consist of phrases like "competent at Cuban Salsa and Basic Reggaeton, but lacking enthusiasm". This group includes those who teach our older children. When in the company of 11-year-old boys there are distinct limits to what you can shimmy-shake, and with what degree of vigour you can shimmy-shake it.

The only teacher found to have serious weaknesses turns out to be Mr Jones, but feeding back to him isn't easy. Unlike those who judge teachers, primary practitioners are instinctively careful not to damage self-esteem.

"She said my Merengue March was in a class of its own," Mr Jones says.

"And what did she think of your Booty Circles?" I ask.

Instinctively, his bottom begins to gyrate. "Funnily enough, she never mentioned them."

I imagine they left her speechless.

Steve Eddison teaches at Arbourthorne Community Primary School in Sheffield

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