Soapbox - When did I turn into my teachers?

3rd October 2008 at 01:00
Every week your chance to shout about what makes you happy, sad or mad .

I remember Dad asking Mum to shoot him if he ever turned into his father. As teachers, shouldn't our concern about becoming our parents be preceded by a fear of morphing into our teachers?

Sometimes I reel in shock at the alter egos I maintain: the laid-back, flip-flop clad girl from Down Under who still manifests rebellion by passing notes and chewing gum in meetings; compared with the room-stalking teacher, brow a-furrow, who produces tripe such as: "How dare you use such language in my presence?" Truth is, I swear a lot.

So what happened? Was there some hypnotic class at teacher training college where we were programmed to automatically convert the words "*!%@ off" to "I'm shockedhorrifiedinsert old fashioned exclamation of choice here"? I know the language processing unit in my head flashes up a string of annihilating, vicious, yanked-from-the-gutter insults when pupils are rude, but I'm unfailingly alarmed when all I can come out with is "Excuuuuse me" in a strained hoity-toity voice.

There is also an increased desire to enter staffroom discussions about how silly boys look with their shorts hanging off their posteriors. Luckily these conversations are interspersed with the latest gossip, such as the new art teacher apparently sharing a cab home from Friday drinks with the head of geography. They live on opposite sides of town - jokes about bearings and compasses abound.

If we're putting on the same performance our teachers delivered us, it's little wonder pupils think we're incapable of having families or even an existence outside of school. I remember being surprised when my science teacher spoke of a new kitten in class one day; surely that would involve some form of affection? Not possible from that robot.

It is inevitable that we become more sensible and conservative as we age, and unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your influences), more like the generation that shaped us. However, I for one will never be that eagle-eyed teacher roaming the playground telling pupils to pull their socks up. The flag of rebellion still flies even if the winds have died down. So far.

Suran Dickson is a school sport co-ordinator in Islington, north London.

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