Sweet dreams;Talkback

6th March 1998 at 00:00
This morning a mother in a Volvo is dropping off her kid at the school gates. I wind down the window of my Mini. Correction, I don't. It's stuck and never winds up in the first place. "Why don't you take him further," I yell, "and drop him off through the classroom window?" Her face turns purple. She hands him his neatly-packaged lunch. "You'll be hearing from my solicitor," she says.

It's a bad hair day, but my lessons go better than normal. They've more sting.

I quote Phillip Larkin to one group. "Your mum and dad they f... you up." Only I say it in full and my students applaud.

A parent calls about his son. "You shouldn't have conceived him in the first place," I say.

I go to a staff meeting. They're talking about ALF, the average level of funding. "Isn't that a sacred river?" I say - I'm an English teacher - and I quote Khubla Khan by opium-head Samuel Taylor Coleridge, "where Alph the sacred river ran, in caverns measureless to man . . ."

A colleague nudges me. "Dick-head Daubney's on the laudanum again," I hear them say and I wake up.

Never drift off in a staff meeting, I warn myself. Never again. I thank God the bad hair day never happened. It was all a dream.

But the next day, when I go back to being my normal safe self, laying the ghost of Thomas Hardy quietly to rest, being nice at a parents' evening, waving at people in posh cars, I think about that other teacher. Somewhere inside, I wish I was him.

Richard Daubney teaches in Surrey. He writes under a pseudonym

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