It was another eventful week for the TES Staffroom. Not only did we have the media hordes sniffing around an Opinion forum thread on teenage sex offenders in schools (but only after the story had appeared on the front page of The TES), it was also the week in which an ancient feud between a pair of supposed ex-lovers flared up yet again in Personal, to the extent both parties had to be barred from the forums.
It was while all this was going on that I noticed a thread that offered refuge from the aggro. It seemed to capture something essential about the TES forum user's experience, and certainly something about the lot of a young teacher in January 2006.
This was its title: "Why am I awake and eating toasted pitta bread and tzatiki? (sic)" It was started by pink obbit at 11 minutes past midnight on January 20, within a couple of minutes of my having finally decided to ban poster x.
Now I was all set to report back to you on threads on compelling topics such as these: 1. Canadian teachers in London (a cheerful thread in our thriving Overseas trained teachers forum, which I can recommend heartily, especially if you are a Canadian teacher in London).
2. A thread about the plight of MFL teachers who do not have their own classroom ("I find it exhausting having to lug around my schoolbag with work in, as well as tape recorder, portable OHP, etc... between seven different classrooms - and never in the same one for more than one lesson at a time... It can be such a bugger if you forget anything... especially now as I'm pregnant").
3. A thread in student teachers about Pythagoras. Trainee teacher tells class Pythagoras was Greek. At end of lesson mentor "corrects" him in front of class: says Pythagoras was Egyptian. Turns out (according to thread) that Pythagoras was born Greek but got all his best ideas in Egypt.
Any one of these threads might have provided the fuel for a column in itself. Not to forget the thread of teachers' spoof Hallmark card messages One of my favourites here was Boaqueen (quoting Dorothy Parker?):
"Henceforth I am immeasurably grateful To you for proving shallow, false and hateful."
So why, oh why, did I decide to go for the late-night Middle Eastern snack thread? Read on. Pink obbit: "I've been falling asleep at about 8pm (in the middle of my workTV) most evenings for the past few months. Now I'm wide awake!"
Smirnoffice: "Join the club! Fall asleep most evenings during The Simpsons, then wide awake until about 2am. Eating Walkers lamb and mint and drinking red wine at present. Still doesn't make me sleepy."
Packerguy: "Your body is crying out for the yoghurty minty cucumbery goodness that is tzatziki? It's the minint ladies, that is the common aspect - ask yourselves - why am I craving mint?"
Pink obbit: "I obviously can't spell ttttt... wotsit."
Smirnoffice: "It's even the mint for the gents!"
Ok, so it's not Harold Pinter. But it made me laugh, which is more than most current TV comedies achieve. But maybe that's what reading the forums at this time of day does for one's judgment.
Follow these threads at www.tes.co.ukstaffroom
* Behaviour: smacked on the bottom by pupil
* Opinion: ridiculous workload, stress, and jacking it all inI
* RE:teaching miracles - help!! I need one!!!
* Marketplace: wanted - bag on wheels
* Book Club: second-hand bookshops Bill Hicks is editor of the TES website