Monday, February 12, 2007

Yes / No (part 3)

Part 1

Part 2

The story so far: After school on Friday afternoon, I have promised Stuart, a child in my class, that I will go to a performance he is doing. I have no intention of going.

The school is silent and still. Without the children, the air in the school shimmers, the whole building takes respite before the sugar frosted onslaught of 440 feet, 440 hands and 220 mouths. It feels like when you watch some sort of olympic profile or tennis competition and the BBC have made a black and white film of a sportsman looking down at the floor and thinking deeply, in preparation for a violently explosive performance.

I went to the staff room as I always do in the morning and looked on the whiteboard, searching desperately for the words “David Out Of Class: JP” JP being the initals of the supply teacher who does most of the supply teaching at our school. Sometimes these words miraculously appear on the board if a very urgent and important task needs doing – for example somebody may need to download an excel spreadsheet from the internet, a mail merge document may need preparing or somebody may have some photos that need uploading onto a machine.

These words weren’t on the board, so I took solace in the words “David PPA: JP” which appeared on Wednesday morning, reading them over and over again. PPA stands for Personal Preparation and Drinking Coffee - I think.

I make my first very strong coffee of the day. I use a heaped tablespoon of coffee in a single serving cafetiere. I walk through to my empty classroom, sit down at my desk, boot up the computer and perform the most important task of the day – making sure everything on my desk is lining up parallel. This is quite difficult as I have quite a few items on my desk.

Anything that doesn’t have a straight line has to be hidden in my drawer, anything that is cylindrical has to be placed exactly central on something square. I need to get this done before my teaching assistants come in, because their first job is to come over to my desk and slightly nudge everything until I am furious.

Eventually my desk is perfect. I open my inbox and delete the mail from local secrets saying “DAVID TRENT – Cambridge and All Around x – xth xxxxuary”. I look at the messages that have turned my gmail labels bold and resist the urge to click on them all to make the bolds go away and reset the screen to it’s default uniformity. I take a sip of coffee, slightly adjust the objects on my desk and start clicking at bold gmail labels.

I re-check the clock, see that it is 8:35 and fly into a frenzy of activity that will get me ready for the morning. I switch on my interactive whiteboard, switch on my class computer, type in my username and password, press ctrl + f7 3 times to toggle the monior through until both the class computer and the interactive whiteboard show the desktop, load “daily desktop.psd” change all the lessons listed on the right of the graphic and the date at the top, save as .jpg, open with windows picture and fax viewer, right click and save as desktop. I suddenly remember that I have to give out the Maths homework today, choose something related to last week’s maths unit, jump up from my desk, glance at the clock on the wall – 8.37 – and fly towards the door.

There, in the doorway, like the midwich cuckoos, stand Stuart and Karen, staring at me. Stuart is deadly serious. Karen has a massive grin on her face. Behind them stands Stuart and Karen’s Mum.

It all comes flooding back. The promise I’d made. Why’s he brought his MUM though? Suddenly I want it to be the weekend again, very, very badly.

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