Thunk 4: The day I ripped my pants at work by by education columnist @PhilBeadle Answer below.
One of the worst parts of being a traveling educator from London is that you have high expectations of cabbies, and outside of the smoke they are rubbish.
“I’d like to go to Birmingham University, please.”
“Where is dat?”
“It’s the big University with the tower in Edgbaston.”
“Where is dat?”
“In the center of Birmingham.”
“Where is dat?”
“We are in Birmingham now. You have just picked me up at the main station…”
Bristol cabbies are the worst. They’ll deliberately take you to completely the wrong place, keep the meter on as they return to where you really wanted to go – three miles away – then charge you thirty quid for going over the city limits.
The worst one I’ve ever been in, though, was in Croydon on a wintry January 3rd morning searching ever more desperately for the apparently invisible Thomas More School. We are five minutes late already: the staff are all sat nursing an approximation of coffee in a draughty hall, ready for a session on active learning, it can’t start without me, and the cab, the cabbie and I are sliding backwards down a treacherous snowy hill in the direction of another parked car; the third we have hit this morning.
We skid around the same crescent time-after-time to the sonorous chorus of the cabby’s favourite tune, “Dis satnav is proper shit, innit. Look don’ stress yerself man, we’ll get there eventually, innit.”
Eventually, we do and I bluster, red-faced, into the session and start pretending to be interesting. It’s the first time I’ve done the session and you can see the poor carpentry. I am getting away with it – just about – when I bend to pick something from the floor and …
Many long years ago now, on the excellent PGCE I did at London Met, we all shared or biggest fears about our first experiences of teaching. In those very early days my chief one was being absolutely paranoid that I’d forget to do up my flies and that I’d be mid-declamation, while my lower half entered into an involuntary and unconscious impersonation of a vastly undernourished elephant with a twig-like trunk. Since those days I have worn sturdy teaching keks as a matter of policy.
On a wintry morning in Croydon my policy decision paid off. As I bent down the sewing gave way, leaving me with the kind of split in the pants that might be described by Shakespeare as going from ‘the nave to the chops’. Hastily, I improvised, borrowing a deputy head’s jumper and wrapping it round my waist, in imitation of either a county cricketer or of the lead singer of Haircut 100. The whole day’s INSET was conducted this way, and I thought I’d got away with it.
At the end of the day, a staff member told me happily that she’d enjoyed the session; I humbly conveyed that it was the first time I’d done it, and asked whether she’d seen the joins. “Only when you bent over too far,” she replied, “But as I said, I enjoyed the session.”
Written by @Phil Beadle and posted by @TeacherToolkit.
Read more about Phil Beadle on his website.