A Class of My Own

It’s been a weird week at work. All sorts of new initiatives are coming in and it seems every day we have been handed new protocols to read and have more boxes to tick and more rules to follow.

We have been given an eleven page handout on how to wash our hands correctly (honestly!) and there is to be an assessment. We won’t know when, but at some point when we least expect it we are going to be dragged away from our desks and asked to demonstrate the difficult task of handwashing. I do hope I don’t fail. I can’t sleep for worrying about it.

The latest thing is we are to be issued with name badges. This is so that if any members of the public wish to complain they can at least complain about the right person. Charming. Personally, given that we are mostly post-menopausal females, I believe they are issuing us with name badges so we can remember who we are. I had a very senior moment the other week when I needed to call for my colleague and she got away from me because I couldn’t for the life of me remember what she was called! Scary…

Our youngest colleague is only in her early twenties and is all bright, pretty and alert with a fully functioning endocrine system. She is away at the moment and won’t be impressed when she gets back to find that she has now got to wear a name badge. She is still young enough to resent anything that makes her think of school. The rest of us pine for our school days, wishing we could go back to those golden days of our youth and do it all differently. Like pay attention and learn something, for example.

They say youth is wasted on the young and the older I get the more I think that’s true. School, when you are that age, is just a drag that you have to get through before real life can start. Now I can think of nothing more wonderful than being able to spend your days actually learning something with no worries about paying bills or keeping a roof over your head. What luxury. Such times never come again.

Of course, time does cast a rosy glow over such memories. If I’m honest, the lessons were mostly deadly boring. Science went way over my head because the teacher just droned on and on about formulas (formulae?) that I had no idea about and no interest in learning. Maths was horrific with a psychopathic teacher who would throw a blackboard rubber at your head if you dared to tell him that you didn’t understand what the hell he was babbling on about. History was dreadful. Apart from a brief interlude when we were taught very intimate details of the Tudors (most of it made up by a perverted teacher but I’d better not dwell on that) it consisted of learning the dates of the Corn Laws and other fascinating facts like who invented the Spinning Jenny and the invention of the steam engine. Not the most riveting subjects when you’re fourteen and just want to go home and listen to your Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. English was the only subject I really looked forward to and a lot of that was because I had a massive crush on the teacher…no really, massive!  Thankfully, he was a decent man. If I’d had a crush on the history teacher I dread to think what may have happened.

Anyway, a lot of my colleagues agreed with me that if we’d had different teachers and different teaching methods things may have been a lot different. When I watch history programmes or science programmes now I find them absolutely fascinating and wish I’d learned all that stuff back then. I would like to know more about art, but our art lessons consisted of my best friend and I and a few other girls sitting in the back room of the art class, listening to Radio One, drooling about John Travolta,  and gossiping about boys, including the man who later became my husband, but that’s beside the point.

So that got me thinking about how different school could have been if we could pick our dream teachers. Obviously, it’s way too late now and the people I came up with mostly weren’t around then, but in a fantasy world, here is my dream school staff.

Maths: Carol Vorderman. What she doesn’t know about numbers isn’t worth knowing. Of course, Johnny Ball would be a fabulous maths teacher, too. I’m not fussy. Anyone would be an improvement on the psycho we had.

Geography: Michael Palin. Who has travelled more widely than this chap? I loved learning about different countries, but then lessons changed to deal with map reading and contours and all that technical stuff and I lost the will to live. Michael could definitely revive my interest in this subject.

History: Tony Robinson. I considered several candidates for this post as I watch a lot of history programmes, but let’s face it, who wouldn’t want Baldrick to be their teacher? And, anyway, I love him on Time Team.

Science: Has to be Professor Brian Cox, doesn’t it? He’s fascinating and I have learned more about physics from him than I did in five years at school.

Biology: David Attenborough. Is there anything that he couldn’t tell us about the life on this planet? I doubt it. Nothing I’d want or need to know anyway. And with that soothing voice it would be a pleasure to learn.

French: Johnny Depp. Okay, I’m not entirely sure that he speaks French but he was with Vanessa Paradis for years and she’s French so he must have picked it up, right? And if he didn’t, well, who cares?

Music: So many candidates here. I reckon we’d need a few music teachers. Sue Perkins could tell us all about conducting an orchestra…and baking cakes. Gary Barlow could demonstrate the art of song writing. Tom Jones could reel off many musical anecdotes and name drop for England (or Wales, actually) and what about Lindsey Buckingham to teach us guitar? Or Phil Collins to teach us drums? Or Elton John to demonstrate piano, or…well, you get the gist. Definitely need a HUGE music department.

Drama: Benedict Cumberbatch. Because he’s Benedict Cumberbatch.

English: There are any number of experts on grammar, poetry, Shakespearean plays and novels. I’m not going to pick any of them – I’m going for JK Rowling because she got a whole generation of kids reading and I love her.

Art: Neil Buchanan. Presenter of Art Attack and enthusiastic enough to get any kid painting and drawing. For Art History we could have Prince William or Kate. They got a degree each in that subject right?

Religious Education: Difficult. Wouldn’t want to offend anyone so I’d probably choose the Dalai Lama, because he is full of wisdom and serenity and has no problem with people finding their own path and no interest in insisting there is only one true religion. Or, alternatively, we could have Geraldine Granger, the Vicar of Dibley. She’s Church of England, but what a hoot the classes would be. And there would also be chocolate.

Physical Education: Any number of sporting superstars out there. I’d go for Jessica Ennis and Louis Smith, two of our  Olympic heroes or any of our Paralympic stars … no one more inspirational.

Food Technology: Known as Domestic Science when I was a girl, who else could I choose for this? There’s only one Mary Berry!!

That’s my staff sorted. Although, this is fantasy and if I could choose just one person I’d pick The Doctor. After all, after over nine hundred years of space and time travel, mixing with Shakespeare, Dickens and Van Gogh to name a few, and saving the universe countless times, he would be an expert on all of the above subjects. And he’d have time to teach the whole school, too, since a jaunt in the Tardis after each class would find him at exactly the same moment he began. Oh, if only…what do you think? Who would your dream teacher be?

Have a great week!

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