Tuesday, 19 July 2011

An Apple For Teacher...

IT'S that time of year again.. end of the summer term and suddenly gift shops and card shops are awash with tokens, trinkets and, let's face it, trash proclaiming Best Teacher Ever and Thank You Teacher and A Gift for Teacher. Children you've spent the school year dragging, pulling, tugging, co-ercing and threatening into school every morning are suddenly skipping in desperate to handover a mug, fridge magnet or pen to the very same person they've done nothing but moan about and groan about and ignore for the past year.

I mean, just how many mugs can one teacher manage, if a class size averages out at 30 (and taking into consideration there'll be some kids with nothing to give and some kids will go down the box of chocolates route), there's still a good chance of getting seven to 10 mugs every July. That's a lot of mugs. There's probably a constant merry-go-round of cheery teacher mugs doing the rounds of their friends and colleagues who, by happy circumstance, are also mostly teachers. The charity shops too get suspiciously full of My Favourite Teacher presents every August.

Clearly the gift and greetings card business has something to answer for. In the ten years since I've been carting children in and out of schools, the last day of summer term has become an annual presentation ceremony as well as an ever expanding commercial business until now it's a fully fledged accepted and expected full stop to the summer term. And there's a cut-throat competitive edge between mothers at the school gate that perpetuates the process so that even the mother who's spent the year blaming Mr Bloody Whatsisname for Little Bobby's behaviourial problems with no sense of irony at all, presents the same Mr Bloody Whatsisname with a You're The Best Teacher EVER tie.

Me, I think we should keep things simple. Like Santa only comes to good little girls and boys, so it is with teachers - the End of Term Fairy is only coming from our house if you deserve a prize whether it be for making a difference or surviving an entire year without murdering my child. And I won't be handing over a Best Teacher Ever anything .. after a hard day at work at the chalk face (whiteboard) who wants to be reminded about it every time you make a cup of tea. No, it'll be a bottle of Gin and a valium, I might even put a ribbon on it.

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