Attack of the drunken grandad

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The playground, at the end of the primary school day, used to be a vibrant and exciting place to be. This of course was in ‘the old days’ before schools got locked up and locked down so tight that it’s sometimes even hard for staff to get in and out. (This is true, it recently took me nearly 10 minutes to be ‘let out’ of a school after finishing a day of supply teaching.)

Parents would stop and talk to one another, chat to staff and catch up on the day’s events while children ran around, fell over and shared sweets. On a really good day you could stop and share a smoke with a parent while you discussed their child’s progress (I did say it was ‘the old days’ – don’t judge!) you would occasionally get offered goods that parents had ‘acquired’, surreptitiously displayed in holdalls and bundled into carrier bags without ever seeing the light of day. It was a social time and a good opportunity to touch base with the community whose school it was – and maybe pick up a bargain.

On one occasion a parent stood and looked at me then said,

“I’m sure I know you from somewhere else.”

“I can’t think where” I replied.

“Have you done time?” he bounced back, “was it the Scrubs?”

Seriously? I was teaching his daughter!

Anyway, I digress.

There was this one afternoon, when I walked out of my class with the children and was stood cheerily waving them off and exchanging pleasantries with parents, that an elderly gentleman approached me.

He was a little unsteady on his feet and had obviously been ‘relaxing’. I didn’t know who he had come to collect but greeted him anyway;

“Good afternoon, who are you looking for?”

“Don’t you bleedin’ good afternoon me.”

This reply was accompanied by a resounding whack across my left shin with a walking stick.

“And don’t you go telling my Adrian off for sumfink he didn’t even do neither.”

Crack across the other shin.

At this point some of the other parents had seen what was happening. Firm but gentle hands steered him away. As he was led away I could hear a loud and distinct voice saying;

“No you daft old git, it wasn’t ‘im it was that other teacher, and you can’t go round ‘itting em anyway.”

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It’s a bacon tree (or a ham bush, I’m not sure.)

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I once took a class of children out into the nature area that ran all along the side of our school. We crashed and blundered about shouting and singing and looking at all the different colours of green and different seeds and flowers.

We stopped to look into the little pond to see if any frogs had been visiting. Just then, from the far end of the nature, area I heard another class coming out to crash and blunder through the bushes and find different seeds and flowers.

“I know” I said loudly to the 20 or so children rolling and climbing around me, “lets hide behind this bush – (pointing to small shrub) – and surprise the other class when they get here.”

So we all went around to the far side of the bush and pretended to hide.

I should add at this point that it was an infant school and the children were only 5 and 6 years old. I assumed that was obvious but…well, you know?

Anyway, the other class arrived. As they approached I heard their teacher say, in a loud clear voice, “I hope nobody is hiding behind that bush – (points at small bush with 20+ small children crowded behind it giggling and peeping over the top) – to try and scare us.”

The trap was set, the children were primed, and as the other class approached my children shook the branches, roared their terrible roars and laughed with joy.

The other class reciprocated, they screamed and pointed, they laughed and greeted their friends from my class.

Except Nathan.

Nathan had picked up on none of the hints, clues and cues he had been offered.

Nathan had not noticed the entire class of children poorly hidden behind a bush.

Nathan was duly startled and leapt away from the terrifying bush monster, straight into the pond.

He stood there with water up to his knees until I helped him out and took him in for some dry clothes.

At home time I braced myself to ‘fess up and manfully admit my part in the escapade. I walked out with him to see his mum and tried to explain. I truly did try, but she was having none of it. She did not know why he would do such a thing even if he was scared, and told him so.

To my shame I finished with a rather lame,”Well I think he’s learned his lesson now.” and skulked of to the staff room for a cup of tea.

Since then I have arranged no more ambushes of any type.