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.”