Sunday, October 15, 2006

In Sickness And In Health I Said, “Yeah, Alright”

As I suspected, no Thursday off for me.

If you are on sick standby, between the hours of 9am and 10am you sit and stare at the phone very hard and concentrate on not making it ring.

My concentration obviously wavered around 9.45, when the shrill electronic tones of my mobile cut through the silence.

Damn. I answered it hoping it was the boss just ringing me up to say “...just thought I’d call to let you know we think you’re doing a super job and that you should have the week off”.

But no.

An admittedly very ill sounding girl came on the phone. “Hello. My name is Katie. Can you cover my lessons for me?”

So it was off to a random school for me for a day of teaching random students. 6 hours of lessons lay ahead of me. This was on top of the 6 I had done the day before, and the 5 and a half the day before that.

After luckily spotting a misprint in the Shane manual which would have sent me about 20 miles in the wrong direction, I set off. I was knackered before even I got there, so I spent the journey working on a very strongly worded internal monologue.

The day wasn’t bad. The school was nice and clean and the receptionist was gorgeous. She said she previously been a model. Obviously, I was intrigued to find out whether she had been a model, or a “model”.

Alas it was a model. Otherwise I could have used Gena’s chat-up line “Haven’t I seen you on the internet?”

Classes were fairly straightforward, if a little unrewarding. First up some housewives. Nowhere near as amiable or chatty as my regular lot.

The unofficial head of the group had a man’s haircut and wore huge, smoky Randolph Aviator shades, which she peered through with a steely gaze. She looked like a lesbian hitwoman.

Sat opposite her was a 60something woman with blue hair. And I don’t mean some light purplish rinse. We’re talking TARDIS blue here. Had her head been capable of an owl-like rotation, she could have doubled as a police siren. I resisted the urge to consider whether collar and cuffs matched.

Actually, I just did, when I typed that. Damn.

Then it was a class of 7 year-olds who took me by surprise on account of them being rather thick. Most kids of their age know the alphabet – my kids certainly do – but this lot knew next to nothing.

At first their wild guesses to my letter cards were amusing then, after a while, infuriating.

It went down something like this:

I had put down a card with a “b” on it. The “b” looked like a banana. This is because banana begins with a “b”. Come on, keep up. So….

Me: What letter?

Kid 1: er...F?

Me: No

Kid 2: K?

Me: No

Kid 1: F?

Me: No......not F. What letter?

Kid 3 (suddenly very loudly): Q!!!

Me: No

Kid 1: F?

Me: Right......stop saying F. It’s not F. OK? What letter?

Kid 4 (even louder): P!!!

Me: No

Kid 1: F?

Me (under breath): For fucks sake

More interesting, the class was headed up by the hilariously named Won-Suk. Draw your own conclusions.

Wearily, I made my way home, ready for another two days of teaching. My next day off is Sunday. They can’t take that off me.

At least I hope not.

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