I am inordinately excited about going into school tomorrow. My colleague-housemates are too. It is our school’s Comic Book Day and we have been getting dorkishly overinvolved with the whole idea. The whole school is dressing up, and I am going in as Two-Face. For that reason, I have decided to shave off half of my fairly Galdalfian facial hair, to leave one smooth ‘Good Harvey Dent’ side, and one rugged ‘Bad Harvey Dent’ side.
As Radio 1 blared and as my thick ginger chin tufts began to clog up the sink, it got me to thinking how strange it was that this is my life. Monday to Friday, I work essentially from 7am to 10:30pm, and then I spent my weekend engaged in all this weirdness. Then I started to catalogue the weirdest work related things I do.
In my time at Elmhurst, I have dressed as a chicken, a giant lizard, a princess, a Native American and as Maleficent. My costume spending is large because i love it so much. This most recent one is fairly OTT even by my standards. Perusing for, searching for and purchasing costumes like this for school is odd. It will be extra odd tomorrow commuting through Forest Gate at 7am in full costume, wig and facepaint.
Last term, a particularly odd one was a visit I had planned to Mile End Cemetery Park. I had booked a session of pond-dipping, thinking it was in the expansive MIle End Park that I knew well, only to discover I had organised for all of Year 4 to spend their end-of-year reward in a graveyard. Hidden gem, it turned out to be though! I went on my own and spent a very interesting time learning about the whole park and all its decomposed inhabitants with a volunteer lady, on a Saturday. Surrounded by the various vagabonds who call it home, it was a strange way – again – to spend my weekend.
Every year, the routine kicks in whereby the teachers descend on homeware stores looking for cutlery organisers to user as desk tidies. The look I get when I am offloading mountains of cutlery drawers, vases and purple pens suggests the staff think I am not right in the head.
Small Group Visits
On occasion, I lead visits where I am the only adult and am taking three or four kids. This might be a G&T visit, for example. I can always read the cognitive dissonance on the train passengers faces when they are trying to ascertain whether I am a teacher, an adoptive parent or an abductor. This is exacerbated by the humorous behaviour of the children, such as when one memorable young chap poked me in the head with a banana when I accidentally drifted to sleep. The eyes of the old lady showed definite amusement as well as some role confusion.
The Biggest One… Sloth
Regular followers of the blog will know the parable of Stalybridge, my class sloth from last year, a TY Beanie Baby who was TORN FROM MY LOVE AND AFFECTIONS BY A CHILD WHO PROMISED TO LOOK AFTER AND CHERISH HIM BUT i AM over that now. Anyway, the idea of it is that Stalybridge Sloth was photographed with us wherever we went, and different kids took him home. My grandparents were bamboozled to see the sloth at the Christmas Dinner table, and begrudgingly obliged my request to pull a cracker with him. It was perhaps weirder when Stalybridge accompanied me on my travels to Burma last year, to Buddhist Monasteries, under tropical palm trees and alongside random children on the beach. Stalybridge has been a hipster on Brick Lane with me. He has been a traveller in Southeast Asia. He has been a Walker during festivities. In all of these situations, it has reflected badly on me, and made me look a bit odd.
All for the kids though, innit.