Diary of a Schoolteacher: A day trip to city ends with Big Macs and filthysongs
Published 08/12/2011 | 06:00
Edward is an anomaly in the Windsor clan. The most notorious family in the town, the Windsors are a traditional extended Irish clan who like to drive a wide variety of cars, setting up bonfires and are due an award for their achievements in recycling the contents of household skips.
For starters, fake tan is part and parcel of Edward's school uniform and on the school charity fancy dress days he can always be depended on to steal the show in a very stylish dress and high heels.
I don't mind admitting that I feel quite flattered when he compliments me on a new tie or shoes and throws in a remark along the lines of, "You're quite the fashionista, Sir!"
On the day of the excursion, he arrives at the coach proudly proclaiming that he has had his hair done to mark his big day in the capital and that he has all the face creams that anybody might need, so don't hesitate to ask, as it's very chilly out there.
Cue good natured smiles all around the coach. If only things could stay that way.
When we get to the city, we make for a restaurant with a French-sounding name as planned with the French teacher accompanying us, to give the kids the chance to order a snack through French. Quel désastre!
None of the young student types working at the counter speaks French!
No problem if you want to speak a bit of old EspaÃ±ol, as they're all from Madrid. Carramba! After all that practising ordering in French, day in day out!
Then Edward starts moaning that he wants to go to McDonald's as he doesn't like the "weird food" here (croissants, ham rolls, cheese sandwiches). He recruits his cousin Jade and the habitual non-conformist, Dylan Quint, and soon they're sitting at a table at the back itching for a Big Mac and a fight.
To calm them, I persuade the French teacher to make a detour "chez MacDo" before we head to the National Museum.
An hour later we're leaving but Edward refuses to budge beyond the steps, where he is staging a sit-down protest because he's tired and fed up.
The other teachers take Jade and Dylan with them (it's tactical) and I stay behind and gradually persuade him to move.
We catch up with the others at Trinity, which the whole group seems to appreciate.
Except for Edward, who's had enough of "this stupid castle" and wants to go home. By the time we reach the GPO I'm ready to make a proclamation of my own and march him back down to the coach; it's been non-stop, "this is sooo boring", "I want to go to the toilet" and "can we look at shoes now?"
On the coach home he's back to his hyper self but happy to be the centre of attention once more as he leads the singing of filthy songs.
None of the teachers has enough energy left to beg them to stop.