Tuesday 16 January 2018

Diary of a schoolteacher: How Mr Moobs, wearing his wellies, missed the Geography field trip

E Grade

My esteemed colleague Mr Kurt Moobs thought he had put together the perfect Christmas treat last Thursday -- a geography field trip.

Kurt isn't actually a geography teacher, but of course he wouldn't let a small detail like that spoil a day in the hills, and once he's settled the Sixth Years down to work on the worksheets that he keeps stored up for his days on parole, he nips into the staff loo and changes into his wellies, waterproof trousers and fleece hoodie.

He has told Mr Finnegan, bona fide geographer and keen cartographer and the lovely Miss Gossard, both of whom teach the subject, that he'll join them on the coach at the front of the school at 10 past nine.

Only problem is, however, that they think it's just the latest of Kurt's gusts of bravado.

They know that he's timetabled for Sixth Year at nine. And come on, Kurt, it's not unusual to be sitting with you in a sandwich bar at lunch on any day, throwing back a cappuccino while getting ready to run back to the school only for you to say: "What's the hassle? Leave them in peace and they'll master that autonomous learning thing they were telling us about in that in-service all the faster. Sit down and drink that coffee with a bit of dignity -- you're making a show of me now!"

Easy for you, Kurt, coming on all erudite and quoting David Little when you're free till the second period after lunch. No, Kurt, he's an educationist -- not a talking mouse.

Needless to say, I value my job and risk heartburn by rushing back to the school for class.

So last Thursday, Finn and Ms Gossard wait till 10 past as soon as the last of the Fifth Years has stubbed her cigarette out and thrown her sandwiches in a bush and boarded the bus, Finn instructs the driver to leave. Just at that moment, Kurt bursts out of the front door of the school shouting, "Finnegan! Wait for me!"

Meanwhile, the deputy principal is stalking purposefully up the corridor towards Kurt's Leaving Certs, after receiving reports of a rudderless class.

Once this is confirmed, the DP is suffused with moral outrage and heads back to the office to ring Kurt.

Just then, Kurt arrives back in his classroom, strangely attired but resigned to spending the next half an hour expressing by text message his hurt and fury at being abandoned to Finnegan; but he never gets the first letter out as the DP storms in and in front of the Leaving Certs accuses him of dereliction of duty and professional misconduct.

Anger only compounded and leaping up, Kurt claims he had just been fetching some paperwork and, before long, they are threatening and counter-threatening each other all the way down the office.

Thankfully, it all comes to nothing as, at the Christmas party that night, those great levellers -- the conga line and booze -- work their special magic and all is forgiven.

Irish Independent

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