On a frigid frosty Christmas Eve, Teacherneezer Scrooge sat contemplating the endless emails he had not had the chance to sort during term time. His mind wandered to thoughts of his old headteacher Mr Marley who dies some seven years ago of burnout and work-related exhaustion. Take note of this fact, or the next part of the story will make no sense.
As Teacherneezer was settling down to peruse the Sky Q tv guide ready to set the Gavin and Stacey special to record, a familiar face appeared on the screen.
“Teacherneezer, I bring you grave warning to look after yourself or you too will fall ill of the same fate as me!” Teahcerneezer rubbed his eyes and thought that he really should have stopped after the first bottle of wine. On returning his gaze to the tv he was alarmed to see the face of his former Headteacher Mr Marley floating akin to Hollie from Red Dwarf, in the middle of the picture.
“You will be visited by three spirits this night, the first on the stroke of midnight!” and with that Marley morphed into the TV test card. You know the one. The one with the girl and the clown. The freaky one.
As Teacherneezer managed to calm himself down he convinced himself that the two bottles of red and far too much cheese were surely the cause of the hallucination. Definitely more gravy about it than grave he thought.
Teecherneezer drifted into a deep sleep dreaming of Kylie when he was awoken by a small man with glasses and a curious grin sat on the end of his bed.
“I am the Gove of Christmas past he said. I am here to show you how teaching used to be…”
Following a scooby do style wobbly flashback, Teacherneezer was faced with an image of a younger version of himself driving to school with a smile. He was smiling as he was contemplating what he should do today as he drove into work. After all, it was two weeks to Christmas and the films and Christmas booklets had already been started. There were plays and he knew that there was no pressure to do anything else.
He noticed a scowl on the face of the Gove of Christmas.
“Time to go?” said Teacherneezer?
“Time to go!” said the Gove.
He found himself back in his own bed barely believing how things were before SATS and assessment without levels.
From the next door room he heard a noise.
On investigating he found a dishevelled man sitting alone in the dark.
“I am the Williamson of Christmas present,” he said, “or at least I would be if we could afford it. We spent all the money on Brexit”
The Williamson Showed Teecherneezer an image of how schools were enjoying the ‘little things’ as they couldn’t afford the big things like SEND support now. Teacherneezer sighed as this was an present that he knew too well.
He closed his eyes hoping this vision would end soon.
When he opened them again he was faced with a hooded figure though he could make out a mess of bright blonde hair among the folds of the robe. The figure didn’t speak, but pointed to a gravestone…
‘Here lies Teacherneezer, Died 2019 from exhaustion and workload’.
This cannot be true thought Teacherneezer, I must change my ways!
As he crumpled into a heap, he once again found himself laid in his own bed, in the dark. I must change my ways, I must.
That afternoon he applied to work in the local supermarket. He was poor, but happy and lived for many years.
This is all very obviously tongue in cheek, but we do need to look after ourselves and others. Teaching is a hard job. It is made harder by political and economic pressures, and while I poked fun at a couple of Ed Secretaries here it is often caused by much larger factors.
In 2020 we all need to look after everyone around us and campaign for better school funding.
Happy Christmas everyone!