I was sitting quietly in my office (not my little office, but my big office. I keep the little office under my control just in case I f*ckup magnificently and get demoted. Again.)
One of the school office ladies popped her head round the door and told me that someone wanted to see me.
This type of statement always fills me with fear and trepidation. Who the f*ck wants to see me?
I make a mental list, in order of their respective fear-inducing quotient.
- A policeman
- A parent
- A representative of the underworld
- A large and annoyed sibling of a pupil under my punishment.
- My Beloved.
|Who is it?|
"Who is it?"
"It's someone who wants to be a relieving teacher" she says.
This is a bit strange (as I explained in my previous post. Pay attention, there may be a quiz) it's not often that we get a drop in.
I asked her the usual questions
"Is he wearing a straight-jacket?"
"Does he have a seeing-eye dog?"
But I jest.
No, really, I was glad to see someone who was willing to try some relief teaching, and I asked her to send him along.
He made a good impression as he came in my door.
He was even taller than me, about 6' 3", big shoulders, erect posture and a neatly trimmed moustache.
I noticed his highly polished brown shoes.
He was carrying a motorcyclist's helmet and wearing a leather jacket.
He spoke, and I was even more impressed. He was Scottish.
From his accent I placed him on the West Coast of Scotland, probably from Glasgow.
|Sometimes I still miss Glasgow.|
He explained that he was a qualified and registered teacher of Science and Maths, and that he had recently moved into the Wellington region and was looking for relief teaching work.
I checked his NZTC registration card against the NZTC database, and it all seemed OK.
As we talked, certain patterns of speech led me to believe that this bloke was ex-mob. (He had been in the British Army)
I promised him that I'd try and get him some relief work soon, but that I couldn't guarantee it, as it was so dependant on teacher illness.
The following week, we had a small epidemic of flu and I called JV (a pseudonym, to protect me and JV) to come in for 3 hours.
Again he turned up in his motorcyclist's gear and I again noticed his highly polished brown shoes, (called bulled shoes in the services) which I thought a little odd.
Most soldiers have at least one pair of extremely highly polished shoes or boots for parade use, but we don't tend to use them for every day events, and certainly not for riding a motorbike, where the chances are they'll become badly scratched.
I always ask for new relievers to come in and have a chat after their first session of teaching, and I like to do a quick evaluation on their mental state at such times.
|My mental state after a day of teaching at NLHS|
He seemed to have survived, and without the usual twitches and stunned look I often see. I completed his forms and he started to chat.
He just wouldn't stop, he just went on and on and on. I had lots of work to do, but he wouldn't take the hint and kept on talking.
He started to talk about his time in the Balkans, and as he talked I became aware of some little oddities in his stories.
He told the tale of being an Olympic grade pistol shot, who had been tasked by his commander to demonstrate trench clearing techniques to a group of observing Balkan officers. JV described how he had used his pistol marksmanship and battle skills to clear the trench.
|You don't use this|
Now I had never been in the Infantry, and as a Gunner only knew the most basic drills, but even I knew that you didn't use a 9mm pistol to clear a trench, you used machine guns, grenades, mortars and even rocket launchers.
|You use this|
|Or you use this|
Something was not quite right about JV, and I made a mental note to do some more checks after I had finally made the bugger leave.
I forgot all about the checks I was going to do when the next mini-crisis swept down upon us, when 3 girls were discovered drunk as skunks in the toilets. They had shoplifted a 3 litre container of red wine from the local supermarket, and were now throwing up, screaming and singing as they made their merry way around the school.
|If they were going to get pissed, you think they'd have chosen a better grade of wine to steal.|
I was reminded to do the checks the very next day when I found out what else had been going on.
Oh darn, must go now, prepare for the next mammoth session of house hunting.